The Labor Shortage Meets the Supply Chain Crisis
The supply chain crisis is affecting every industry from construction, to transportation, and to manufacturing. Due to pandemic shutdowns and restrictions, demands for durable and non-durable goods declined, production halted, and countries ceased imports and exports.
As we begin to return to pre-pandemic consumption levels, businesses now struggle to keep up with the demand, and weak links in the supply chain are proving to be disastrous.
Essential Workers are Essentially Gone
Before the pandemic, industries like construction began to realize a shortage in skilled labor resulting in unsafe and illegal labor practices. Shortages in labor are also exacerbating the current supply chain issues. Numerous industries rely on essential workers like transportation, healthcare, public safety, food retail, etc. Jobs that are essential also tend to be roles that require in-person responsibilities that cannot be done remotely. During the Covid age, these jobs carry a higher risk of becoming ill, along with new guidelines that can be a challenge to meet.
The American Psychological Association has found that the stress essential workers experience makes them more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that essential workers are a part of the great resignation, the trend of workers quitting their job during the pandemic. Employers should find ways to support their current employees to prevent them from leaving while actively recruiting new talent. As stated by CNBC, those who are switching jobs are seeing more wage growth, indicating employees want higher wages, more benefits, and better quality of life.
Who’s Driving the Trucks?
Truck drivers are in high demand, and the lack of them is causing further delays. The trucking industry has had issues finding enough workers before the pandemic, but it is worsening. According to the ATA, the shortage of truck drivers will reach an astounding 80,000 this year. The reasons truck drivers are leaving include changes in routine, safety, the pandemic, and retirement. The long hours on the road, being away from family, and being overburdened by more loads are driving people away. While this is a job that tends to pay better than other essential roles, drivers are experiencing increased wait times to pick up unpaid shipments.
So Many Ships, So Little Room
The truck driver situation contributes to overwhelmed ports as fewer shipments offload and leave, preventing the ports from decompressing. Overloaded ports have less room for equipment to move the freight off ships, and when it is moved, there might not be someone available to move it to the next destination. In addition to truck drivers, docks lack sufficient workers to combat the number of shipments arriving, causing a pile-up at multiple ports. Dockworkers are faced with doing the work of multiple people in an attempt to keep up.
Construction is an industry that heavily depends on skilled labor and the transportation and delivery of materials to complete projects. Certain materials like lumber have seen significant price increases, hitting budgets hard and preventing work from finishing on time and within initial budgets.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Just as the pandemic encouraged new ways of working, so must we consider innovative solutions to overcome labor and supply chain disruption.
An average of 30% of materials delivered to a job site ends up in a landfill. With availability at a historic low coupled with rising prices, can we afford to trash our precious commodities?
Industrialized Construction (IC) offers the potential to eliminate this waste with a more modern approach to building. IC employs offsite construction for improved inventory control and utilization of materials. Multiple projects can occur at once in a factory, allowing materials to be repurposed for another job or reused in production and shipping applications instead of thrown away. Fabricating building components in a controlled factory environment also protects materials from exposure and weather-related damage.
Project Frog is an industrialized construction company working over the past 15 years to replace aging infrastructure with sustainable, high-performing buildings faster while overcoming labor shortages and supply chain. Through optimized building components, material sourcing, and a vast network of manufacturers Project Frog is pioneering our way forward and overcoming supply chain and labor constraints.
Adapting and developing new ways of delivering supplies, consumer products, and our built environment will determine our ability to prevail. How are you dealing with the supply chain crisis? Please share your thoughts with us!