TAMPA, Florida – Some store shelves may run out of generally common items as businesses and manufacturers struggle to catch up amid backups in supply chains – all caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Global shutdowns have disrupted the flow of goods and many industries are still catching up a year and a half later, affecting everything from big box grocery stores to home builders and even small businesses.
“Previously, we could order from vendors and get things done in a week to two weeks,” said Andrew Smith, founder of Salt Pines, a coastal lifestyle store in Hyde Park.
Smith said those shipments are being pushed back, up to three months now. The pandemic has scrambled the supply chain and it is an ongoing struggle for businesses.
“Much more time on the phone with suppliers, getting status updates, seeing where things are going. That way, if we need to cancel orders or make an adjustment or find something else to do other than this. than we originally planned, just go through this process, ”Smith said.
Outside of small businesses, supply chain issues lead to stockouts on grocery store shelves and even backlogs in manufacturing.
“The backlog is incredible. No one on our side goes bankrupt. They have too much business, ”said Tony Bouquot, CEO of the Metal Building Manufacturers Association.
Steelworkers said they were not getting materials on time for some projects.
“We have struggled to keep up with demand and find suitable products to keep up with production to meet customer demand,” said Rob Haddock, Founder and CEO of S-5. “We had a shipment to make to Australia, ordered a container in early June and received it just two weeks ago.”
Large suppliers place orders through shipping containers, but this is taking a long time.
“Some of our smaller vendors that we work with are actually quite lucky, they’re a bit more nimble and they’ve been able to use air freight rather than bringing in large bulk containers,” Smith said. “It has helped us tremendously and allowed us to fill in some areas where some of our bigger suppliers aren’t really able to do the job at the moment. “
Smith said everything is out of their control, so they like their customers to be understanding.
“You made do with it. You are doing your best. We are really lucky that the majority of our suppliers are working really, really hard to make sure that we are always supplied,” he said.
Smith shared a post as the issue continues to resolve.
“Be patient with the business right now. It will probably be difficult to get into the holiday season. Go out, shop early,” Smith said.
Many shipping containers arrive from other countries, so the supply chain is always recovering globally. Store owners said it can sometimes lead to order shortages when certain sizes or other items are stocked later.