Avoiding Supply Chain Issues During the Holidays

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Supply shortages have become a real problem for residents of the U.S. With the holidays fast approaching, moving goods seems like an impossible task. But global businesses who have been working with a professional forwarder might have a distinct advantage over that of companies that would rather go the cheap route when it comes to transporting their goods from point A to point Z.

Says the experts at All Forward, a professional forwarding agent, its their job to be on top of the day-to-day freight business. Being aware of the difficulties and problems allows them to utilize tools that can make their jobs easier. This means getting shipping quotes easier, while choosing the best shipping rates and routes.

But even then, that doesn’t guarantee that the products originating from overseas you want now or, at the very least, in the near future, are going to be available anytime soon. According to a new report, the media, retailers, supply chain experts, economists and even forwarders have all agreed that the best way to avoid supply issues during the upcoming holiday season is to start your shopping as early as humanly possible.

This is the only way you’re going to beat shipping delays and product shortages that are at presently “pummeling the global supply chain” and that threaten to wreck millions of American’s holiday gift giving plans.

As far back as early September, the president of the mega shipping company UPS said that you’d better be ordering you Christmas presents now since on December 25th there’s liable to be a photo of a gift you’re not going to receive until Easter time.

What Caused the Supply Chain Shortage

What’s being called “a perfect storm of conditions” including COVID-19-related China shutdowns, a surge of global demands for products, new poor economic policies and regulations, US trucking shortages, enhanced unemployment benefits and stimulus payments that pay workers to stay home, and more, have resulted in huge backlogs at U.S. ports like that off of Los Angeles. These major problems have resulted in Soviet Union era-like empty store shelves and e-commerce orders that are impossible to fulfill.

All that said, the National Retail Federation or NRF, is still predicting a massive holiday season with sales forecast for November and December of up to 11 percent over that of last year’s season. The NRF president has said that retailers are doing their best to invest in supply chain forwarding to ensure that customers can get access to the products they need on the shelves on their favorite stores. However whether this becomes reality, remains to be seen.

With Black Friday quickly approaching, here are a few strategies to employ that just might beat the supply chain shortage during the holiday season.

Fast Shipping or No Shipping

This is an unusual year when you need to go from placing an order to having the goods in hand immediately if not sooner, or so says the vice president of Digital Business Strategy for Forrester Research. He also recommends the “buy online, pick up in store” purchasing option that grew out of necessity during the pandemic.

He goes on to state that it’s a good move for consumers to shop with retailers who’ve already put the buy-online-and-pick-up-in-store infrastructure in place.

Be Careful About What You’re Purchasing

If there are items you feel you absolutely can’t go without, you need to order them as soon as possible. Chances are, lots of other consumers will feel they need the same products too, so they will go quickly. For instance, if you have a teenager who’s been begging for a PlayStation 5, you don’t want to wait around before buying it.

Or, if you want a KitchenAid blender but there are none available until next summer, why not go with an excellent competing brand like Black & Decker?

Get Creative

The upcoming holiday season might be an opportunity for you to think outside the box when it comes to gift giving ideas. Instead of giving an actual product to a loved one or friends for Christmas, perhaps a gift card or subscription will do. For instance, with a subscription, you can gift something that will arrive once per month for an entire year or more. Perhaps you can gift someone a weekend stay at a nearby resort or a gift certificate to their favorite watering hole or restaurant.

With many popular brands like Blue Apron, Birchbox, Ipsy, and MasterClass available for providing much sought after online learning content, subscription service buying for your family just might be the solution to the supply shortage crisis.

Or heck, if that doesn’t work, you can always gift cash or, what’s even better, Bitcoin.