Insights & News

​Why the Global Shortage of Supply Chain Workers Matters to You—and What You Can Do About It

Posted On March 15, 2017

Here’s the good news:

The world economy is growing. In the United States, family incomes are up for the first time in a long time, unemployment is low, in February the number of jobs grew faster than expected, and people are spending money. Even the housing market is finally back, with the construction of new homes happening at a rate not seen since before the economic downturn. Across the world, the long-term trend of developing nations becoming important economic players—and creating their own middle class—continues. Research by consulting firm McKinsey shows by 2022, 76% of all Chinese citizens will be part of that country’s middle class.

The result? A lot of people are buying things. Most of the stuff going into those new American homes and in the living rooms of the new Chinese middle class starts life as a product or part on a shelf somewhere in a warehouse. A growing economy means more stuff coming off those warehouse shelves, more shipments and containers moving across oceans, and more shipping coordinators tracking all those deliveries traveling across the world.And according to a survey conducted by SCM World, a growing global economy means increased demand for workers in the supply chain sector.

That’s great news—growing economies creating more demand for labor is exactly what everyone wants.

The only problem?

SCM’s data indicates there aren’t enough workers to fill open positions—which makes sense. The demand creating the need for these jobs inherently means there will be fewer workers to fill the open positions. While unemployment data in the United States isn’t exact—and excludes workers who’ve stopped looking for a job—the current low unemployment rate means there are relatively fewer workers looking for a job. Of course, the labor shortages in warehouses and behind the wheel of trucks are one reason so many companies are exploring automation, advanced robotics, and self-driving automobiles. But for the vast majority of the world’s suppliers, robots with arms that can remove items from warehouse shelves and trucks controlled by artificial intelligence are a long way away. In the meantime, the labor shortage across the world means supply chains are going to be stretched thin. And a thinly stretched workforce is a workforce that’s going to eventually make mistakes, potentially leaving your shipment stranded or in an unknown location.

Today’s market is too competitive for you to experience a shipment stuck in limbo because one of your supply chain partners simply can’t fill open positions. And while there is little you can do to address the challenges of the global labor market, you can increase visibility within your supply chain. In a global economy experiencing a shortage of everything from warehouse workers to truck drivers, using supply chain technology and logistics solutions that provide increased visibility will be critically important.

Flat World Supply Chain provides that visibility, along with unparalleled customer service and a partnership with our clients based on excellence in everything we do. Further, the entire Flat World Holdings family of companies (Flat World Supply Chain, Flat World Hospitality, Ram International, Ram Custom Crating, and Prologue Technology) deliver a suite of supply chain solutions for all your logistics needs. The supply chain and logistics sector is like any other sector—a shortage of workers increases the risk of mistakes.

You can’t afford that. Flat World Holdings gives you the visibility you need and the excellence you require to build a high-performing supply chain—even when that supply chain is stretched thin by a world buying more and more of the things you make.