Back to School Looks Different for Supply Chains This Year
Fall is approaching and with it comes back to school season. However, Covid-19 has left the 2020-2021 academic year looking different than previous ones. School districts throughout the U.S. are deciding between in-person, online or a mix of the two instruction styles for their students. Many of the country’s major K-12 schooling systems including Los Angeles, San Diego and Chicago have chosen to move forward with a remote learning environment. With so many districts expected to follow their lead, companies manufacturing products considered essential for a successful online learning experience are scrambling to keep up with heightened demand.
Preparing for the unpredictability of the school year has proven itself costly. According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school spending will increase by 26% in comparison to last year. Families with children attending K-12 plan to spend an average $789.49 per family, while college students and their families expect to spend an average $1,09.20 per family. Additionally, 55% of families expressed that they’d be shopping online for back-to-school items rather than in person.
The most essential back-to-school item every student needs for online learning is a laptop. Three of the world’s biggest computer companies, Lenovo, HP, and Dell, have reported a shortage of nearly five million laptops. Schools purchasing electronics in bulk for students started to experience shipment delays in the spring. Setbacks worsened as the pandemic continued to spread. A combination of increased demand and supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19 have made it challenging for these companies to prepare themselves for back to school season.
Accessories like wireless headphones, microphones and monitors are also experiencing an increase in consumer demand. Many students have traded in their concerns about the first day of school outfits for ones about the proper desk setup and gadgets to have the best video call possible.
Adjusting to New Shopping Patterns
Manufacturers, distributors and retailers of electronics and other office products have their work cut out for them this fall. Products that may have previously been considered optional on back-to-school shopping lists are a necessity for those starting their school year at home. Clothing stores dependent on students shopping for their first day of school outfits are trying to stay on trend and produce more loungewear.
A successful supply chain must be able to adapt to changes regardless of how unexpected they are. The best way to stay on top of things is to leverage technology like Kuebix TMS. With Kuebix TMS, users have visibility throughout their transportation supply chains and can adapt to last minute changes by leveraging the built-in truckload spot market, Kuebix Community Load Match.
Being aware of details regarding shipment location and order information helps companies stay prepared. Users are able to automate manual processes and allocate the time saved to more sensitive areas of their supply chains and improve customer service. Detailed reports and analytics serve as feedback for companies by helping them identify potential opportunities for improvements and strengths. A transportation management system strengthens logistics operations as a whole, making it easier for companies to handle any fluctuations in demand the school year brings!