Name an industry, any industry. Its supply chain is in a state of disarray because of the novel coronavirus. Whether it’s goods that are in demand and next to impossible to keep in stock, produce going to waste because there’s no one to pick it, or items that suddenly no one has any use for, everything is topsy-turvy. From innovative to devastating to just plain weird, these are the most fascinating supply chain disruptions and possible solutions we’ve seen.
As the coronavirus went from being some faraway thing we heard about in the news to a huge part of our daily lives, people began hoarding certain supplies. Chief among them was toilet paper. Two months later, it's still tough to find a pack, and stores have limits on how much you can buy. Even with restrictions, shelves are quickly cleaned out, and online vendors are often out as well. Crowdsourcing app OurStreets allows users to keep others in their area informed about inventory levels in local stores. Amazon, Target, and Walmart all have in-stock alert functions via their apps or websites that will give a heads-up email or notification when toilet paper or another out-of-stock item comes available. Still, you’ll have to be quick in order to reup before supplies run out.
The disruption is so great that even with food dem mand up, vegetables are being buried and plowed back into the soil. While farmers are donating items that would normally have headed to restaurants or schools, food banks only have so much storage capacity for perishable items. The Dairy Farmers of America estimate nearly 4 million gallons of milk are dumped each day. Meanwhile, small farmers have switched to crops with quick grow cycles to meet the immediate demand at farmers’ markets, and home delivery or pick up produce boxes as part of community-supported agriculture are big with customers doing more home cooking than ever.
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