Once upon a time, we lived in a world where office managers and business owners could order exactly what they needed, whenever they needed it, with the promise of guaranteed next-day delivery. But now, ordering supplies for your business can be anything but simple.
In a world where COVID-19 cases continue to rise and the role of post-pandemic workplace certainly looks different, one thing remains the same: people still have work to do and they need certain supplies to get their work done.
Almost a year into the pandemic, packages are still delayed for days or even weeks, orders are getting lost in the mail and certain items are nearly impossible to find, all because of disruptions in the supply chain.
Here at Egyptian Workspace Partners, we know how frustrating these delayed shipments can be, which is why we're continuously working with our vendor partners to help you find everything you need to keep your business running safely and efficiently.
In this article, we'll break down how COVID-19 is continuing to disrupt the supply chain and cause delivery delays. We'll also take a look at what items are in stock, what items aren't in stock and much more.
How is COVID-19 Continuing to Disrupt the Supply Chain?
1. How Has COVID-19 Impacted Shipping and Delivery Times?
In recent years, we’ve gotten used to ordering all our supplies online, and then everything would arrive on our doorstep within a day or two, if not even sooner than that.
However, since the COVID-19 pandemic took over the country (and the world) in early 2020, there has been a significant increase in the demand for certain products like hand sanitizer, face masks and disinfectant wipes.
Some of these items were extremely difficult to find, if they’re even available at all, and the increase in online orders has pushed the couriers to their limits. In fact, online sales in June were up 76 percent compared to the year before.
For this reason, manufacturers are dealing with a logistics nightmare. They’ve had to reduce the number of items they can produce, even though they’re doing their best to keep up with orders and get shipments out in a timely manner.
2. Why Are Some Items Still So Hard to Find?
The main reason for this is simple: supply and demand. The demand for PPE supplies and COVID-19 items has been unprecedented, which is why items like toilet paper and hand soap were nearly impossible to find at the start of the pandemic.
Since then, the manufacturers have been able to ramp up production, but they're still running into issues. Most manufacturers are only producing high-demand items, resulting in a smaller array of products to choose from.
Our suppliers are also short-staffed due to employees who are sick or in quarantine, and couriers have started enforcing strict limits on how many packages companies can send out each day.
3. What Items Are in Stock?
At this point, we have access to a supply of almost everything. Some items from brands like Lysol and Clorox are still in high demand, but we’ve been able to find comparable replacements for these items.
That being said, we’re doing our best to get your items to you in a timely manner, but sometimes we have to pull product from warehouses and supplies outside the area, resulting in longer lead times of 10 to 14 days.
4. What Items are Not in Stock?
Nitrile, latex and vinyl gloves are still very hard to find. The manufacturing process for gloves is complex and has limited domestic producers, which is why the United State relies on foreign companies for most of its supply and it's been difficult to get consistent shipments during the pandemic.
In addition, the materials used to produce nitrile gloves are also in short supply. We do have access to some gloves, but since the stock levels are always changing, the lead time can be anywhere from two to 14 days, including shipping time.
Ink and Toner
One of the main materials used to produce ink and toner is ethanol, which is also used in the production of sanitary products and disinfectants like hand sanitizer, hand soap and disinfectant wipes. There has been an increase in printers needed for the large number of workers now in their home office.
Unfortunately, this has led to a shortage of ink and toner. While manufacturers are doing their best to meet high demand, it's hard to say when the supply will return to pre-COVID levels.
5. When Will Supply Levels Go Back to Normal?
The short answer: it's hard to say. The supply industry is constantly changing, and no one knows for sure what 2021 will bring about, especially as the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be distributed throughout the country.
Industry leaders are telling us they project the demand for products like vinyl gloves, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer to continue well in 2021, although we hope the manufacturers will continue to adjust their processes to fill the needs of the industry.
How Can Egyptian Keep Your Office Running Safely?
Here at Egyptian Workspace Partners, our goal is to keep you and your employees safe.
We realize the supply industry is rapidly changing and that it can be challenging to keep track of what items are and aren’t in stock, which is why we’re here to make sure you have everything you need to keep your business running safely and efficiently.
We’re continuously working with our vendor partners to stay ahead of restock alerts, shipping delays and 2021 forecasts for hard-to-find items. We're also keeping our COVID-19 Resource Guide up to date with suitable replacements for these products.
To make sure you have everything you need, it's absolutely crucial to plan ahead. As your partner, we'll work with you to develop a customized plan so you can avoid lengthy lead times and stock up on all the supplies your business uses, before you even need them.
Ready to get your office up and running in a post-COVID world? Schedule a meeting with a Workspace Partner today!