MADRID – Due to the corona pandemic, many suppliers have experienced stock delays in production. Products with delivery problems range from alcoholic beverages, game consoles, bicycles, and cars to items from furniture giant IKEA.
Despite the shortages of certain products due to delays in delivery times, according to Spanish department stores and supermarkets, there is no such thing as scarcity, resulting in empty shelves. In addition, the fierce competition means there is more than enough merchandise available to replace products that are temporarily unavailable. Spanish entrepreneurs have been preparing for months and say they are ready for the large influx of customers and online orders that they expect in the coming weeks around Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and during the run-up to Christmas.
Do I have to do my Christmas shopping earlier?
People who have specific wishes and already know which products they need are advised to be there on time. The supply problems will mainly affect the replenishment of the most popular products. That doesn’t mean you have to rush to the store now for your Christmas shopping. Toy store managers do note that some customers are stocking up on all their gifts to avoid leaving them empty-handed. There is absolutely no reason for this because, despite the somewhat longer delivery times, the toy sector does not expect to face any real shortages.
What responsibility does the government have?
The delivery delay is a worldwide problem. And, for example, assembling a simple washing machine, requires parts from more than ten countries, only increases the risk of problems and delays. As the president of the Spanish Association of White Goods ANFEL, Fernando Gil, told the newspaper el País “the slowest link determines the delivery speed”. This basically means that if only one part is missing, the product cannot be marketed. The role of the government is secondary in this matter. However, measures could be taken similar to those in the United States. Here, ports and distribution companies are obliged to work day and night to improve the situation.
What is the cause of the shortages?
Due to the lockdowns and global measures following the coronavirus outbreak, work in factories was shut down for extended and multiple periods. As a result, production stagnated. When the measures were relaxed, hundreds of millions of people spent the money saved during the lockdown on goods, mostly stuff for refurbishing the house and creating a home workplace. After a factory has been at a standstill, production does not immediately return to the old level after the resumption. In addition, Asian factories suffered from staff shortages and power outages.
Furthermore, ports are becoming clogged with stranded containers due to a lack of truck drivers. As a result, empty containers cannot be returned to their usual place to be filled with new goods. This has led to further delays. In some ports, there is no room at all. And long lines of ships form that have to wait more than a week before they can be unloaded. Due to all this, there is a shortage of containers to get products from Asia, with the result that container prices have risen enormously. The production chains are seriously disrupted by this delay.
Will the economic recovery take longer?
Large companies are already factoring in lost revenue due to supply chain problems in their budgets and forecasts. Apple, for example, claims to have lost $6 billion in revenue due to the current crisis. Nevertheless, the period figures of the companies now show a strong improvement compared to the weak pandemic year, although part of the economic recovery could be pushed back to 2022. The supply crisis is expected to be over by then.