Buying on Black Friday can be complicated by supply chain disruption and shortages

Best Buy reveals a unique way to find out about global shortages and shipping delays: subscriptions. This week, the company announced a $ 200 a year program promising consumers low prices and exclusive access to hard-to-find devices. While the new member also comes with 24/7 tech support and free shipping, the idea of ​​having a product guarantee availability may be even more appealing to buyers who are worried that their orders won’t arrive on time for holidays.

The new Best Buy service is a reminder that retailers don’t expect supply chain issues, including the chip shortage in the semiconductor world, will go any hour soon. In fact, they seem to be getting worse. A crunch to give for petrochemicals, which are used in everything from paint to plastics, raised the price of all sorts of products. Meanwhile, an outgoing loudness in China led to power cuts with closed factories and disrupted daily life there. These recent developments add to existing problems in the global supply chain and create more severe logistics bottlenecks. Combine that with a persistent shortage of shipping containers and truck drivers, and the resulting result is a huge slowdown in the delivery of things.

“You have work -related issues. There are issues with the lack of available empty containers and space on ships. Port congestion here in the United States, issues with truck arrival workers and warehouse workers, ”said Jon Gold, a vice president for supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation, in Recode. “The whole system melted away.”

As retailers rush to import items and gadgets that they think consumers want during the holiday shopping season, the list of shortages grows. made it difficult for them to find sufficient stock. Now, experts say consumers should expect higher prices, delays, and opportunistic sellers as well as Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday approach. And over the next six months to a year, we won’t see the same variety of products we’re used to, according to Patrick Penfield, us aka supply chain professor at Syracuse University.

Supply chain problems are getting worse

Gadgets are especially vulnerable to scarcity because they have so many different components. Think of all the features that go into a PlayStation 5 or a new laptop, including their chips, outer shell, and screens. Many of these components require their own specialist manufacturing facilities, which are often in different factories and often in different countries. For a device to deliver on time, all of these features need to be done simultaneously. Now, that hasn’t happened.

“A lot of people who work at it don’t really understand how different all the components that go into supply chains are,” Willy Shih, a professor of business administration at Harvard, Recode told August. “They don’t understand that I need capacitors. They don’t understand that I need power management chips. They don’t understand that I need inductors.”

The demand for these ingredients is contradictory against efforts to introduce Covid-19 in countries where the manufacture and assembly of many products has actually taken place. Between a recent delta variant outbreak and national lockdown in Malaysia, the government appointed electronics manufacturers critical businesses to sustain production. In May, Vietnam direct vaccines directly to factory workers, while urging smartphone makers working in the country, such as Samsung, to do the same. (Vietnam’s Covid-19 challenges are not lost: Last weekend, tens of thousands of workers fled commercial center of the country after the government, which is still the same struggling to access vaccines, lifted pandemic lockdown bans.)

Today, the planned power outage aimed at curbing China’s energy use is making the manufacture of electronics even more complicated. The condition is a result of a number of underlying problems, including a global surge in fossil fuel prices; a conflict between China and Australia, which is one of major coal suppliers in the country; and China’s efforts to curb pollution ahead of the Winter Olympics. The consequences of power outages have a detrimental effect on daily life and the rest of the people. some houses and classrooms without power and water.

China’s strong energy has also forced many factories, including those that make components. Apple, Dell, Tesla, and Microsoft, to stop or reduce production. Meanwhile, appliance manufacturers and automakers in the country are preparing for the metal shortage after limited operation of metal smelters. Power shortages is also hindering companies responsible for things like chip packaging, chip test, and telephone assembly.

Above all, the lack of petrochemicals, derived from oil, makes it even more difficult and expensive to make all sorts of things, like paint, glue, and food packaging. In recent weeks, the price of polyvinyl chloride, a chemical used to make plastics, has risen. 70 percent. Without the raw materials, makers of everything from credit cards to medical devices to cars have a much harder time keeping up.

“What happens is that a phone is delayed because they’re waiting for their plastic provider, and the plastic provider is waiting in line,” said Penfield, the Syracuse professor. “You only need one supplier – and it can be the basic supplier of the mixture – to fully deliver your supply chain.”

The problems in petrochemical manufacturing have many causes, but some are linked to companies that have not yet been acquired. from the Texas winter storm and a number of coastal storms. This relationship demonstrates how severe weather exacerbates climate change with unintended ripple effects on many industries.

Think again about the holiday season

All of these problems mean that consumers are seeing rising prices and delays in shipping for many products. That’s why those looking forward to the holiday shopping season may want to start early, and not just with consumer electronics. As Terry Nguyen’s Vox reported last month, almost everything people want to buy for the holidays is as dangerous as the snags of the global supply chain:

Here is the incomplete list of consumer goods subject to backorders, delays, and shortages. new clothes, back-to-school supplies, bike, pet food, paint, FURNITURE, cars, tech gadgets, children’s toys, household goods, TREES, any reliance on semiconductor chips, and even coveted fast food staples like chicken wings, packets of ketchup, Taco Bell, Starbucks’ cake pops, ug McDonald’s milkshakes (in the UK, for now).

“Most likely, there will be a shortage of specific holiday products,” said Seckin Ozkul, from the Supply Chain Innovation Lab at the University of South Florida. “So, if consumers know what they want to buy for their loved ones for the holiday season, now is a good time to get it working.”

Far from buying early and paying more, there are other ways that customers can adapt. Buyers should consider buying products that aren’t their first choice, because some items, like the PlayStation 5, are likely to be lacking. until sometime next year. If shopping online, you can check to see if local stores have a curbside pick-up option. (One helpful tool for this is Google Shopping, which can include information about where an item is in stock at nearby stores.)

Another method is to avoid online shopping altogether and buy things in stores, the old -fashioned way. There are even more chains like Walmart and Home Depot resources to charter their own cargo ships, and they don’t seem to be much lost in things. Best Buy, of course, expects some people to consider paying $ 200 to ensure access to the products requested, even if the company has not yet shared which products will be included in the program.

No matter how customers choose to prepare, they shouldn’t think that supply chain problems will be solved before the holiday. Due to the ease with which the shortcomings of other shortcomings, it seems like there is no end to the day to be seen.

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