David Foster put up a post linking a site that tracks global ocean freight (and other boats). The ensuing comments were interesting and far ranging. I had started to type this as a comment but it got too long.
The comments for the most part brought up issues with supply chain, a world I am intimately familiar with. We are struggling right now with a massive surplus of inventory at my industrial distribution business. While that sounds like a simple problem to fix (sell it down, duh) it isn’t that easy. Everyone in my industry is hoarding inventory right now – its the new model. Pre Covid, we had patterns that were as old as time. In Spring, we do “this”, in Summer we need to order “these” and so on. Of course manufacturers do the same, and up the supply chain.
With Covid, those patterns are completely blasted out into space, and rather than a nice sine wave looking thing for our inventory, we have severe spikes where we see nothing, or a years worth of product showing up at a time. We don’t dare cancel orders for fear of going to the back of the line. Companies are full now of more and more inept and incompetent people, and good information is very hard to find. When you find a person who is in the know, that in itself is a super valuable thing to have.
Back to the comments of David Foster’s post. Most of them dealt with a part of the supply chain. Last weeks super stupid pronouncements by the Biden administration proved how little thinking and forethought they have. The supply chain problem didn’t happen overnight and their solutions seem to portray that it will be fixed overnight, and we all laugh, of course. I saw something about opening the ports 24/7, having Walmart and Target do something and some more blah blah. Laughable. As if Mayor Pete knows the first thing about transportation. I digress a bit.
When faced with a big problem in my business, or my life for that matter, I break it down into parts and try to tackle the different parts to eventually solve the problem as a whole. You simply can’t take an issue like “Supply Chain”, and make a few pronouncements and make it all better. With an enormous, multi-faceted problem such as the one we are in right now, the solution needs to be comprehensive and flexible. We currently have none of the above and I expect more of that for the future.