Supply issues are continuing to dominate the economic outlook for global businesses, with issues related to shipping continuing to add to earlier shortages of materials.
And some top executives are warning disruptions are likely to linger.
"We think the supply constraints will last," Marc Bitzer, chairman and CEO of Whirlpool Corp., said during a July 22 conference call with analysts. "The supply constraints are fundamentally driven by similar elements as we've seen in prior quarters. ... Fundamentally we talk about three issues: labor shortages; broader component shortages because other suppliers also have labor shortages; and thirdly, very specifically, resins because of the Texas storm and semiconductors. These are the fundamental sources."
The first quarter of 2021 was hit more strongly by resin and labor shortages, he said. In the second quarter, it was the rising shortages of semiconductors. Labor shortages "are increasingly manageable" as companies adapt, he added.
"I understand that everybody hopes for a new normal to be next quarter. It's not going to be. So this environment in which we are right now successfully operating will be around us for a lot longer than most people assume," Bitzer said. "In our specific case, and I hope you have seen this on, our new normal will look very different from a previous normal because we've taken structural fixed cost actions, consumer preferences have shifted, certain business models around e-commerce.
"Our new normal will be not comparable to the pre-COVID normal," he said.