Analysis: Supply chain snarl-up – how retailers can smooth out the kinks

Lorries queueing Dover

Any time, any place, anywhere. Retail has pretty much lived by the Martini mantra for decades now as an ever more sleek and adaptable supply chain has enabled consumers to benefit from an abundance of goods always on the shelf, whether digital or in-store.

But over the last year, the nuts and bolts of that well-oiled machine have been buckling and breaking under the strain as pressures have built up. 

There were problems that seemed like hangovers from the 19th century, such as the blockage last spring of the Suez canal.

Then there were shortages of vital components such as computer chips as the Covid crisis disrupted manufacturing and supply across the globe, delays at ports as ships queued up for entry, and surging freight prices as retailers were forced to pay top dollar for limited slots.

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