I think we can all agree that, finally, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the pandemic. Restrictions are being lifted around the country, businesses are reopening, infection cases are declining, and there’s an overall sense that we’re returning to a new “normal”. While public officials and financial experts haven’t declared it yet, it sure seems like we’re in an economic recovery!
And that recovery brings a few new challenges that we’ll have to navigate together. From shipping and logistics issues to inventory fluctuations, there are some things to keep in mind as everything starts to even out during the second half of the year.
Supply chain: What you need to know
When the pandemic took hold in March 2020, it was as if product manufacturing, shipping, and sales came to an abrupt stop. Shipping containers from Asia sat idle, trucks were parked, and production lines ground to a halt. Companies who could shift to other products did so, but those that couldn’t had no choice but to keep their employees safe and ride it out.
It was like the worlds manufacturing and supply chain was a garden hose, and the faucet was suddenly turned off. Here we are a year or so later, and now the world is ready to grow again it’s time to turn the garden hose back on. But now that garden hose is attached to a fire hydrant. Like trying to force too much water through a hose, there are simply more products looking to be shipped than there are people, containers, and trucks to ship them.
Thankfully, the product and purchasing teams at Johnson Plastics Plus have been monitoring these potential delays and planning our inventory levels accordingly. But even with the best planning, there are bound to be hiccups along the way, and we anticipate that inventory of some popular products will fluctuate into next year. This may be due to a lack of trucks or shipping containers to transport products from ports to our warehouses or simply the ability of our suppliers to fill orders.
Planning is the key
We’re already seeing plenty of movement in prices and availability for items coming from overseas, driven primarily by demand outpacing supply. We anticipate that prices will continue to creep up over the next few months as manufacturers face employment challenges while continuing to work to fill old and new orders. These challenges will likely increase as the typical holiday shopping push drives even more demand. The continued shortage of dock workers and truck drivers is also driving up handling and freight costs and also directly impacting overall product pricing.
With that being said, our team continues to work on securing inventory and negotiating freight prices. Today, most products remain in-stock at one of our four warehouses, but that can change with demand at any time. We also have a lot of new products in the pipeline that we know you and your customers will love.
When you log-in to our website, jpplus.com, we offer real-time product inventory and availability. If you see a product that you know you’ll need for your customers, we encourage you to place that order now. This may sound like a brazen attempt to increase sales, but it’s not. We really want to make sure you’ve got the products you need to personalize for your customers when you need them. And while we’re doing everything, to make sure our warehouse shelves remain stocked, there are factors this year that may affect inventory that are out of our control.
We recommend taking a look at the hot trends in personalization on sites such as Pinterest and other social media channels. Those are the products your customers will be asking for this holiday season, and the demand for those items will probably outpace available supply. It’s better to get ahead of the trend and get materials ordered before it’s too late.
Finally, this supply crunch isn’t limited to any one product category or type. It’s reaching all corners of the global trade, from cars to electronics to clothing and textiles and experts predict it will have an impact on the 2021 holiday season. That may mean that customers might come to you looking for unique, personalized items because they can’t get other items at traditional retailers. Long story short: there could be an influx of new customers and orders for you, and you want to be ready for those potential new sales.
Things are looking up...way up
We’ve come a long way in a year and a half, and the long-term outlook is bright. Some economists are predicting that manufacturing, supplier and shipping pipelines may start returning to “normal” as soon as the end of the year. Unemployment rates are dropping, and with that comes more manufacturing and warehouse support, more trucks and deliveries, and more goods making their way to customers.
Johnson Plastics Plus has always been committed to helping you stay competitive with your business. Even with manufacturing and shipping costs on a roller-coaster ride and product availability remaining volatile, our team of product and purchasing specialists have been working overtime to keep products in-stock and prices as low as possible for you.
We are pleased to continue our free shipping* offer on orders of $149 or more placed on jpplus.com, and our expert customer service and technical support teams are here to help whenever you need them.
We’re on our way to a potential economic recovery to the likes we haven’t seen in the US for nearly 70 years. We’re glad to be your partner in business and we are with you along for the ride. If you need anything, we hope you’ll reach out with anything we can do to help with your business! Thanks for sticking it out with us!
*Some exclusions apply. Visit jpplus.com/freeshipping for details.