This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Trauma Jumping

  The Herman Trend Alert

December 1, 2021

The Story Behind Global Supply Chain Issues---Part 1

From COVID fears to pent-up demand to The Great Resignation to hoarding---all of these factors have played a part is creating the mess that is our global supply chain. This Herman Trend Alert details Part 1 of the reasons for the chaos and next week will cover how and when we may expect improvement. (Like the Energizer Bunny, this Herman Trend Alert just kept going and going. It has become too long for one Alert. Please come back next week for the second half of the story.)

The Big Picture
There are so many aspects of this issue to address that I hardly know where to start. Not only has the virus affected workers in the US, but elsewhere around the world in Vietnam, the United Kingdom, and China---to name a few countries---worker populations have experienced the devasting impact of this dreaded disease. The Pandemic reduced demand and the markets responded; now that the demand is coming back, the supply chain is running hard to catch up. However, there are additional problems; for various reasons, the materials that were available before simply are not there now. Materials that manufacturers took for granted would be there are suddenly in short supply. To make matters worse, many employees have re-evaluated their work lives and quit their jobs. To make matters even worse, a high percentage were long-tenured employees which means they took intellectual capital with them. When companies don't have the raw materials and they don't have the people to make the products and serve their customers, they have big problems---if they can stay in business at all. Many---particularly those that have taken their employees for granted---will not survive.

Backed Up Ports
As we go to press with this Trend Alert, ports around the world are reducing their back-ups. The move to encourage ports to work 24/7 was a very good one and some ports are catching up. However, they had a long way to go. One short week ago, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California were backlogged by over two weeks, while the port of Savannah was dealing with a delay of a modest seven days. Like many blue-collar professions, the ranks of the longshoremen have been decimated by the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the workers who were not affected by the virus are exhausted from working longer hours.

The Why: Off-shoring and More
It started years ago when many companies decided that they could drive more profit by manufacturing offshore. (In some cases, these companies had the audacity to bring the new supervisors and plant managers to US to be trained by the US folks they were replacing!) What many companies discovered was that they may have been saving some money, but they ended up with major headaches in the form of language barriers, different definitions of quality, and significantly increased costs of transportation. When the Pandemic hit, the US discovered just how fragile its supply chain really is. It was a rude awakening. And now, making matters much worse, many workers simply do not want to take the jobs that employers are offering.

My Forecast: More Homeshoring and Lakeshoring
The COVID-19 Pandemic highlighted the need for the US to manufacture medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, ventilators, and more domestically. My forecast is that we will see more manufacturers bringing their production back to the US (homeshoring), looking specifically for markets with higher unemployment and a lower cost-of-living (lakeshoring). Not only will the US economy benefit from this return, but the companies will discover there is less stress and more profit when they eliminate language issues and other challenges.

Special thanks to NBC News and Phil McCausland; to read the entire fascinating article, visit here.

Next Week's Herman Trend Alert: The Story Behind Global Supply Chain Issues---Part 2
Next week, I continue this coverage with Part 2 which will feature categories of products that are in short supply as well as the path to a solution and when we may expect significant improvement.

© Copyright 1998- by The Herman Group, Inc. -- reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From "The Herman Trend Alert," by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. 1.336.210.3548 or To sign up, visit The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group, Inc."

Your leaders need this information and inspiration. Our Herman Trend Alert author, Joyce Gioia, has a brand new keynote to share with your business leaders and executives: Moving from The Great Resignation to The Great Retention. Chocked full of no- and low-cost ideas for stopping the bleeding, retaining your best workers, and even recruiting those talented folks in short supply. For more information about Joyce and this topic, visit or call Carl at 336.210.3548.

My podcast host Al Wynant and I are busy working on our new and improved podcast. We will feature thought-leaders and authors who through writing, publishing, and speaking are making a difference in the lives of corporate leaders. We sincerely appreciate your loyalty throughout last year and look forward to serving you in the future. Be sure to watch for next week's Herman Trend Alert where we will announce the topic and our featured guests. To subscribe to the #bemore with Ingomu Podcast: The Future of Life, Work, and Wellness, sign up for the Ingomu Newsletter. When you subscribe to the newsletter, you will receive the #bemore with Ingomu Podcast via email. For more information about signing up your employees, visit

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