Have you noticed your orders are taking longer than usual to ship? Or that suppliers are frequently out of stock with extremely long wait times? Or, perhaps you’ve been perplexed by the seemingly high number of empty shelves in many stores you’ve visited? There’s a reason for this—what you’re witnessing is one of the most prominent rippling effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and unfortunately, there is no end in sight. Unprecedented shortages of raw materials, shipping containers and workers are disrupting and delaying the global supply chain. Let’s explore why, and what Bird-X did to get ahead of this problem.
Why is There a Shortage of Raw Materials?
Throughout 2020, mass layoffs, government-initiated lockdowns, and uncertainty about the virus kept people home and forced businesses to operate on bare bones. During this time, we saw an even more constrained workforce when Covid outbreaks and quarantined employees resulted in shutdowns at plants and suppliers. This material shortage has also affected the wildlife control industry, leaving an insufficient amount of products available to pest control operators and others that need it.
In short, companies don’t have the capacity to produce or receive the materials they need to keep up with demand. The shortage of raw materials has also led to price increases across the board.
How is the Shipping Container Shortage Impacting the Supply Chain?
No available shipping containers means global trade comes to a halt. Nearly every product, part and material that circulates through the global economy travels enclosed in these metal containers. But lately, those containers are in short supply for several reasons. Unfortunately, even if retailers and manufacturers can obtain the goods and materials they need, they may not get them delivered because of the difficulties obtaining shipping containers.
Why is there a Shortage of Shipping Containers?
During lockdowns, American consumers increased their demands on factory goods from China. Additionally, millions of shipping containers were sent all over the globe to deliver pandemic supplies, such as PPE. Many of these containers were stuck in port because unloading was delayed due to worker shortages and quarantines. In the past, where there may have been one or two vessels in the U.S. ports waiting to be unloaded, the backlog measured by the Marine Exchange of Southern California has stretched to as many as 73 vessels in mid-September of 2021, tying up containers and adding weeks and even months to the lead-times on products and components.
The shipping container shortage was also affected by unforeseen events, such as what happened at the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal is a significant route for up to 12% of global trade, and the March 2021 blockage obstructed ships from reaching their destinations.
On top of that, two shutdowns at major ports and industrial hubs in China—Shenzhen and Ningbo City—led to the ports not operating for weeks, thus creating an even bigger backlog in global trade. These shutdowns happened because an employee in each respective port tested positive for Covid. Chinese authorities have made it clear that shutting down more shipping container terminals in the future over a single positive case is likely.
So How Did Bird-X Get Ahead of the Supply Chain Problem?
To summarize, there are not enough raw materials, shipping containers or vessels to meet demands due to the ripple effects of the pandemic and constrained workforce. In an effort to avoid the challenges many others in our industry are experiencing, our expert sales and operations teams successfully forecasted and secured a large amount of inventory early in the year to avoid the inevitable disruptions in the global supply chain. Currently, we have full inventory of professional-grade bird control supplies, especially the most popular items like netting and spikes, that are ready to ship from our warehouse in Chicago. While many bird control professionals struggled with a netting shortage earlier this year from other suppliers, it is our priority to ensure that our customers always have the supplies they need, even during historic shortages.
For more information, please contact our hotline at 312-226-2473.