The supply chain crisis and the Devon economy

“It is part of a wider message about the ways in which Britain and the wider world might eventually emerge from its supply chain crisis – a hybrid of both localised and globalised production, of higher wages, moderated profits and green tech.”

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What sort of effect will national supply chain issues have on local economies?

“If the ‘just in time’ model is failing everywhere because of both manufacturing and transport shortages, are we going to go back to earlier ways of trading or devise something new?”
“Helping shorter supply chains to survive and thrive will make our food system more resilient and sustainable.”
As the UK’s lockdown took effect, wholesalers, distributors and even farmers denied a market for their goods rapidly adopted new ways of trading, including home delivery and click-and-collect.

Could shortening supply chains be an opportunity for local economies? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And what about the shortage of ‘key workers’?

“Those working in the sectors which are facing shortages now were applauded as essential workers a year ago.”

Valuing our key workers – Vision Group for Sidmouth

A long piece in today’s i-news looks at the issues besetting our economy in a very real way;

From empty fuel tanks to rotting cauliflowers, Britain is learning the risks of its “just in time” supply model

There is the forlorn presence of 1.5 million cauliflowers left unpicked in fields around Fife; a global dearth of PVC which means tamper-proof lids for medicines or chemicals could soon be in short supply; and the unsung lack of multilayer ceramic capacitors – tiny hi-tech components the size of a rice grain – vital to the UK’s nascent electric vehicle industry. And drinks maker AG Barr warned last week that a shortage of aluminium cans is one of the factors affecting interruption to supplies of the carbonated soft drink Irn-Bru…Together, they tell the story of a multifaceted upheaval to the supply chain – an ecosystem of transactions and relationships upon which modern, globalised life relies and yet goes unseen until it starts to go wrong. The present problems have their roots in a bewilderingly complex logistical logjam with diverse ingredients – ranging from the rocketing price of bringing a 40ft cargo container from China to Felixstowe, to the lack of predominantly Eastern European crop pickers who have been relied upon for decades to get the produce from fields to shop shelves.

The result, as Britons have experienced in recent weeks, is a devil’s brew of disruptions, with causes that encompass the geopolitical ripples of the pandemic and Brexit to long-standing weaknesses and idiosyncrasies in both the global and the domestic economy. It is part of a wider message about the ways in which Britain and the wider world might eventually emerge from its supply chain crisis – a hybrid of both localised and globalised production, of higher wages, moderated profits and green tech.

Petrol queues, food shortages and Brexit: How Britain’s supply chains broke

As reported as long ago last month by Devon Live:

Supply chain crisis predicted to slow down UK economic growth – Devon Live

Indeed, it’s also having its effect on the Devon economy and way of life – as reported this week:

Britain’s Christmas Lament: Meat Shortages and Delivery Delays

James MacGregor, the general manager at Riverford, an organic food company based in Devon, England, said he was short of about 40 workers, or about 16 percent of the company. Butchers have been particularly hard to find, he said. To cope with the shortages, Riverford will likely offer fewer products for sale around Christmas. “It feels like we’re staring down the barrel of a gun a little bit at the moment,” Mr. MacGregor said. “It’s highly likely if we don’t see movement in terms of fuel and labor, we will ultimately end up passing some of this cost on to the consumer.”

U.K. Braces for a Difficult Holiday Season Due to Shortages – The New York Times

Tidal wave of chaos engulfs global supply chains

When the BF Cartagena lifts anchor in Amsterdam today, few will be watching the progress of the cargo ship as closely as Jason Parnell. His order of 600 paddleboards is scheduled to be on the 100-metre-long ship, which is due to berth tomorrow in Tilbury. But the buying director of Devon-based retailer Trail Outdoor Leisure will not be holding his breath. The 35-year-old has already had an agonising four-month delay for this order from a Chinese factory to arrive on Britain’s shores. The paddleboards were ordered last year in time to arrive for peak summer demand in July, but the online retailer suffered seven ill-fated attempts even to get them on to a ship in Shanghai. They eventually arrived at Rotterdam just over a week ago…

Tidal wave of chaos engulfs global supply chains | Business | The Sunday Times

Worker crisis threatening the future of business in South West

Businesses in the South West desperately need a roadmap out of the current labour crisis with a clear plan for the future of our workforce or the region’s key sectors may suffer irreparable damage, says the British Chambers of Commerce South West (BCCSW). The organisation, which represents thousands of companies in the South West, says the Government’s plan to provide temporary visas for drivers and food workers is welcome but simply a short-term measure when a long-term plan is needed to match the ambition for a more domestic workforce.

The South West is home to some of the UK’s biggest food producers as well as key ports and haulage industries. These companies literally help keep the country running and their very existence is under long-term threat because of a lack of planning, BCCSW leaders say.

Worker crisis threatening the future of business in South West – Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce

   
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