We’re still months away from the holiday season, but it seems like delays are mentioned in the news every week. There are a record number of container ships off the West Coast of the United States waiting to be unloaded. The current estimate is months, and not a specific number of months, before the ships can be unloaded and sent on a new route. If you are currently waiting for delivery, that may not occur any time soon. Beyond transportation, COVID-19 is still causing problems along with the global supply chain. Now may be the time to start thinking about a holiday season rush order to ensure holiday products can be manufactured, shipped and delivered on time.
COVID-19 is Still Causing Delays
At this point, you’re probably tired of hearing about COVID-19 causing shipping and manufacturing delays. 2020 was a year that was dominated by mentions of COVID-19. 2021 continued with the shutdowns of manufacturing facilities across the globe. These have caused shortages and delays of raw materials, components, and complete finished products. With new COVID-19 variant being discovered. The cold and flu season this year could cause more delays for materials and goods. More employees may call out sick from work and more factories may slow down or close for a brief period. We may see more delays to and from those areas as it affects the local population. The same trend is happening in many areas of the world, which means they may have the same delays for materials and goods.
There’s an Operator Shortage Causing Freight Delays
Restrictions across the globe have caused delays in the transportation sector. Airline traffic was down in 2020. This year it has had its ups and downs in volume, but the airline industry hasn’t recovered yet. Many manufacturers relied on passenger airlines to help ship product, and have been forced to find other means to move products to customers. Ground trucking has become the go-to method, which has proven to be difficult with so much volume moved to the trucking industry.
The trucking industry has seen a volume increase of roughly 5% over the last year. While that sounds great, there are other problems to mention. The new presidential administration changed the rules of trucking background denying former felons the option to be truck drivers. That change removed ~30% of truck drivers across the United States. The volume of packages and loads has gone up, yet the number of available truck drivers has dropped. Currently many states have a backlog of available loads to transport, and no drivers available to move them. More than half of the states in the U.S. have five truck loads of materials available for every driver. Some have less than five, down to one or two, but all have more freight movement needed than can be done efficiently.
Beyond land and air transportation, there is still a global segment of freight shipping that happens over the oceans and seas. The large container ships that carry massive amounts of cargo have been delayed for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every container ship that sits off a coast waiting to be loaded or unloaded requires a captain and a crew to be idle. That means ships are waiting for crew members that aren’t available.
The Global Supply Is Upside Down
The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced more than just consumer buying habits and the transportation method for goods to be shipped. The global supply chain has exposed inefficiencies, weaknesses, and risks that weren’t openly visible before. Raw material shortages have cause delays in on-time deliveries. Many manufacturers were relying on single sources for their materials, and when those sources were affected by delays and shutdowns, it caused further delays in production and deliveries. That has been the story since the beginning of 2020 as China first saw delays, then passed them on to their customers and their businesses.
Knowing that material shortages and order delays are a probable outcome this holiday season, it may seem hard to find solutions around them. Having frequent communication with your supply chain partners, both incoming material and outgoing logistics, will be key to avoid delays in your business. Determine if incoming materials have the potential to be stopped in-transit, and find backup options if there are potential risks. If your manufacturing operations could be slowed due to a reduction of workforce, make contingency plans to account for less people. If you can prevent shipping delays by using multiple transportation methods, having secondary options available may be a good starting point to avoid the holiday rush.
How We Can Help
SEA-LECT Plastics is a turn-key supplier that can handle the intricate details of your business, and is a leader in plastic injection molding with options for assembly and logistics. We can aid with resin selection on a new product, offer turn-key assembly options, and program management to see the complete development cycle through with success. We’ve seen the ups and downs over the last year and a half, and have strategies to minimize delays. Give us a call at (425) 339-0288 or email us at email@example.com. We can offer you advice on the best technology to use, the best materials to meet your product demands, and how to navigate through each development stage. At SEA-LECT Plastics, we specialize in military product applications, outdoor adventure gear, musical instruments, supporting the medical and consumer product industries. Our goal is to make your project efficient and cost-effective to manufacture, assemble
Matthias Poischbeg was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany. Matt moved to Everett, Wash., after finishing his bachelor’s degree in business in 1995 to work for Sea-Dog Corporation, a manufacturer, and distributor of marine and rigging hardware established in 1923.
In 1999, Matt took over the reins at Sea-Lect Plastics Corporation, a sister company of Sea-Dog and a manufacturer of plastic injection molded products with an in-house tool & die shop. Matthias Poischbeg is also a contributor to Grit Daily.