Fresno businesses tackle supply chain disruption and climate change – GV Wire
In the same way that the COVID-19 strain has made its way to every corner of the world, the broken supply chain induced by the pandemic has landed right here in Fresno.
Trade delays, transportation costs and labor constraints create shortages and apparently headaches of all kinds.
There are shortages of everything from sodas and clothes to new cars you can drive.
Consumers must now anticipate and anticipate what they might need in a month or two.
“If you see it, buy it!” is already the golden rule for the purchase of gifts and decorations for the holidays.
Get your Christmas tree early
Bonnie Simonian, who has co-owned Simonian Farms in Fresno for decades, recommends buying Christmas trees early this year, starting on Thanksgiving weekend. It’s because of climate change.
“It won’t just be a reality for this year, it will be a reality for years to come. We will have a lower number, which is the sad reality, and we do not know at this point what they will provide us. We know that we are going to have shortages (of Christmas trees) as well as all the other entities that carry trees. “ – Bonnie Simonian, co-owner, Simonian Farms
Climate change affects some fruits and vegetables. For example, the pumpkins grown in the valley are smaller due to the scorching summer heat and the smoke from forest fires near the Sierra.
“This year has been hot, everyday hot, we’ve had the drip irrigation on these pumpkins all summer everyday, but as for the pumpkins, the leaves have had intense heat and they don’t. didn’t get very big, so they couldn’t shade the pumpkin, ”says Madera farmer Alex Lehman.“ The other part was that we had smoke that had settled in that valley. “
And, buying furniture has become a wait and see game – and sticker shock – for many Fresno residents.
The manager of a large Fresno furniture retailer says the store has had to change prices at least once or twice a month since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, supply chain issues forced the store to delay deliveries to customers.
“We have people calling angry and angry,” said the store manager who asked that his name not be used. “We had to call, I’m going to tell at least a thousand customers in the last six months to tell them their business will be later than what we indicated because we can’t get them.”
Flexibility helps small businesses overcome delays
The Small Business Pulse Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau found that small businesses are hit with supply chain issues during the pandemic.
According to the survey, 38.8% of small U.S. businesses surveyed reported delays from domestic suppliers. And 15.9% said they were hampered by delays from foreign suppliers.
You won’t stay in business for very long if you can’t keep your customers happy. Thus, finding new suppliers and offering new products is essential for survival.
For example, the director of retail furniture giant Fresno says they’ve moved to more American products. Now in stock: twice the Amish furniture deals. And, the company is trying to build relationships with more American furniture makers.
Time is money, and the retailer can’t afford to have sofas, bedroom sets and wall units sitting in a shipping container for weeks on a dock in Long. Beach.
However, even furniture assembled in the United States is subject to delays.
“Say, for example, it’s a sofa made in the USA, but the leg is imported, but if they wait for a leg to come from a dock, you know, overseas, they can’t send you the sofa because they don’t have the leg, ”the store manager said.
What is missing ?
USA Today reports a number of miscellaneous and random products that are currently scarce, from chicken ice cream, soft drinks, coffee, diapers, fish sticks, candy, packets of Heinz ketchup, gourmet spices. McCormick and, again, toilet paper.
Food products are just a few of the few shortages currently occurring; others have been rare throughout the pandemic.
A 60 Minutes report released in August explained that there was a 75% shortage of semiconductors or microchips used to power modern, everyday devices.
These chips are mainly made in Asia and affect the production of new cars, computers, phones and other electronic devices.
New Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said 25 years ago the United States produced 37% of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing. Today it is only 12%.
Climate change disruptions add to shortages
The Lehman family has been cultivating pomegranates in Madera for generations. During the year, Lehman and his wife, once public school educators, open their family farm, Home Grown Cellars, to the public.
They provide seasonal attractions by organizing educational farm tours for schools, a sunflower maze for photo ops, apple picking, and a fall pumpkin patch.
Lehman also has a country store with seasonal apples, pomegranates, other fruits and nuts.
This year, however, there has been a shortage of apples. The almonds and pomegranates were smaller, as were the pumpkins that end up becoming Halloween pumpkins.
Excessive heat and smoke from forest fires damaged many of Lehman’s crops. He said he ended up having to lower his prices because of their size.
“Between the heat and the smoke, we got what we got, and so the people that went out, I basically told people on Saturdays – no bulk buying because what we have there is not what we like to see. “
Simonian organizes a pumpkin patch every year as well as a Christmas tree farm. She says the excessive summer heat in Oregon – the nation’s largest supplier of Christmas trees – resulted in 25 to 30 percent tree loss. This will trickle down to consumers in the form of higher prices.
“It won’t just be a reality for this year, it will be a reality for years to come,” said Simonian. “We will have a lower number, that’s the sad reality, and we don’t know at the moment what they will provide us. We know that we are going to have shortages as well as all the other entities that transport trees. “
Despite the challenges posed by climate change, Lehman and Simonian say they remain optimistic in doing their best: to keep prices as low as possible and to let the public know what’s going on.
Cargo ships Session In ports blamed for shortages
With a shortage of farm-grown Christmas trees on the horizon, some might try their luck with artificial trees this year. But artificial trees also face shortages and delays, with many stranded at sea.
In a press release released earlier last month, the American Christmas Tree Association said the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing economic recovery have overwhelmed the US supply chain with increased demand for consumer goods, of raw materials and transportation, quadrupling shipping costs and urged consumers to buy early.
In recent weeks, loaded freighters have been sighted off the coast of Los Angeles and other ports across the country. This prompted President Joe Biden to try to find a solution.
“You might be wondering if the (holiday) gifts you plan to buy will arrive on time,” Biden said. “Well let me explain, supply chains initially mean how we make things and how the equipment and parts are delivered to a factory, so that we can make things and make them here. How we move things, how a finished product travels from the factory to the store to your home.
Biden’s solution made the Port of Los Angeles operational 24/7, while promising to work with UPS, FedEx and retailers to extend their hours of operation.
High transport costs cause delays
However, the problem is not limited to the docks. Prices have risen sharply for shipping containers that hold the goods and products most Americans are used to seeing in their retail stores and grocery stores.
Reuters reports that shipping rates from China to the United States have skyrocketed to over $ 20,000 per 40-foot box. Normally the rate is around $ 3,000.
Whether it’s a shortage of port workers, a shortage of trucks and truckers, the cost of shipping containers, or the closure of countries due to COVID-19, many products on which the United States United counts are delayed from several weeks to several months.
A manager of a small furniture store in Fresno says most of the problems are delays for small parts like nuts, bolts and fabric.
“What used to take 30-60 days now takes 30-35 weeks, whereas a custom order previously took eight weeks, now takes five months,” said the store manager who requested to remain anonymous.
Trump-era tariffs complicate the situation in Southeast Asia
Factory closures and worker shortages abound in Southeast Asia after a large outbreak of COVID-19 there, according to CNBC. The outbreak has resulted in major product disruptions in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.
These countries have become more important to U.S. retailers and wholesalers because many companies moved their manufacturing plants out of China after the Trump administration imposed higher tariffs on Chinese products.
The Tax Foundation reports that the United States currently imposes tariffs of 25% or 7.5% on Chinese imports totaling more than $ 360 billion.