Everywhere you look, the story is the same: businesses with empty shelves, online stores with page after page of items saying, “out of stock”, and calls with managers apologizing because their deliveries have been delayed due to shipping crates being stuck at one port or another. The world is waiting as the jaws of a massive supply crunch close slowly around its neck.

The reasons for this are many and manifest in different forms. In China, the manufacturing hub of the planet, factories and ports regularly shut down for weeks at a time if workers become infected with COVID-19. In the western world, there are simply not enough trucks and truckers to move shipping crates from the ports to where they need to go.

This latter problem is compounded by the fact that new trucks themselves are unavailable due to shortages in their supply chain: new parts, including computer chips that depend on semiconductors which are now in notoriously short supply, are simply not available. One problem compounds another, creating a devastating chain of events that may spell deep economic problems for the world in the future.

Since the west began outsourcing most of its production to other countries in the latter half of the 20th century, this had been a major concern the world over. The first major red flag in the globalization process was the oil crisis in the 1970’s – though that was planned, and the U.S. solved that problem through a judicial application of threats and diplomacy.

The current supply problem, however, is much more complex and not a result of real politic. The only thing that may ease the issues is the complete abolition of COVID-19 prevention measures, and most countries that do our manufacturing for us appear unwilling to potentially risk the health of their citizens to accommodate our need to consume.

Many experts think that the current problems will most likely hold until 2022 to 2023 in the best case, though with problems compounding other problems, many are worried that it will last even longer. With this in mind, what is an average citizen in the west to do?

In most cases, tightening the belt and preparing for long periods in which you cannot replace the goods you currently have is the only option you have. Get to know local repair and refurbishment shops in your area – they may be a lifesaver if an important item becomes damaged or nonfunctional.

Some businesses have been able to adapt a little better to current conditions, however. Creative Office Design, for example, is still able to provide new and growing businesses with new cubicles in Los Angeles through their Quickship program due to proper foresight and planning since the beginning of the COVID nightmare.

Tough times are ahead for many, so if you even think your business needs new furniture, start acting now. Creative has plenty in stock, but with so few shelters in the storm, who knows how long it will last.

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Creative Office Supply