You might have seen a lot about supply chains lately. There’s been emails from companies, headlines, tweets, and more. The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the supply chain from the very beginning—even if you are just now seeing the effects. Just like many other businesses, we are facing supply chain challenges and wanted to take a moment to explain to you why this happened, why it’s still happening, and how it’s affecting us and the Rise Gardens Community.
In the operations world, there’s a theory known as the bullwhip effect, which is a distribution channel phenomenon in which demand forecasts yield supply chain inefficiencies. It refers to increasing swings in inventory in response to shifts in consumer demand as one moves further up the supply chain.
At the beginning of the pandemic, everyone turned everything off because no one needed anything that wasn’t essential. People held off on buying unessential goods. Companies began to forecast lower sales, which means lower production. Then, the world shifted again and purchasing increased—sometimes more than pre-pandemic amounts. This alone put a crunch on the supply chain.
COVID-19 Shut Downs and Material Shortages
Many of the manufacturing facilities and factories were shut down for large periods of times throughout the world--especially when whole cities in Asian were shut down for months. When you shut down a factory, it’s not as easy as just flipping a switch and getting back to work. There’s getting the machines back up and running, bringing back employees, hiring new ones, ordering supply, and so much more. Many of the facilities that shut down are still not operating at 100% of their capacity. This affects the supply chain.
Then, you have certain materials that were diverted for a higher priority product—mostly medical grade plastics and materials—early in the pandemic. This is also why you have seen empty car lots. Understandably, this was needed but the world hasn’t recovered. We use quality materials and many of those materials (i.e. medical/food grade plastic) were diverted very early on and we are still seeing the ripple effects. It’s slowed production and shipping timelines for us.
By now, most of us have seen the headlines of the traffic jams and bottlenecks in ports. Logistics is challenging right now. Many ships are not balanced and many of these empty ships are not making their way back to China, which is causing shipping delays.
Manufacturing simply can’t keep up. There are 5 million less people in the workforce right now. This shortage has caused less production and higher prices with companies competing for employees with higher wages, bonuses, and more. These types of delays all impact the supply chain.
Metal is in short supply. Everyone is competing for it and paying a premium for it when they locate it. Our metal bases and extensions require metal. Locating the metal needed for our gardens has caused unfortunate delays in our supply chain.
In our store, you might notice out of stock items and longer shipping times. We are doing everything in our power to get your Rise Gardens and supplies to your homes as quickly as we can. Keep an eye out as items come back in stock. Sign up for notifications. Supplies are on their way.
We had every intention of scaling up this season to meet not only the demand of the holiday season but the demand on indoor gardens, which have been in high demand during the pandemic as more people want to have more control over their food and the food supply chain. These challenges, while unfortunate, have been unforeseeable and unavoidable.
The supply chain issues the world is facing has placed serious limitations on most, if not all, companies. We continue to work diligently to get product in the hands of our customers and ensure they arrive in time for the holiday.