The COVID pandemic might not be making breaking news as we head into the second half of 2022 but that doesn’t mean the virus has been defeated. Its catastrophic impact on global supply chains and shipping is still affecting companies and consumers alike all around the world. While here in the U.S., the virus is almost synonymous with the common flu, other countries, notably China, have taken a more hardline approach.
On top of this, U.S.-China economic tensions have never been so fractious.
This trade war, combined with the COVID pandemic, signals to manufacturers and suppliers that planning, strategy, and finding fast, innovative solutions have never been so critical to a business’s success. Let’s examine the impact these global crises will have in the United States over the next twelve months and what we can do to best prepare our businesses for potential shortages.
The first thing to make clear is that no one knows exactly what will happen. Maybe tomorrow a far more deadly variant of COVID will cause a year-long lockdown. Even if by some miracle U.S.-China relations improve in 2023, ongoing chaos is still likely, especially as another recession seems more likely than not.
In more optimistic news, there has been “substantial fleet growth” that should alleviate port congestion and allow quicker, more efficient shipping networks which will eventually lead to more supplies and a cheaper end product for consumers. Key industries, such as the car market, are expected to have scarce parts more readily available which combined with the good news regarding shipping, means a lot of stress should be alleviated by early 2023.
So while news regarding the next six to twelve months is mixed – especially as so much can change so quickly in this time – what are the ways businesses can best prepare for the new year regardless of the state of the world?
Don’t rely on China (or any other country for that matter)
Geographic diversification is key to avoiding your entire network collapsing due to the policies and whims of one particular country. Instead of having your business’s entire supply base set in China, shift labor-intensive work to Mexico and Central America. Building a new supplier infrastructure in a different country or region will take considerable time and money but the alternative is even worse: being unable to provide customers with their products while your competitors are making healthy profits.
Think outside the box
Unprecedented challenges are met with radical solutions. To avoid supply chain shortages, there are a few methods you can try to outwit your competitors. 3D printing is now a truly viable option for some manufacturing processes. This can be done here in the USA to alleviate a lot of the headaches associated with shipping from other countries.
Automation can sharply reduce the need for labor in preparing products for shipping. Automated optical inspection systems for quality control are also something that should be considered as we’re expecting such turbulence in global supply chains. Again, the initial costs may not be cheap but is a wise ROI decision.
A piece of advice that every business can follow is to plan carefully when purchasing supplies. Don’t wait until the last minute to make your order, and reserve extra stock to reduce the need to replenish too quickly.
You might think that you still have plenty of time but nobody knows what catastrophe is lying around the corner. A sudden outbreak of the virus, or a shipping war could easily take place and your deadline will be missed.
That’s why at DGW Branded, we’ve requested that our customers put their holiday orders in now so that we can promise them their branded swag and custom kits will be delivered in time for the holiday season. We have some great ideas for company swag that we think your employees will love. Another way to spread some seasonal joy is with personalized goodies – check out some of our budget and sustainable favorites!
Custom kits that are fully sustainable inside and out are the future of print promo
It’s easy to panic or wallow in self-pity with the never-ending chaos and seemingly daily breaking news regarding shipping and supply-chain drama. We hope that by following these tips, we can help you plan and continue to meet your customers’ expectations regardless of what external circumstances are occurring.
As a B Corp, DGW Branded takes pride in thinking beyond profit. We want to see the world as equitable as possible, where everyone is given an equal opportunity to shine.
We prove our commitment to this by hiring those from the foster care system to help deliver an outstanding experience to our customers.
This article is a concise breakdown of what is happening now and in the future of the supply-chain world. We hope it’s of value but please let us know if you have any questions. For your business needs, contact us and one of our experts will guide you through the process.