Pandemic impacts back-to-school supply chain

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This year, as students prepare to head back to school, most for in-person learning, many sources are reporting on possible shortages of and higher prices for some school supplies. This news led many consumers to complete their school shopping earlier, by the end of July according to Deloitte, with families of K-12 students spending an average of $850, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey.

The categories most likely to have shortages include backpacks, stationery, sports equipment, laptops and tablets, according to Neil Saunders, retail analyst and managing director at GlobalData Retail, as reported in CNN Business. “While we are unlikely to see apocalyptic shortages, the continued pressure on supply chains means that not all retailers will get an optimal amount of supply,” Saunders said in USA Today. “What this means is consumers will have less choice, and some may not be able to get exactly what they want, especially towards the end of the back-to-school season.”

Tablets and computers were already in short supply due to the global chip shortage and the supply of sneakers and licensed character backpacks primarily manufactured in China and Taiwan is affected by port closures and the cost of transporting goods from overseas leading to cutbacks on purchases, according to Marketwatch.

These factors affecting consumers with school-age children mirror the supply chain challenges facing the broader CPG industry. At CJ Logistics America, we’re working collaboratively with our Food and CPG customers, finding innovative ways to improve supply chain visibility and resilience and help them build and manage their inventories to meet the needs of their customers. We’re leveraging our creative procurement response, mode optimization and scheduling optimization strategies, our space utilization solutions and much more as consumer expectations evolve, transportation demands increase and capacity issues affect manufacturers’ production.

“We appreciate the support of and collaboration with our customers, and we are committed to providing them with insights and timely and accurate information,” said Ken Heller, Chief Transportation Officer. “With a focus on customer goals – total system cost reduction, service performance and value creation – our integrated solutions, processes and technology optimize the end-to-end supply chain.”