The Pandemic and Other Factors Drive Shortages

Every day there is something new.

If you are like me, you have likely noticed that almost every day there is a new story about a shortage of something used on a regular basis by many, if not all, of us.

Here’s a list off the top of my head and reason(s) why there is a shortage:

New Automobiles: There is a shortage of microchips needed for new cars because of the increasing use of technology to operate the auto.

Rental Cars: The agencies sold off their inventories to stay financially afloat during the pandemic and now they can’t buy enough new cars because of microchip shortages in the car manufacturing process.

Coffee: Brazil had a drought last year and then in Central America the crops and business were devastated by hurricanes. There is also a shortage of shipping containers due to their locations being screwed up by shipping patterns brought on by the pandemic. Prices are expected to go way up soon.

Chlorine Tablets for Swimming Pools: The one primary manufacturing plant here in the U.S. had a fire recently and thus there is a shortage, plus an increased need because many new home swimming pools were installed during the pandemic.

Gasoline: I’ve heard three stories — 1) The Texas power outage took refineries offline and they have not caught up; 2) There is an increased demand as more people are commuting and there is expected to be an explosion in recreational travel; and 3) There is a shortage of tanker truck drivers, so some gas stations may run out temporarily. June appears to be the crunch point for fuels.

In summary, the above does show the finely tuned balance that exists between supply and demand brought about by our efficient, but vulnerable, supply chain.