COVID-19 shortages caused by parallel supply chains

By Heather van Blokland
Published: Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 5:23pm

Supply chain shortages are affecting the production of everything from cars to phones to food. But there’s another supply chain that’s holding back goods as well. 

There are two parallel supply chains, according to Gene Schneller of the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU. One is products-related, but the other is the labor supply chain. And that supply chain has been deeply fractured by the pandemic. 

“And that persists as we look in Arizona, supply chain shortages as meat packing plants and others are not able to get those human resources,” he said.

The supply chain is about the products but it is also about those who are responsible for bringing those products to the public, he said. Access to labor from Mexico has been greatly reduced by the pandemic and Arizona’s agricultural producers can’t bring their crops to sale without labor.

“We’re seeing that in consumer prices if you go into the market today and I’ll look at the cost of the meat — those have escalated tremendously,” he said.

Schneller said the term “supply chain” is a misnomer, that it is really a set of linked complex organizations rather than a link of specific supply chains.

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