Why COVID-19 has impacted supply chains and shipping times
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how the world works, especially with supply chain delays and interruptions in the beauty industry. Unfortunately these delays are out of our control, and they stem from a whole list of reasons rather than simply “shipping delays”.
Here are the main issues we’ve been facing, their causes, and how we’re managing them. These may be helpful to pass along to your customers, too, if you’re having stock issues with your own inventory.
Ways COVID-19 is Impacting Production and Shipping
- Production and harvesting have slowed down to accommodate safety measures. From ingredient harvesting to factory production of bottles, safety measures are slowing output around the globe. Many farms and factories rely on people working in close physical proximity and the presence of COVID-19 is altering these usually efficient processes. This is also affecting packaging, leading to a shortage or packaging itself and occasional difficulties putting finished goods into containers that haven’t arrived yet.
- Less is being produced and it takes longer to get to its destination. Staff limitations at each stage of production mean that fewer goods are being produced, and thus fewer goods are making it to their usual destinations. Because shipping companies are facing the same staffing and distancing challenges, what is being shipped is simply taking longer to arrive.
- Harder to staff shipping companies. Like farms and manufacturers, shipping companies are also altering how they staff their warehouses and vehicles. Spacing and travel restrictions have significantly reduced the usual speeds of virtually every shipping service across the globe.
- Understaffed and under-serviced customs and drayage. When goods do finally make it to their end destination, or destination country, receiving systems such as customs or drayage are also understaffed. This adds more unpredictable time to delays.
- More people are buying online, so the shipping companies are busier than usual. All of the delays mentioned above are exacerbated by a large increase in online orders. As people shifted away from in-person buying in March of this year almost every form of online sales increased, leaving understaffed shipping companies to handle more shipments than ever before.
What Essential is Doing
At Essential we’re doing our best to order ahead and incorporate longer lead times for certain ingredients and packaging. We are also continuing and, in some cases, increasing our bulk orders to secure needed ingredients.
We are in daily contact with UPS and other carriers and strive to keep you abreast of any major updates in their service. However, there’s less visibility into shipping times and routes, and we’ve found that guaranteed delivery times are no longer guaranteed.
It’s a frustrating situation for us and more importantly you, our customers. Delays are creeping up whenever the transport of goods is involved, and we hope you and your customers understand that we’re working hard to accommodate recent changes.
Additionally, we’ve had to find alternative packaging and ingredients in some cases, and have appreciated your patience as we all adapt to changing circumstances.
At Essential we’re lucky enough to have experienced and very careful staff, a spacious facility to maintain social distance and hygiene best practices, and we are committed to delivering the same high standard of premium skin and hair care that you rely on. In general you can expect that products will arrive in a reasonably timely manner–we’re still making and shipping products and find that the turnaround times are currently pretty good.
We’re here to support you, and thank you for supporting us!