Let's Talk About Supply Chain Challenges

Let's Talk About Supply Chain Challenges

by Sidney Harrison November 05, 2021

Living with the pandemic for over a year now, surely you have heard the mention of supply chain issues from businesses both big and small. You have likely experienced the symptoms of these issues--Whether this be your favorite snacks missing and out of stock from the grocery store, or your online order taking longer than anticipated to arrive at your home. How does this happen? And how might it impact your Soaring Heart order? 

Everything you purchase goes through a series of interconnected channels that involve many more companies than just the one where your order was placed. You might not notice this, or even think about it, because this process usually runs very smoothly! But like many things, the pandemic has produced some big challenges in the supply chain. 

1. Companies are keeping smaller inventories.

You may remember life before the pandemic, when you could place an order online for something and it would arrive pretty quickly thereafter. This is due to companies having the ability to store big supplies of products and materials in their warehouses. The pandemic has forced factories around the world to shut down periodically in order to keep their workers safe, and there are some that have yet to re-open. This generally means that companies don't have the large inventories on hand that they used to. While we have been fortunate enough to keep our warehouse open and fulfilling your orders, we are feeling the impacts of these closures with sourcing our materials. Most Soaring Heart products are handmade to order, which means that we operate as our own manufacturer. This is beneficial to us when considering these supply chain challenges, as many companies use manufacturers at a separate location from their warehouse stock. Instead of a manufacturer sourcing the materials from a supplier, then shipping it to a business's warehouse to be kept as stock, we purchase materials direct from small farms and mills, and manufacture our comfort goods at the same location where stock is kept. This cuts out a step that would be necessary in the supply chain for most businesses. However, our materials are not always easy to source, and our high standard for certified organic materials leaves us with few options.

2. Boat traffic is causing major delays

When we order our latex and wool, they often arrive to the US on a container ship. Pre-pandemic, we could anticipate a 2-3 week timeframe for these to arrive. Now we are anticipating timeframes closer to 12-16 weeks due to the high demand for goods paired with low container availability and occasional closures, particularly coming from ports in Asia and Australia. Our latex is sourced from Sri Lanka, and if you were in the market for an extra firm latex mattress, you may have noticed that this item is unavailable for the time being due to these delays. We plan to offer this product again in the future when extra firm latex is stocked once again in our warehouse. 

 

3. Shipping companies are overwhelmed

All of us have probably been doing a little more online shopping since the start of the pandemic in March. Delivery companies have been noticing this influx of packages, and are struggling to keep up with the demand. Not only are shipping companies navigating an increasingly high demand for their services, but they are also dealing with a large influx of new employees with less training, and a general labor shortage.  You might have even noticed that many shipping companies have increased their prices to try to combat this. Please be patient with these drivers if your order is taking a little longer to arrive than anticipated.

 

All of these individual delays will have an impact on shopping for the foreseeable future, and especially during the holiday season. Please keep this in mind when you place your orders with us, or with anyone else; it's best to order ahead and be prepared for delays. At Soaring Heart we want to say a big thank you for your continued patience as we all learn how to navigate our new normal.

 

Photo by Andy Li on Unsplash

 




Sidney Harrison
Sidney Harrison

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