NYT Breaks Down the Supply Chain Breakdown

Leave it to The NY Times to come up with a simple and informative interactive flowchart as to why there is an insane problem with manufacturing everything right now. The genius in the feature is how it starts simple. The pandemic hit. Companies, seeing a small dip as the tip of the iceberg, decided to go into crisis mode. They slowed production of the goods they manufacture and also laid off tons of their workforce.

These turned out to be critical mistakes. The supply chain is still screwed up from these moves. Instead of conserving their businesses thinking commerce would stop, something different happened. People shifted to online shopping and investing in hobbies. Everyone who got into baking bread, interior design, setting up their ideal home office, or any other pandemic endeavor did some shopping for it. Families who'd saved up for expensive vacations directed those funds towards Amazon and other companies simply to keep themselves and their learning-at-home kids sane during a lockdown. Cash was spent, but differently.

The breakdown of the entire supply chain can be traced back to these first two decisions. Because everything is so interconnected, the dominoes were set into motion. The interactive infographic is short, but fascinating. We can still blame a lack of trucks & trucking, but there is a fundamental shortage of basic goods used to make, well, everything.

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