Small-business owners in Illinois are experiencing an unprecedented demand in supplies and goods, but inventory is limited at stores due to supply chain issues nationwide.
As the holiday season approaches, products overseas have been backlogged and prices for products have increased, causing those operating small businesses to scramble through their inventory. That’s what Pennie Crocket, CEO and founder of Pennie’s Tea in Monee, has experienced.
“One of my suppliers [in China] was out of our ingredients and they didn’t tell us,” she said. “They had been out of one of our ingredients since June, but I’m hoping to have everything that I need in my store sometime next month. But, it’s still [concerning] that [my supplier] stopped distribution because of one ingredient.”
Crockett said she will have to put a pause on presales and participating in holiday promotions such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday because of the shortage.
Last week, President Joe Biden said the Port of Los Angeles will operate 24/7 to address the supply chain issues in the U.S. In addition, UPS, FedEx and other postal services will also operate nightly. According to Moody Analytics, the scheduling change should yield a 10% increase in container flow. And according to port staff, 200,000 containers were stopped in their tracks Monday.
Maciek Nowak, interim dean of Loyola University’s Quinlan School of Business, said COVID-19 played a big part in the supply chain fiasco.
“People are still able to go to work [during COVID-19]. The problem isn’t the labor here,” he said. “The problem is what we are seeing in Vietnam, China and Bangladesh … when there’s a stoppage or a slowdown of something in one of these places, it has a ripple effect around the world and it’s creating [labor shortage problems]. And then suddenly there is an increase in demand as the economy starts to flow. As long as there is a decrease in supply and an increase in demand — it’s combined to create an unprecedented delay or issues with a supply.”
He also said businesses will suffer unless the government takes more action.
“The small businesses are not getting the things that they need on time because everything is delayed. And there’s just so many products and inventory clogging the supply chain,” he said. “There’s so many parts that have to go correctly. And until we can manage the issue, nothing’s going according to schedule right now.”
Crockett said she will not let delays affect her business. She says she will have to rely on her distributors like Target and Whole Foods who have a supply of her products in stock.
“I’m going to have to work with the current inventory that I have. It won’t be the large surplus that I had expected, but I’m trying to work differently at this moment and just hope that it goes well with my customers in terms of the supply chain crisis,” she said.