Both parents and students across the country are excitedly preparing for a return to in-person learning for the 2021 back-to-school season, but supply chain volatility and labor shortages across the industry, paired with many getting an early start to shopping for essentials could make the task of stocking coveted items a challenge for suppliers. 

“Parents want to really prepare and be ready,” Lands’ End Chief Executive Officer Jerome Griffith said. “I think your average consumer understands that there’s a supply chain issue in the U.S. based on how quickly the economy has been heating up. They’re shopping earlier to be able to buy what they want.”

With many beginning their shopping early this year, the challenge of planning inventory flow and promotions is increased for retailers, while on the supply side, delays at global ports could contribute to extended product shortages on many high-demand items. The Port of Los Angeles recently logged its busiest month in history, handling more than 1 million shipping containers in May, and is still busy working through backlogs.

“We feel the importer and exporter pain,” says Gene Seroka, executive director of the country’s busiest cargo port. “The impacts that all of this has had is noticeably hurtful to these men and women who are trying to do their jobs in the supply chain.”

Spending is expected to reach $32.5 billion this year, up 16% from 2020 and 17% from 2019, however retailers can only benefit from the strong demand if they prove capable of navigating the challenges. High demand, an extended shopping season, and delays in the supply chain make this back-to-school season a key test of how well the industry has adapted to a consumer landscape reshaped by the pandemic.

With 2 million ELD-connected units and a 98% on-time pickup and delivery rate, Shipwell has the tools you need to streamline your supply chain and limit the impact of these challenges during this critical time of shipping time-sensitive products. From managing carrier flow into distribution centers, to tracking trucks en route to stores across the country, to negotiating port congestion and drayage providers to ensure rapid delivery, Shipwell has everything these businesses need to succeed for a successful back-to-school season this year.

To see how our 3-in-1 solution combines a TMS with advanced visibility capabilities and a robust multi-modal carrier network to keep your supply chain on track click here, or schedule a demo today.

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