Kickstart: The 'new normal' will be different from pre-COVID normal for supply chain

Supply issues are continuing to dominate the economic outlook for global businesses, with issues related to shipping continuing to add to earlier shortages of materials.And some top executives are warning disruptions are likely to linger.”We think the supply constraints will last,” Marc Bitzer, chairman and CEO of Whirlpool Corp., . “The supply constraints are fundamentally driven by similar elements as we’ve seen in prior quarters. … Fundamentally we talk about three issues: labor shortages; broader component shortages because other suppliers also have labor shortages; and thirdly, very specifically, resins because of the Texas storm and semiconductors. These are the fundamental sources.”The first quarter of 2021 was hit more strongly by resin and labor shortages, he said. In the second quarter, it was the rising shortages of semiconductors. Labor shortages “are increasingly manageable” as companies adapt, he added.”I understand that everybody hopes for a new normal to be next quarter. It’s not going to be. So this environment in which we are right now successfully operating will be around us for a lot longer than most people assume,” Bitzer said. “In our specific case, and I hope you have seen this on, our new normal will look very different from a previous normal because we’ve taken structural fixed cost actions, consumer preferences have shifted, certain business models around e-commerce.”Our new normal will be not comparable to the pre-COVID normal,” he said. Another rise in coronavirus cases has some businesses tweaking their operations again.Ford Motor Co., for instance, has reinstated mask requirements for workers in Florida and Missouri. Missouri is home to Ford’s Kansas City assembly plant, which makes the F-150 pickup.The UAW and the three U.S.-based automakers had just dropped mask requirements in mid-July.In addition, Ford will require any of its employees taking international travel for business to be fully vaccinated. Oh, Florida man. You never disappoint.In the latest story, Reza Baluchi said he was going to “walk” from Florida to New York in a contraption made of aluminum and Plastic balls that bears a similarity to a human-size hamster wheel.Instead, the “hydro pod,” equipped with a satellite phone, water filtration system and food, developed technical problems and rather than New York, he popped out onto a beach just north of Daytona, according to the .The sheriff’s office turned over the case to the U.S. Coast Guard, which was assigned to determine if the pod was seaworthy.Baluchi said that he was from his trip to raise money to help homeless people and for other charitable causes, the New York Times reported.  Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at Staying current is easy with Plastics News delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge. Subscribe to Plastics News Plastics News covers the business of the global plastics industry. We report news, gather data and deliver timely information that provides our readers with a competitive advantage.Customer Service:

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