Article by Marie Plourde… Staff Writer

In the last couple of years, our society has changed from a “just-in-case” system to a “just-in-time” system. In the past, suppliers would order extra goods in case they received a sudden influx of buyers. Many of these extra goods would go to waste, as people only purchased from them when they needed their products. The companies saw this and recognized that they could do the same thing that consumers were doing. Instead of ordering extra goods just in case, they began to utilize the fantastic system of the modern supply chain, receiving their order only a day after placing it. When speaking with Carl Gould, a worldwide leading authority on business, he described it as a “brilliant system, yet a very fragile one.” Today we are seeing just how fragile it is.

There are shortages in the goods available to us because of the domino effect of a couple of degrading links of the supply chain. In just the United States alone, there is a shortage of 250,000 truck drivers. This means that the transportation of every single item has drastically slowed, from raw materials to finished products ready to hit the shelves, the expected delivery time has increased to something that is simply not manageable. The new “just-in-time” system no longer works the way it is supposed and business owners cannot afford to go back to the way things were. The new system is designed to save money and without it, many small businesses are in jeopardy.

In one year anywhere from 100 to 1000 businesses start-up and continue to grow. With the supply chain shortages and the market being in the hands of the employee rather than the employer, business owners are in trouble. Right now, the more an employee challenges themselves — by continuing to increase their skill set outside of the job and receiving certificates for completing programs — the more lucrative their opportunities are. By making themselves indispensable, they can ask for more of their employer, and their employer is more than willing to comply. They are looking for people just like them and are willing to give a little to keep them because the bottom line right now is that without employees their business goes under.

“At the end of the day, a business has to fulfill customers,” Mr. Gould said, in defense of companies hiring extra workers in preparation for the number of them that will inevitably leave. If an employee decides not to show up to work one day, then there is no product that day, simple as that. The employee didn’t lose anything in that exchange besides a day worth of pay but the business lost out on crucial customers and revenue. By over-hiring, the company is protecting themselves as “60-80% of somebody’s net worth is tied to their business; it HAS to work for them.” This behavior of hopping between jobs and quitting ones as soon as it becomes more demanding may seem impolite and in poor taste, and it is, but it is not their fault.

It is no secret that we live in a world governed by cancel culture. We have grown used to being able to try something and return it immediately if we do not find it up to our standards. Two hours of people’s lives have been given back to them due to the pandemic. They have been trained to work remotely and have grown used to a life where they don’t spend two hours in commute to and from the office. Many people have picked up a new hobby thanks to these extra hours and others — 56 million Americans — have chosen to be freelancers rather than a company worker. Out of the entire workforce, 2 million people admitted that they also work freelance projects on top of their day job. That’s ⅓ of the workforce doing freelance work; 58 million Americans who are still working from home as their own company and employer.

The reason why a lot of Americans are turning to freelance work and demanding more from their minimum wage jobs is because there are fewer jobs. The service industry found that it is cheaper for them to invest in automating their businesses than it is to pay their employees the ever-increasing minimum wage. By inserting low-risk electronics like kiosks into the structure, these companies are shrinking the number of workers that run the storefront. Not only that, but due to the pandemic displacing people into their homes, employers have realized that they can pay less for the same work in different countries.

It is in these different countries like China where all our shipments are backed up. In a year the number of people working in other countries has increased while ours has decreased. We can’t distribute the influx of items fast enough anymore; the fragile system is weighed down by the massive build-up of goods and strained by the lack of truck drivers. As a consumer, the weakened supply chain will be strikingly obvious during Christmas time. Carl Gould explained that niche items we expect to be on shelves will suddenly be nowhere to be found. While there will be an abundance of the same, identical shoe, ones in specific colors and styles will be nonexistent. Many people will have to turn to the secondary market like thrift stores because the item that you want is still in China, waiting to be delivered.

Looking towards the future, it is predicted that in a few years inflation will hit and the environment will flip in the employer’s favor. There will be more positions available in higher levels of the company, making people fresh out of college and those who can fit those qualifications coveted. However, competition will increase for people working in the service industry as those jobs will continue to grow scarce.

By Published On: October 31, 2021Categories: Cover Showcase

About the Author: Dee Ferrero

Ms. Ferrero is the CEO of Western Mass Women Magazine as well as the founder of several women's mentor and advocacy groups along the east coast.

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