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Supply chain issues continue to impact South Dakota businesses

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 5:09 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Since the beginning of the pandemic businesses have had to adapt and product shortages continue to test their resilience.

Nathan Sanderson, Executive Director of the South Dakota Retailers Association, says the supply chain issue stems from the nationwide worker shortage.

He says there are cargo freighters backed up in ports, leaving thousands of shipping containers filled with products waiting to be transported.

“‘Well, why is that?’ Well, obviously, you have to have a workforce at the ports to take those items off the container ships and get them from point A to point B. Then, of course, you have to have truck drivers to get those items from the ports to the locations,” Sanderson said. “It’s a lot of things coming together at one time.”

In addition, places like southeast Asia temporarily stopped making some products during the pandemic, which is now being felt state-side.

“If you’re a retail business you think you’re doing a pretty good job, right? I mean, you’re getting a lot of customers in, you’re taking a lot of orders, and (if) those products that you ordered months ago haven’t shown up, then you obviously aren’t getting any revenue to cover your overhead expenses,” Sanderson said.

One of the area’s most popular furniture stores, Montgomery’s, is just one example of a local business impacted by the product shortage. However, management says they’ve been able to adapt and keep their warehouse stocked.

“We’ve been very fortunate that we were able to start ordering early in the pandemic and continue to order throughout it,” Eric Sinclair, Montgomery’s President, said.

As of right now, Montgomery’s has been able to meet the demand of consumers.

“The supply chain has forced us to order more product, in larger quantities, more often, and schedule that product out for a long, long time,” Sinclair said.

But, it doesn’t come without some risk.

“You don’t really have a choice, you have to keep ordering the product, if you don’t have any product you’re not in business,” Sinclair said. “Luckily, there is a large demand for anything to do with the home right now, including home furnishings but that could change, and if it does, that product will still be coming at us, so it is a big risk for myself and other businesses around the community.”

Sanderson says he doesn’t expect these issues to go away any time soon. He anticipates the top three challenges South Dakota businesses will face throughout the next five years to be: workforce, supply chain, and inflation.

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