A backlog of container ships waiting to dock, trucks unable to move inventory, skyrocketing freight costs and labor shortages have all contributed to the country’s supply chain problems.
Local businesses are trying to handle it all as they head into the crucial Christmas shopping season.
The holiday season is big for My Grandma’s of New England Coffee Cake. They mix different flavors, but you won’t find the cappuccino cake this year.
“Cappuccino is made from pure Italian espresso,” says owner Bob Katz. “One of the reasons we had to cut down is that we couldn’t get espresso from overseas.
It’s one of the ingredients you can’t get and we’re not going to use substitutes. “
The company even struggled to get the nutmeg it needed for its pumpkin pie, even though it was from Connecticut.
“We have a truck, we can fetch it, but they didn’t even have the staff in the loading dock to be able to load it where the nutmeg was made,” said Katz.
But he says planning ahead with cans and boxes is in great shape for the holidays.
“Our shipping department is amazing at doing business with these companies early on,” said Katz. “Because when we don’t have boxes, we’re out of business and there have been challenges, they had to change things and do business with people to buy more than we need but whatever it takes. You’re doing an amazing job. “
There’s a lot of honey over at the Boston Honey Company – the jars and lids are the problem.
“This is the jar we use for one of our products, it contains 16 ounces of honey,” said co-owner Addie Reseska.
She has spent hours searching online for dealers who can deliver what she needs.
“The stress is, if you don’t have the container, how do you distribute the product, how can you pay the staff?” asked Reseska. “It’s dripping down on everything. Payroll, distribution, all of that, so it keeps you up at night, a lot of stress, yeah.”
Up in Vermont, the makers of Coombs Family Farms maple syrup tell us that the prices of bottles, caps, labels and cartons have increased and labor is scarce.
Gilette admits the company is facing a challenging landscape, but says his team is working around the clock to ensure customers have access to their toiletries.
Hasbro of Rhode Island said in a recent earnings report that they are working tirelessly to ensure products for the vacation, and Stop & Shop tells us that they are working hard to keep stocks in high demand. Juices, juice boxes, pet food and paper goods are currently hard to find.
It won’t happen in time for the holidays, but a supply chain expert says the sales bottleneck will eventually resolve.
“Retailers and manufacturers can’t deliver if they don’t,” said Lauren Beitelspacher, associate professor in the Marketing Department at Babson College. “There will be community and government intervention to move this forward. Buying and selling goods for consumer use is a critical part of our economy. So there is a huge incentive to educate and move this forward.”
Some expert tips this holiday season – don’t wait until the last minute. Whether you are shopping for gifts, groceries, or housewares, when you see and need it, buy it. You may not get the best deal, but otherwise you may not get the product at all.