Is America’s Glow-Up Causing a Supply Chain Shortage?
The U.S. is experiencing a big glow-up. What’s a glow-up, you ask? It’s when a person goes through a transformation of any type and is feeling better about themselves physically, emotionally or mentally.
With vaccinations on the rise and more people re-entering public life, we’re seeing an incredible boom in personal care products, like teeth whitener, deodorant and make-up. Whether it’s a return to the office or a night back in the clubs — the masks are coming off and the lipstick is going on!
But here at Blue Yonder, we like to ask the tough questions that maybe nobody else is asking: Is America’s glow-up causing a supply chain shortage? Is teeth whitener the new toilet paper?
The answer is… it depends.
With consumer packaged goods (CPG) like toilet paper, the issue wasn’t initially an actual shortage — it was a problem with the form factor. In other words, we had too much TP that was packaged and rolled for offices, restaurants and retail shops and not enough packaged for people’s homes. Add onto this a stockpiling mentality in the early days of the crisis, and what was initially a shift in demand between packaging types became a true shortage at the shelf that lasted for months.
A bit under the radar, this same challenge played out in many less visible ways. Ketchup, for example, that used to be packaged for restaurant kitchens was now needed in to-go packets. Corn that was grown and headed for gas tanks as ethanol was suddenly needed instead for breakfast cereal or animal feed. Bananas that were on boats and packaged as individual units for commissaries and cafes were now needed in bunches for home use. And the list goes on.
With beauty and personal care products though, we may not see the same supply chain problems. These CPG items weren’t necessarily in the wrong form; they were always made for individual consumer use and are waiting in warehouses, ready to ship. But with parts of the world reopening almost as fast as they shut down, there are certain to be both demand and supply disruptions.
The only way a brand, retailer or CPG manufacturer can truly prepare for the next pandemic hot item is to create a supply chain that senses and responds to actual trends in the market, not simply using historic data like yesterday’s manufacturers and retailers. Today’s autonomous supply chains use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to predict and pivot their manufacturing, ordering and shipping — getting the right amount of teeth whitener to the right places, just in time for your next night out.
To learn out more about America’s big glow-up and how it affects the supply chain, check out our LinkedIn Live with Jim Hull, Blue Yonder’s Senior Industry Strategies Director: click here.