Remember Father Guido Sarducci’s Five-Minute University from the early years of Saturday Night Live? The Five-Minute University taught students what the average college graduate remembers five years after leaving school. For example, for Spanish it was “Como esta usted?” and “Muy bien.” And all you had to remember about economics was supply and demand, which brings me to what’s happening with the supply chain across all segments of our economy.
Last weekend I went to the liquor store to buy beer for a gathering we were hosting that evening. We prefer craft and imported beers, as do our friends when we’re not drinking wine. No Bud for me, thank you. The import section resembled the toilet paper aisle at the grocery store during the height of the pandemic. A sign notified customers that the store was having a difficult time getting product from their distributors. The craft beer section was better stocked, but many of the craft beers that were on the shelves a month or two ago were no longer in sight, including the beer from the brewery that’s located two miles down the road. What the what?
The week before we had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. The owner told us that she was probably going to have to close on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because she can’t find enough help. To make matters worse, her food supplier can’t guarantee they can deliver as often as in the past because they can’t find enough drivers. I’m also seeing empty shelves at my local grocery store. We are 40 minutes from Philadelphia, and Wegmans can’t even keep the shelves stocked with Philadelphia cream cheese? That’s not a joke. It’s been like that for months. By the way, my daughter in London tells me they are experiencing similar issues. She and her husband are now forced to eat steak more often because stores and restaurants are having a tough time getting chicken. It’s a hard life, I know.
Have you seen the articles in the mainstream press regarding the supply chain and how it could impact the holidays? All I can say is do your Christmas shopping early.
Admittedly, this is more than just the basic economics of supply and demand. The problem is the links in the chain. There are not enough links to get the supply to the locations where there’s a demand.
As we’ve been hearing over and over, the same thing is happening with office technology with machines sitting on ships in ports on either side of the country waiting to be unloaded. And we’ve all heard more than we care to about the chip shortage, which is another economic nightmare impacting the imaging industry.
Depending on the source, we’re hearing that supply chain issues could extend into 2023. Coincidentally, the focus of this issue is the second part of our 36th Annual Dealer Survey, which begins by identifying dealer concerns, none of which is the backorder situation. The reason for that is when most dealers were filling out the Survey, backorders were not as bad as they are now. Although backorders don’t show up as a concern this year, you’ll find that dealers have plenty of other concerns to keep them busy. We plan to add backorders to our list of concerns for next year’s Survey.
Starting this issue, we will monitor backorders in our print and online coverage, examining how dealers and OEMs are navigating the situation. Let’s hope this doesn’t become a 10-20 part installment.
Access Related Content