Various shortages cause large changes in supply chains

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Tribune News Service

Packages passed down a conveyor bound for delivery trucks at Amazon’s Shakopee, Minn., fulfillment center. (Anthony Souffle/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

Alison LaTorre, Writer

Across the globe, many are experiencing shortages of various materials. These shortages are impacting major parts of today’s society like schools, stores, nationwide programs like DECA and more. Starting in March 2020 at the initial peak of pandemic hysteria, these shortages have left lingering effects serving as the catalyst in today’s shortages over a year and a half later.

In the beginning of the pandemic, many companies that relied on products being produced in factories were forced to shut down because of the lack of workers or for concern of health safety. Shutting down these factories led companies to believe that a decrease in demand for products shipped globally would occur, but they were shortly proven wrong.

Pandemic Pauses Production

At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a major shortage of materials like toilet paper, paper towels, masks and cleaning products. These types of supplies were depleted from the neighborhood stores due to the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic. This caused many people to stress-buy and accumulate stockpiles of various items in their homes.

In addition, an increase in demand has also served as a contributing factor to global shortages. With people staying home for days at a time in the beginning of the pandemic, leisure items were more sought after and more used than ever.

“It was hard to adapt during COVID-19 having to stay home all the time when we didn’t have the necessities to even do so,” sophomore Nina Khalouf said. “As soon as we started excessively using it and needing it there was a shortage in supply.”

Employees Needed

Each step in the production of goods has been affected by shortages. From shipping across seas, truck deliveries and stocking items in store, there is a struggle to keep items in stock. According to CNBC, the main reason for this is none other than labor shortages. As claimed by Statista, statistics show that although its rough times in April of 2021, about nine million jobs have become more accessible for many, however, the number of people with a job is still lower than pre-pandemic.

During this time many companies sent out product advertisements on television, newspapers, websites, and more to inform the public that they were hiring. The search for employees was mentioned in many companies’ commercials. Along with this aid, many medication commercials featured a section explaining that their medication, if not able to afford, is covered by health insurance and can give financial aid.

Almost all of these shortages and more lead back to labor shortages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate is steady at 7.4 million, with 2.1 million seeking unemployment checks from the government.

Change in Tradition

With the arrival of the holiday season, as previously claimed by CBS, turkeys have become one of the most recent items impacted by supply chain issues. Some specific items there are a shortage of include, canned goods, turkey, bottled water and pet food. These items will have a huge effect on the traditions families and friends follow each year.

With increased turkey prices, there was a limited amount this holiday season causing many to eat chicken for Thanksgiving and other Winter holidays. However, turkeys aren’t the only holiday traditions that might be missing this year. NBC predicted Christmas trees, both artificial and real, will have a large decrease compared to past years. Due to environmental issues like climate change, trees will be much harder to find at a good price. This means prices will be higher and quantity will be lower for real trees.

With the holiday season coming up, many can expect there to be a shortage in multiple holiday favorites including but not limited to Christmas lights and artificial Christmas trees. A few possible gifts that will be experiencing shortages are Apple’s iPhone 13, the newest Playstation, sportswear, book, LEGOs, the iMac, and more.

Shortages Near and Far

On a more local stage, these shortages have affected various individuals and clubs at MSD. Distributive Education Clubs of America, also known as DECA, has experienced a shortage in receiving shirts, jackets and other DECA merchandise.

“We are waiting a month longer than normal,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School DECA teacher Mitchell Albert said. “With all the advances in technology and inventory management I am surprised businesses have not been able to fix this yet.”

These shortages, like most mentioned, are related back to labor shortages and the process the shirts go through to get to the school.

MSD is also experiencing a staff shortage specific to teachers. The lack of teachers has caused overcrowded classrooms making learning management harder for teachers.

“Overcrowding in classrooms is extremely excessive due to teacher shortage. Most if not all of my classes have desks right next to each other with barely any space to walk,” freshman Blake Backman said. “When there are less students the teachers are more catered towards each person and can help kids achieve more.”

All students learn in different ways, some requiring more attention and hand on hand help. With over thirty students in most classes, due to this shortage, students are having trouble paying attention and getting the help they need.

Along with a teacher shortage, the number of nurses is also decreasing. This shortage is mainly caused by concern of personal and family safety according to the Registered Nursing website.

These shortages starting at the beginning of the pandemic have had a huge impact on today’s society. They are impacting every part of life, from shopping for ingredients for dinner, to getting your DECA merchandise. One day, hopefully in the near future, society can work together to fix this problem of shortages throughout the world.