Why Are Supply Chains Disrupted? A Quick Guide

You might have noticed that your local supermarket shelves are stacked a little lighter this year. Some products you bought at the same price for years on end may have jumped up in price. And that sofa you ordered months ago may still be caught in a supply chain snarl-up somewhere on one of the world’s busiest shipping routes. All of these common supply chain errors have come to a head in 2021 – but why? Here’s how supply chains have suffered during the pandemic, and the solutions to the issues they’re facing. 


Supply chain disruption is usually the result of shortages somewhere on that line. Let’s take an example. There’s a global shortage of microchips at the moment, which are important elements used in smart machines, including electric vehicles and laptops. So with all the other parts of these complex builds are ready and available, they cannot be finished and shipped to retailers.

This shortage has huge knock-on effects because import/export business models rely upon money and goods changing hands constantly. So one shortage can create more shortages, until the whole world is scrabbling for new contracts with new suppliers of goods. There’s no easy solution to this issue, other than to ramp up production of those things, like microchips, which are currently in very short supply.

Industrial Shutdown

Plenty of industries across the world have been hugely affected by the pandemic. Construction was one – many huge projects were shelved as the virus began to spread and managers became worried that their entire workforce might be hit by the illness. Manufacturing was another, given that these firms often rely on hundreds of human workers to process and package their products.

But there is a solution to industrial shutdowns, and that’s to vaccinate the workforce as soon as possible, and to conduct regular tests to ensure that no one is arriving at the workplace with COVID-19. Of course, this is already happening in many sectors, but to get industry firing on all cylinders to lift the global economy, vaccinations and testing must be ramped up further.

Skills and Technology

There has also been a shift in the interplay between skills and technology in the past decade or two, and that was brought to a head during the first months of the pandemic. More and more firms are choosing to automate rather than to hire and pay human workers, and this has proven effective for first-movers in the space of manufacturing.

There are several automotive supply chain solutions to suit any business that’s looking to clean up and tighten up its supply chain. Firms just need to find the right technology, and hire the right personnel, so that they’re always able to respond wisely in times of supply chain crisis. If firms are prepared and modern, they’ll stand the best chance of delivering results even when stress events like the pandemic roll into view.

Supply chains are the arteries that keep the global economy afloat. This quick guide explains why they’re so important, why they’ve been disrupted, and what we can do about it in the future.

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