The plastics industry has known about supply shortages — and price increases related to supplies — for a few months. The auto industry has also been taking big hits due to the lack of computer chips. Now the general public is finding out more about supply chains and how they impact day-to-day life.
Our sister paper Crain's Detroit Business took a deep dive into the supply issue this week for more of a general business audience. Rather than focusing on polypropylene, reporter Dustin Walsh was able to use high-end imported cheese to make a point.
"The process of ordering a cheese and getting it delivered to [Michigan retailer and restaurant] Zingerman's typically takes a month — a week on the water, a week to unload at the docks on the East Coast and two weeks to get out of the port to the deli's door in Ann Arbor. Today, it's as long as three months," Sean Hartwig, Zingerman's specialty food manager, told Walsh.
Unlike resin, of course, most cheese can't be put into a silo for later use.
"A Brie from France typically has a three-week shelf life once it reaches us, but now those three weeks are consumed in port," Hartwig said.