What is the supply chain? For supply chain professionals, it starts with product development and raw materials. What are raw materials? This could be anything from the grains we grow for our pet food to the substances and materials used to make the dog food bag. In general terms, it’s materials or substances used in the primary production or manufacturing of goods.
The supply chain can also include transportation, warehousing, distribution, marketing, finance and customer service; all the things it takes to get a product or service to the end user.
Let’s focus on the two biggest issues we are faced with today. One major issue affecting our supply chain is the cost of fuel; fuel to transport from the farm to the mills, from the mills to manufacturing, from manufacturing to distribution, then to the end user. According to AAA (https://gasprices.aaa.com/), the average price of regular gas went from $2.172 last year to $3.319 this year, an increase of almost 35%. Most suppliers can’t afford to absorb a 35% increase into their products, so who do you think will end up paying for it?
Next, we are looking at labor shortages. Shortage of factory workers, truck drivers, retail sales associates, farm workers, and on and on. This creates what is known as a bottleneck or a point of congestion in a production process. In this case it’s a shortage in the workforce. The outcome is having to rely on what the workforce can produce. Some of the fallout we are starting to see is more workers on strike, higher wage offerings, better benefit packages for the workforce. Again, who will pay for this? That’s right, the consumer.
This is also contributing to what is happening at the ports with ships getting offloaded for the holiday rush. Even if there are workers and ships can be offloaded 24/7, there has to be enough room to store the cargo until you can find a truck with a driver to pick it up, then you have to have workers in the stores to receive the goods and put it on the shelves. Most reports are saying this will not be resolved until the summer of 2022.
What are we doing to compensate for these challenges? As business owners, we are looking out at the next 6 months to a year to provide our suppliers with a forecast. We are also searching for alternate suppliers that might be able to fill in any shortages, building inventory where we can by putting large blanket PO’s out to our suppliers to ensure we have inventory when we need it. But this all comes at a price.
How is this affecting you and your pets? You could see shortages on the shelves, higher prices for those regular items that you purchase, not to mention longer lead times for items you order online. There can be longer lines at the veterinarian if they can’t get staff, and more pets not getting adopted/purchased because people can’t afford their care.
What can you do? Act like a supply chain professional and plan ahead.
- Don’t wait until you’re almost out of pet food or their medications before you order more.
- Adjust your budget knowing prices are going up. Just like when the pandemic started you might see some hoarding going on.
- Have an emergency plan and make sure you have a pet friendly first aid kit in your home. This could be a life saver for your pet if you can’t get to the vet right away.
- Emergency food and water can help as well if you have to bug in….
No one can prepare for your pets like you can. Make a plan today to keep them safe and happy tomorrow.
Team Pet Evac Pak is here to help you with your pets emergency planning.