A bandage on a person’s thumb. Driving Recovery

The answer varies wildly.

Basically, it depends on whom you speak with and what kind of business they are in and if they are able to drive recovery and growth.

The Good News

The good news is that companies and enterprises of all stripes have re-opened are starting to drive recovery and growth.

Of course, there were those that didn’t survive, those that closed their door for good, and those that did not have sufficient cash reserves to weather the COVID storm. Mostly, the casualties were small, local businesses.

Still, a large majority made it through to the other side.

The Bad News

Sadly, what we know for sure is: It is not over yet. And with few exceptions, businesses are still being impacted by staffing shortages and supply chain disruptions which are causing issues with being able to drive recovery and growth. Both of which we will delve into below.

Let us first look at the status of staffing shortages.

Staffing Issues

Across the board, from restaurants to tech companies, from retailers to wholesalers, from pharmacies to dry cleaners, companies are still experiencing several kinds of staffing shortages – short-term, long-term, and intermittent.

Long-Term Staffing Issues

Technology companies have been experiencing staffing issues for as long as I can remember, long before the pandemic. Why? Quite simply, the number of people with the technical skillsets required has long been smaller than the number of people tech companies were, and still are, seeking to hire.

And then came the pandemic, further exacerbating that situation. The statistics are sobering, and they paint a picture of long-term repercussions. As a nation, we have lost more than a million people. And we continue to lose more than 300 every day. More than 89 million Americans have contracted COVID, and that number is increasing by more than 121,000 every day.

89 million Americans have contracted COVID BannerSo, if you were to ask the CEO, the CFO, the CIO, or the HR Director of a technology company whether they have fully recovered from COVID-19 setbacks, the answer would be: No.

Short-Term Staffing Issues

UPS is an excellent example of a company with short-term staffing issues. Every year, UPS hires thousands of seasonal workers in order to meet holiday demands, starting around Thanksgiving (when online Christmas shopping starts to peak) and running through to the end of January (when returns and exchanges finally go back to normal levels).

The pandemic impacted UPS in two ways. First, online shopping increased meteorically because most retail stores were shuttered. And second, UPS then had to hire all the more seasonal workers at a time when most of the country was sheltering n place.

Intermittent Staffing Issues

This is the most common staffing issue and the easiest to explain. Simply stated, intermittent staffing issues occur when employees test positive for Covid and cannot come to work for ten or more days. The remaining employees have to step up to the plate, but even so, appointments need to be rescheduled, assignments need to be rearranged, and some shifts may have to be cancelled altogether.

How are companies coping?

We are seeing a resurgence of job fairs. We are witnessing “We Are Hiring” signs in windows but also inside stores and offices. Post Offices, for example, have brochures and application forms displayed on counters. They also periodically have tables set up outside, where you can chat with Post Office employees and pick up those glossy brochures and forms.

We are hiringJob sites such as Monster are proliferating. Many are offering signing and/or referral incentives. Other companies are contracting with Temporary Staffing Agencies and professional headhunters. Still, other companies are dropping some or all of their minimum requirements instead of offering training.

Companies are getting creative with inducements such as swing shifts and shorter shifts, on-site daycare or daycare allowances, extended maternity leave, and paternity leave.

Let us now look at the status of supply chain disruptions.

Supply Chain Issues

While staffing is a critical issue for every enterprise on the planet, supply chain disruptions directly impact only specific sectors but then have a ripple effect – you might call it a trickledown effect – on every industry. For example, freight rate increases directly impact importers but trickle down to the price of goods on store shelves, thereby affecting everyone.

Manufacturers are particularly hard hit, not just due to land and sea freight rate increases but also due to shipping delays. When any component that a manufacturer is waiting for is delayed, the entire shop floor may have to shut down. Factory workers then have to be temporarily laid off.

In some countries, such as Thailand, producers have long waits even to get their containers onto a ship. And then those ships have long wait times to enter posts of entry in the U.S.

But it does not end there because there are further delays for offloading the containers once in the port. Meanwhile, truckers willing to take the shipment to the warehouses are idling outside of the port on long lines. And oh, by the way, the importer pays for idle time.

I think you would agree that it is easy to see where price increases stem from.

How are importers coping?

Not well. Every facet of supply chain disruption – the delays, the prices, everything – is beyond their control. In many cases, importers are bringing in products at a loss. Breaking even could be good news. Back in September, almost a year ago, the thinking was that these disruptions would ease by the end of 2021. That did not happen.

Strategic Systems Group

As a technology company based in California, Strategic Systems Group (SSG) has been at the epicenter of the Pandemic because California has sadly ranked the highest in the country for both confirmed cases (10.4 million) and Covid-related deaths (93,000).

What’s more, as a technology company, we have always experienced the same staffing issues that everyone in the technology sector has suffered. We have, however, always dealt with the problem one way or another; hard work and long hours are a panacea.

Furthermore, with our large base of clients in the manufacturing sector, we are keenly aware that our manufacturing clients have been hard hit by the supply chain disruptions we discussed above. And we work with them to find solutions.

Take the next step

We would love to hear from you about your experiences with staffing and/or supply chain issues are you’re able to drive recovery and growth. Call Strategic Systems Group (SSG) at (310) 539-4645 or reach out via our contact form today!

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