Navigating supply issues while holiday shopping

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC0)—Cyber Monday is peak season for manufacturers and distributors, and retailers have braced for pandemic-related supply chain issues.

Local experts tell News10NBC, that despite the issue, your favorite retailers have been able to figure out ways around delays. If you time it right, you’ll have ordered gifts under your tree in no time, but understanding the road your package travels to get to you is important.

Here’s what you need to know.

When COVID first hit, people had no choice but to stay home. It in turn, made many more comfortable with the idea of shopping online.

"Particularly with this Black Friday, and holiday season there have been supply chain issues that started over the summer but have rippled into what we’re seeing now,” said Steven Carnovale, a supply chain management expert who teaches at Saunders College of Business, at Rochester Institute of Technology.

What we’re seeing now is that ripple effect, Carnovale mentioned. As COVID forced businesses to start shutting down, "cycles in consumption" started happening. People were buying products to satisfy their needs at home.

"The first thing that we saw that was kind of unexpected were beard trimmers and hair clippers because barber shops were closed and people needed to do it themselves, then we moved into the spring and summer season so chlorine tablets and pool supplies,” Carnovale added.

The key word here is “capacity". Carnovale says, there just aren’t enough people or resources to satisfy the demand. When you order something, it gets to your doorstep through multiple channels. So, the trains, cargo ships, then workers to unload and store it, then truckers transporting it. All of those channels are facing staffing shortages right now.

"Supply chains have been, despite the chaos, exceptionally resilient and I think if we continue the pattern that we have been and setting expectations, things will get better but it will be that new normal that everyone is talking about,” Carnovale said.

For all of you last-minute shoppers, which isn’t a bad thing, shopping in person will be better than gambling with a delivery. But, retailers have been prepping for a while so what you need, could very well be on the shelf.