After a year in which the transportation industry was devastated by the pandemic, there is much to look forward to in 2021. Most industries have opened back up to pre-pandemic levels, and the freight market has improved greatly, allowing carriers to keep their trucks full and make up for lost revenue.
However, there are still parts of the supply chain that are recovering from the effects of COVID-19. Certain industries lost nearly a year of manufacturing, so they are rushing to make it up. This has led to a shortage of resources in some vital sectors. This isn’t inherently bad for the economy, but it makes for some interesting challenges that require creative solutions. Such as having a truck road service from a trusted company.
As the economy opened back up after COVID-19 shutdowns, the automobile and truck manufacturing industries bounced back faster than expected. Many manufacturers cancelled semiconductor orders early in 2020 and didn’t think to reschedule them for later in the year.
With reduced demand for automobile chips, semiconductor manufacturers focused their production on other sectors, such as consumer electronics and home appliances. So, when the automobile and truck sectors experienced an accelerated bounce back, they did not have the resources to keep up with demand.
Semiconductors are complicated and require a lot of time to manufacture. Plants cannot simply increase their production numbers if they receive unexpected orders suddenly. This means that car and truck manufacturers have extended wait times when they place their orders, leading to shortages in their own industries.
The semiconductor industry isn’t the only one that’s been hit with supply chain woes. The lumber industry has seen its highest demand in years, leading to a worldwide shortage. As people bought houses in droves during the pandemic, lumber was needed to accommodate new builds and renovations. In similar fashion to the semiconductor industry, lumber companies expected a slowdown in demand rather than a boom.
With prices for lumber quadrupling in recent months, the trailer manufacturing industry has been hit hard. In addition to the challenges to simply procure the materials for wooden floors, these manufacturers must now deal with massive increases in costs. While having more demand is a good thing, this is putting strain on manufacturers who are having trouble fulfilling orders for their customers while dealing with lower profit margins.
Both the semiconductor and lumber industries are aware of the supply chain backlog that the current situation is creating. One positive aspect is that the increased demand may create new jobs as factories push to manufacture more product. However, it is difficult to say if supply will keep up with demand by the end of the year.
In the meantime, the truck and trailer shortage will lead to tightened capacity across the country, so both manufacturers and carriers should be prepared for longer turnaround times and increased rates. Planning supply chain operations ahead of time is of utmost importance in order to maintain a competitive advantage.