Supply Chain Disruption Continues Due to the Pandemic

Supply Chain Disruption Continues Due to the Pandemic Supply Chain Disruption Continues Due to the Pandemic

October 21, 20212 min read

During the pandemic, the global supply chain experienced disruptions. Kathleen Iacocca, PhD, associate professor of Management and Operations discussed that this issue is more severe than the beginning of the pandemic.

The supply chain relies on effective forecasting, inventory control and logistics of supply and demand. At the start of the pandemic, the supply and demand scale became off-balance due to panic purchasing.

Today, one reason it’s much worse is that the supply went down. What can be done in this situation?

“You can try and push supply back up, which is what President Biden is doing with having ports operating 24/7. Costco or Target can make as many phone calls as they want to Hasbro asking for Barbies, and if they don’t have them, they can’t just wave a wand and get them,” says Iacocca.

An option if there’s an imbalance is to push demand down. How would that work? “As a retailer, you can raise prices. That will help bring the supply and demand into a balance until the logistics part can catch up,” says Iacocca. “But that can lead to dangerous issues, the people that can afford things are going to continue buying product. And it will exaggerate the differences in socioeconomic status.”

Iacocca predicts with the upcoming holiday season supply will not be able to meet demand. “In a normal world, retailers can forecast and build up inventory. In the future demand will continue to go up while the supply doesn’t get any larger and will just increase the gap between the two.”

In the meantime, small businesses can expect challenges. “If there’s a short supply of lumber, Home Depot can afford it more than Mom and Pop Lumberyard. Raising prices are a risk for those that can’t necessarily afford things, but also the small businesses,” says Iacocca.

When will supply finally catch up?

Iacocca predicts March at the earliest, depending on two things: “First, that the labor force doesn’t remain as is. If you’re playing the game of catchup, you’re working overtime. Second, you’re counting on factories not shutting down again because of COVID. March is the assumption that you have the means, and you just need the time and a period where demand does not continue to go up.”

To speak with Iacocca, click on her headshot or email

Connect with:
  • Kathleen Iacocca, PhD
    Kathleen Iacocca, PhD Associate Professor of Management & Operations | Villanova School of Business

    Kathleen Iacocca, PhD, is an expert on supply chain management, business analytics and optimization with a focus on healthcare industries.

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