When can we get our products?
The last year-and-a-half has been tough across the globe in many ways, some of which we could have never predicted. In conversations with buyers this fall, we hear that they are struggling to offer the products and experiences their clients are after. Sales and demand are up, but store shelves remain empty, and it’s not a good look. Here at W.A.S.A. Wireless, we are doing everything we can to minimize the visible absence of useful and inviting goods in our buyers’ stores.
Global freight hits a pandemic iceberg
There are several major issues on the global market right now, both in terms of production and shipping. Factories have been forced to close due to COVID-19 outbreaks among the workers, and the same goes for large shipping ports. The Ningbo-Zhousan port in China, the world’s third busiest port, had to close in August after an outbreak, resulting in a disastrous reduction in freight traffic. Ships are forced to wait for processing, which in turn means the receiver does too. The chance of a shipment arriving at its destination in the projected time is now down to approximately 40%. Meanwhile, China has extended electricity restrictions to at least 20 provinces, cutting electricity use by several days each week and affecting production for such large companies as Apple and Tesla.
Another problem is that there are not enough shipping containers located where they are currently needed. Unable to wait for processing, cargo ships return empty to China, leaving containers behind or bringing them back without goods, meaning there’s nowhere to pack products for export. Bottleneck situations arise of cargo ships waiting for processing, and it takes weeks or even months to alleviate the blockage, even if a port closes or if the ship is delayed by just a few days. Larger conglomerates such as CostCo and Amazon are now buying their own shipping containers and investing in independent cargo solutions in order to circumvent the issue - a move that is out of reach for anyone operating in a smaller market.
W.A.S.A. Wireless makes a new plan
Here at W.A.S.A., our first thought is always, “How can we make this easier for our buyer?” We are constantly problem solving, and this shipping situation is no different. Naturally, we have taken inventory of our stock and worked as quickly as possible to provide the products we already have on hand. With solid stores of certain goods, we prioritized the work of preparing these products for sale and marketing them at the most ideal rates.
We have been careful to split our deliveries and orders to avoid entire shipments being stuck on the same boat. We have also placed some orders to be transported via train rather than cargo ship in order to speed up delivery and put in extra orders of some of our most popular products, in order to maintain an inventory for our buyers. Both train and truck freight have for obvious reasons fallen victim to similar delays as the cargo ships and will sometimes take up to twice as long as usual to reach us - and at a much higher price. In order to fill the needs of shoppers looking to escape the dark, cold season or stocking up for holiday gift giving, we have prioritized those products that customers - and our buyers - have been clamoring for. You can thus count on us to do everything we can in order to make sure that our vlogging kits, tech gear, night lights, and cozy lighting arrangements will be available when demand really ramps up.
A short note on perspective
The shipping chaos is currently affecting markets around the world. It is, however, important to take a step back and remember what’s really at the bottom of this situation. As our CEO, AnnBritt Lindberg put it,
“I got an email from DHL, saying delivery from Shanghai would be limited due to ground staff at the airport having gotten COVID. That’s when I realized: these are human beings who are ill.”
Our own team members have also gotten sick with COVID-19, forcing us to delay product releases that we have been so excited to share with our customers. But this is our team, and their health and well-being must come first. Our goal is always to try to achieve both, and it is with this ambition we head into the 2021 holiday season cautiously optimistic, and always at the ready.
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