The scariest Halloween story of the year began months ahead of the holiday, and it didn’t start with a ghost or ghoul — instead, it started with a supply chain. In July of 2022, news outlets reported that due to high consumer demand for its everyday chocolates and candy products, Hershey would fall short on production of its Halloween favorites, leaving much to be desired as costumed kids headed out en masse to trick-or-treat come October. The news sent chills down the spines of their parents, kindly neighbors, and candy lovers of all ages who have eagerly awaited the first full-fledged Halloween celebration since 2019.
The problem reportedly began with a supply chain issue resulting from Russia’s war on Ukraine. According to Hershey, the conflict has made raw ingredients such as cocoa and culinary oil increasingly difficult to acquire. Meanwhile, to compound the pressures Hershey was facing, candy manufacturers as a whole have seen a steep increase in sales over the course of the pandemic, with last year’s chocolate and candy sales increasing by 11% compared to 2020 and by more than 15% compared to 2019, and according to a report by the National Confectioners Association, even more growth over the course of 2022 and several years to come.
Fortunately, company leaders at Hershey, including CEO Michele Buck, realized early in 2022 that they needed to change procurement and manufacturing strategies. The company sourced alternative raw materials and, starting in April, increased production of all candy, including Halloween and other seasonal sweet treats. As of today, these moves are paying off as Hershey is well prepared for record sales with a stockpile of candy ready to satiate supermarket inventories, jack o’lantern baskets, and sweet tooths. Thanks to the nimble change in course by Hershey’s management, this near crisis was successfully averted, and Halloween will not be haunted by a candy shortage this year.
However, while the candy supply seems to be safe for now, supply chain issues caused by the lingering effects of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, severe labor shortages, high fuel prices, and low agricultural yields due to climate change and severe weather events have still threatened a variety of other beloved and necessary consumer products over the course of this year. The long list of items to see shortages in 2022 includes baby formula, garage doors, chlorine, avocados, ingredients used to make beer, and even toilet paper (yes, again). This list grows and morphs in seemingly unpredictable ways, having a domino effect that reverberates throughout the entire economy.
Of course, not everyone has access to the level of resources to pivot sourcing, production, distribution, and stockpiling in the way that multibillion-dollar global enterprises like Hershey managed to accomplish. For others, it all comes down to being able to manage the supply chain proactively in the face of this increasingly difficult-to-predict market, which is why smart business leaders are always looking to focus on the factors they can exert some control over. For example, many businesses and suppliers have turned to inshoring — local production — which requires a stronger focus on the domestic supply chain. Another key strategy is the optimization of load and route efficiency, which becomes even more of a priority when fuel prices are skyrocketing. Keeping the costs of consumer goods down is also crucial, especially when customers are feeling the pain of high gas prices and rampant inflation. There’s also the critical piece of proactive exception management that comes into play when we’re seeing increased disruptions and delays across the market.
Luckily, there are effective ways for companies to make improvements in all of these areas — they just need the right tools.
Shipwell’s 3-in-1 solution goes the extra mile plus a few more to ensure that any business can quickly respond to issues as they arise. Whether it be a shortage in a key ingredient or a sudden wildfire blocking long-planned truck routes, our intuitive toolbox is designed to anticipate disruptions and make agile course corrections that save you time and money while keeping your customers satisfied.
When your business experiences heightened demand, you can count on Shipwell’s automated Load Optimization to plan the most efficient loads and routes available, so you get more products shipped out while using fewer trucks and traveling fewer miles. Instead of an individual or team in your logistics department dealing with the headache of manual processes required by the use of third-party software or spreadsheets, they’ll have everything they need to quickly optimize any load without ever leaving Shipwell’s cutting-edge platform.
Another top feature that keeps shipments moving regardless of new challenges is Shipwell’s integrated nationwide network. You’ll gain instant capacity across modes to find reputable carriers quickly. You’ll never get stuck waiting or scrambling at the last minute for subpar carriers again. This feature also means that you’ll have full visibility over the course of the shipment lifecycle — made possible by leading ELD providers, real-time location data, and responsive ETAs — meaning you effectively eliminate the blind spots in your supply chain.
Shipwell’s Pricing Intelligence is a feature that uses aggregated data from industry-wide rates to provide you with the best up-to-date numbers at every step in your process. You’ll be able to manage complex variables to make sure that saving money and passing those savings onto your customers stays within your reach, so you can stay competitive. Pricing intelligence takes the guesswork and uncertainty out of your pricing decisions by allowing you to view forecasts showing both company-personalized and market rates for 14 days into the future. You’ll be empowered to set accurate targets, scale decisively, and quickly adapt to market fluctuations.
For more information on how Shipwell can help you to increase the resilience of your supply chain and prevent disruption, schedule a demo today.