Covid Highlights Supply Chain Issues Overseas: Explanation & Solutions

Cargo Ship in Closed Port
Cargo ship with plenty of items loaded for exporting.

All your favorite promotional product companies are urging you to place your order early but why? In this brief article, we give an explanation of the madness and some market solutions.

Explanation

The pandemic continues to create chaos in our world and industries. The promotional marketing industry has been warned for a couple of months now that new surges in Covid-19 in China and other Asian countries have caused the port closure of Ningbo-Zhoushan. China’s zero-tolerance policy for Covid means that they will do anything to contain and stop the spread of Covid. The port closure makes sense from a public health policy but for its overseas business partners, this policy is creating issues. This port issue will affect everyday business owners trying to purchase promotional items and other merchandise overseas.

Other important manufacturing countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand are experiencing low inoculation rates and thus experiencing significant slowdowns in production. Most Western countries have been permitted the great privilege of getting vaccinates but this hasn’t been the case for many eastern Asian countries where vaccines are still being distributed. Shipping container prices are increasing at an alarming rate. According to the Advertising Specialty Institute, the price of a shipping container has surpassed $20,000. Limits are being put on how many containers can be shipped on a weekly basis. So far, these issues have caused many distributors to lose orders with end clients. 

Solutions

While many businesses struggle with figuring out how to deal with these issues, some are looking at improving supply chains so that shortage issues are no longer an issue in the future. The Rapid Import model program developed by the Philadelphia-based Pop! Promo is a resilient program that has been helpful in dealing with pandemic supply chain obstacles. This supply chain program differs from the norm because it invests in a backup. This process relies on having redundant manufacturers for items and having those locations be capable of start to finish production.

This includes production and finishes that many companies have traditionally only done in the US. Once the items are completed overseas this supply allows the completed stock to fly over the U.S for distribution. Flying product over bypasses port issues, container unavailability, and even U.S labor shortages. Additionally, because many of these factories are in growing countries, business here helps support a truly needy population. Developing products from start to finish and requiring a bigger workforce and encourages more economic activity in the country. 

This supply chain is not the norm and was instituted prior to the pandemic. This has given Pop! Promo is a huge advantage. It is clear that these changes would not be made as efficiently during the height of the pandemic. Still, it is a good enough idea for other promotional goods distributors to explore and investigate after getting through the current hiatus. 

Global Supply Chain Graphic
Graphic representation of the global supply chain

Conclusion

Although it is hard to know what the future holds,  preventative measures and investments can pay off greatly. This remains the same across most industries and business sizes. If your business is looking to order any kind of promotional item for the holiday season, keep this information disclosed in this email in mind! AnyPromo believes in offering transparency in what’s going on in the industry. We understand that making urgent claims without proper explanation can appear dishonest and confusing. Thinking ahead about your business needs this holiday will ensure that you will experience much fewer obstacles in the future months to come. While there might be some companies with inventory in stock, know that your options are far. Your options are far greater thinking ahead than looking last minute for available inventory. 

Here is a quick video from ASI explaining this issue: https://twitter.com/ChrisR_ASI/status/1402226138081079304?s=20


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