Why 2021 supply chain issues will be good for logistics in the long run

By Heather van Blokland
Published: Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 8:28am
Updated: Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 8:29am

Shipping containers Port of Long Beach California
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Shipping containers at California's Port of Long Beach in October 2021.

Supply chain issues continue across Arizona as the pandemic lingers on. And like with COVID-19, supply chain experts are finding ways to work with the disruptions rather than waiting it out. But COVID-19 has made a deep and lasting dent in the chain that links the system together. 

Inventory costs have increased considerably over the last 15 months and the lack of available transportation has impacted supply, according to Zac Rogers, professor of supply chain management at Colorado State University. 

“It’s funny, I used to have to explain to people, you know, I teach supply chain. What am I doing? And now everyone is like, ‘Oh, yeah! Supply chain — that’s why I don’t have stuff!’ And, that’s not exactly what we want to be known for, but that’s still good,” he said.

The global supply chain has been expanding for years to make shipping goods and services as cheap and fast as possible. Rogers explains COVID-19’s impact on supply chains like a prescribed burn in the forest. 

“They clear away the inefficiencies from the forest and then there’s room for brand new stuff to grow. Anything that makes you slower, anything that makes you too expensive — that stuff is all getting washed away. And right now we’re going through the growing pains of the actual transition,” he said. Rogers says five to ten years down the road, the supply chain shifts that Arizona and other states are going through will actually be a good thing. Rogers said that normalizing the supply chain will not be an easy, or a quick, fix.

Rogers will be speaking at ASU on Nov. 2.

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