In the early days of the pandemic, there were shortages of many household items as people grew worried they wouldn’t be able to get to the stores for a long time during the lockdowns and quarantines. We endured frantic searches for toilet paper, paper towels, and household cleaning products—all a result of hoarding and overbuying. People were, understandably, afraid of what might happen as COVID became a more significant issue.
The worldwide supply chain has once again been severely challenged for several reasons, all of which have come together to make it more difficult for consumers to get the products they need. As a caregiver, you need to be aware of what products you may have trouble finding over the next six months or more, as experts try to find ways to get the supply chain back up to speed.
How does the supply chain problem create a shortage?
COVID and the lack of workers in warehouses and the trucking industry are one key reason for the supply chain issues, but other reasons include:
- A huge bottleneck of cargo ships at the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports that prevents hundreds of thousands of containers of goods from being delivered and trucked to their destinations
- Widespread power outages across China
- Remaining COVID restrictions on travel and workplaces
It’s going to be a while until things return to normal. Nick Vyas, executive director at the Kendrick Global Supply Chain Management Institute at University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, told ABC News, “We are in for at least four to six months for it to actually catch a break.”
How does the supply chain bottleneck affect me?
The global supply chain shortage will affect people worldwide, so it’s good to plan for what you’ll need in the months to come. For example, you may sometimes find that some of your favorite foods or paper goods are unavailable, either in stores or through online retailers. To prevent frustration, order in advance so you’ll have these items on hand if and when they become scarce.
You’ll also likely notice increased prices as resources are limited and demand goes up, so shopping early for holiday gifts is a good idea. Start making your shopping list now for some key items:
- Canned foods: Aluminum is in short supply, which impacts the canned beverage industry. The price of aluminum has increased 40% since January, which will be passed to consumers in the form of cost increases and shortages in stores. Stock up on your favorite canned beverages.
- Turkeys for the holidays: Stew Leonard Jr., CEO of Stew Leonard’s, told TODAY that fresh meat like turkey and lamb might be hard to come by, so plan now for your holiday meals.
- Bottled water: Many places are planning to limit how many bottled water cases a customer can purchase, including Costco. Now’s a good time to invest in a water filtration pitcher.
- Liquor: If you enjoy a cocktail in the evening, it’s a good idea to buy an extra bottle or two of your favorite vodka or bourbon.
- Pet food: Stock up on food and treats for your furry friends.
- Air purifiers: Due to the many wildfires and the supply chain backup, air purifiers are becoming harder and harder to find. If your loved one has breathing issues and needs an air purifier, it’s a good idea to purchase an extra one to have on hand in case you need it.
- Toys: The Journal of Commerce reports that 89.4% of toys in the United States are made in China. Because there’s a shortage of goods coming here from China, you should start your holiday shopping for the little ones in your life now to avoid being disappointed when a requested toy isn’t available.
- Paper goods: The paper market is unpredictable, and shortages could happen if people hoard paper products. Many big box stores will limit the quantity of toilet paper, paper towels, and other paper items to keep stockpiling to a minimum. It’s a good idea to have a few extra packages of paper goods on hand if there’s a brief period when they’re hard to find.
- Electronics: Shortages of microchips will possibly make electronics scarce, especially gaming consoles. If someone on your Christmas list is hoping for one, buy it now! This shortage is also affecting the supply of cars available to purchase or lease.
- Disposable undergarments: Because of a general shortage of paper goods, disposable undergarments may be affected. Buy extras to have what you need.
The supply chain shortage affects everyone, but with careful planning and buying extras of your most needed supplies, you can keep yourself and your loved one safe, comfortable and clean through the winter months. So, do your holiday shopping early, pre-order your Thanksgiving turkey, and conserve and save what you can to avoid a shortage of necessary items.