Overall supply chain issues are not expected to end anytime soon, according to one official in the beverage closure industry.
As senior category manager of North American beverage closures for Coca-Cola Bottlers' Sales and Services Co. LLC, Penny Walter said the disruptions seen during the last 20 months are expected to continue for months ahead.
Her advice: communicate and plan.
"Supply chain challenges are going to be continuing for the foreseeable future. So establishing strong, robust continuity plans is essential," she said during the recent Plastics Caps & Closures 2021 conference organized by Plastics News. "And align with your customers [for] what that looks like."
Companies must hope for the best but be ready for a different outcome to make sure they are ready for whatever supply chain challenges still lie ahead, she said.
"We've been working through this for the last 18 months. How do we plan for the next six?" she asked during her virtual conference presentation. "Hopefully things are going to improve with COVID-19, but we need to prepare for the worst.
"From talking with industry experts and some of my trusted industry connections, I foresee this continuing into at least [the second quarter of] 2022. That's a hard message to hear. For the foreseeable future," Walter said.
A supply chain is just that: a chain. And Walter said any supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. So making sure those links stay strong requires work. That requires communication, collaboration and an understanding of the forces that are placing stress on the system.