The global pandemic brought together various factors to create a "perfect storm" of difficulties for international supply chain management. During the worst phases of the Covid-19 period, consumer demand in markets like the United States fell sharply for some classes of product and rose sharply for others, resulting in a tricky curveball for product suppliers, retailers, and distributors.
At the same time, production was shut down in some of the world's key manufacturing hubs, effectively halting the flow of some products into the market. Products that were manufactured were left stranded in warehouses, and distribution facilities as governments and other authorities tightened restrictions on international travel. Today, with the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, these supply chain difficulties are still being felt.
According to some experts, we can expect these difficulties to continue. University of Rochester economist George Alessandria predicted that supply chain difficulties will remain until at least summer 2023 and described the situation as "the worst that it's been in 50 years."
Workforce Shortfalls Exacerbate the Problem
Since the pandemic began in early 2020, the American workforce has dwindled. Even almost two and a half years on, figures remain below pre-pandemic levels — although projections suggest further growth throughout 2022 and full recovery by 2023.
This shortfall is one of the factors that is stalling supply chain recovery in the United States. After a difficult couple of years, the global manufacturing sector is experiencing growth again, posting a 4.2% increase in production yearly between Q1 2021 and Q2 2022. Goods are becoming available, but connecting them with the customers who need them is still challenging.
An Important Role for Labour-Hire Organisations
Supply chain challenges will linger if logistics firms and distributors cannot find the staff to transport products along the 'last mile' to customers and retail outlets. This is why labour-hire organisations will play an important role as the supply chain recovers.
Delivering Personnel to Onshore Manufacturing Projects
Economists have noted that shifting industry focus to onshore manufacturing projects in the United States will only be a temporary fix. This model of handling manufacturing and production onshore will not work in the long run. However, local and domestic manufacturers have had to increase production to ease
some of the strain on supply chains — and labour-hire organisations can ensure that onshore manufacturers are properly staffed to meet this demand.
Ensuring Distribution and Logistics Firms Are Fully Staffed
Transportation, logistics, and distribution firms will be key during supply chain recovery. While the transportation and warehousing sector has surged forward following the pandemic, employing substantially more individuals than pre-2020 levels, some aspects of this sector have performed better than others. For instance, warehousing and storage employment figures are soaring, while trucking and logistical driving figures track at around the same rate before the pandemic. As goods flow back into the American market, labour-hire organisations will be required to boost employment numbers in response to increased demand.
Supporting Infrastructural Projects Ahead of Supply Chain Recovery
The $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide ample scope for projects that will shore up supply chain infrastructure in the coming years. However, this will come to nothing if labourers and other workforce members are lacking. Labour-hire organisations will be on the frontline as these shortfalls are filled.
The Perfect Digital Solution for Labour-Hire Organisations
Providing powerful scheduling, workforce management, and reporting functions supported by automated tools, Alloc8 represents the perfect solution for labour-hire organisations during supply chain recovery. Reach out to our team to discover more, and schedule a demo of the platform.