Like many industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has left its mark on the supply chain despite businesses’ ability to remain partially or even fully functional during lockdown. Between trade disruptions, higher shipping costs and staffing shortages all occurring within the supply chain, apparel and paper ordering has been trickier than ever.
A global availability crisis
We talked to Sigler president Michelle Vogel who was able to break it down for us.
We know how frustrating it can be to request a quote or place an order, only to be told that your preferred products are out of stock or on back order. The truth is, these issues have arisen in every step of the supply chain for both paper products and wearables. The supply shortage has been described in the industry as a bell curve – and it is projected that we are currently in the first 25-30% of the curve. These are definitely challenging times.”
Vogel also noted that these challenges extend beyond products and services offered at Sigler and have been an ongoing struggle in nearly every industry. “As post-pandemic demands spike across the globe, manufacturers are still struggling to recover, leading to insufficient levels of stock and lengthy delays for businesses everywhere.” says Vogel.
According to The New York Times, these supply chain issues are occurring worldwide thanks to the pandemic, which has disrupted trade and driven up shipping costs and movement of cargo from continent to continent. Pandemic restrictions have also caused staffing shortages including dockworkers and truck drivers, further contributing to delays in handling cargo from Southern California to Singapore.¹
Vice President of the National Federation’s supply chain and custom’s policy Jonathan Gold weighed in on the shortages and delays in the supply chain. “We’re seeing issues with businesses, both big and small, that are having difficulty getting products to the market,” said Gold. “It starts overseas with the foreign factories that were obviously impacted because of the COVID-19 pandemic [sic] and have had issues getting staffed back up to be able to meet the consumer demand that we've seen.”²
While staffing was down, demand was way up at the start of the pandemic with a surge in shipping volume beginning in summer 2020 that only continued to rise through the holiday season and the New Year. Between medical supplies, home office furniture, construction materials and other items consumers sought to adjust to life during COVID-19, retailers and manufacturers found supplies depleted and are still struggling to rebuild inventories and work through the backlogs.³
So what does that mean for you?
Just because shortages and delays are an industry-wide issue doesn’t mean your Sigler team is throwing in the towel – far from it. Our commitment will always be to our customers and ensuring that we do everything we can to make sure you’re as satisfied and happy with your final product as possible.
While there are certain shortages and hold ups that can be unavoidable, here are just a few ways we can help you guarantee your orders.
Early orders encouraged: Sometimes it’s hard to think about Christmas sweaters in the sweltering heat of summer or all the facets of a direct mail marketing campaign, but early ordering is a great way to stay ahead of stock shortages and we’ll be ready to help you strategically plan your order.
Flexibility: In a world where nearly every industry is affected by supply chain challenges, be prepared with back-up options and open to alternative solutions.
Prioritize: Let us know what is most important to you. Is the in-hands date more critical than the brand or style of the item? Is the garment color more important than the brand? Are you open to comparable suggestions? We want to know what matters most to you so we can quickly present a replacement product if one is needed.
Regardless of the challenges presented by these shortages, Sigler will always work with you to navigate these circumstances and ensure you get your orders in-hands and as close to your specifications as possible.