Supply Chains and Trade Shows: What to Expect

Supply chain issues are a hot topic worldwide as of late, but when will the commotion end?

Items that normally take one week to arrive are now taking up to three months, so how will this new situation impact the sports industry and trade shows nationwide?

Normal shipping ports look like the one seen above. Today, shipping ports are backed up for miles and have even been re-routed to other sides of the country.

To begin, let’s look at why supply chain issues are occurring across America.

To put it simply, so many goods are being sold online from overseas instead of in stores—most likely due to the pandemic and many people’s fear of going into a crowded supermarket—that ports are getting jammed along the U.S.’s coastlines. Since ports are congested, multiple ships carrying these goods are getting re-routed to other ports…sometimes on the opposite side of the country. Since goods are getting diverted, shelves nationwide are looking bare, and the cost of all goods are increasing due to high demand.

In a 60 Minutes interview done by Bill Whitaker, Bobby Djavaheri who runs Yedi Houseware, an online household appliances business that Oprah Winfrey has listed as one of her favorite go-to websites, said when it comes to goods being backordered that, “It’s unbelievable. There’s never been a month that stores are this bare empty–ever. Add in the fact that Christmas is around the corner and shelves are empty, it’s shocking. My goods have been delayed for six months. Now, I have thousands of orders that I simply can’t fill. My shipping costs have even soared from $2000 a container to as high as $25,000 per container.”

A cargo ship travels through the water to reach port.

However, Djavaheri is not the only business owner struggling. More and more business owners are in the same boat—no pun intended.

Let’s begin with one of the main industries that will be impacted: sporting events.

Sporting events are often planned months in advance to secure scheduling as to ensure no conflicts with participating parties are affected, the vendors get supplied with the correct items needed to run their booths, and so spectators can ask for time off well ahead of the event.

But what happens when supply chain issues enter the bigger picture?

For starters, vendors may not be able to get their goods in time to run their booths, spectators may not receive tickets in the case of printed tickets, and team merchandise like uniforms and equipment may not arrive in time for the game.

For example, several Major League Baseball teams began the season without their usual arm patches, Atlanta Braves merchandisers canceled several official player bobblehead orders, and several youth teams have had to cancel their sports this season all due to the same reason—supply setbacks.

To combat these issues on a larger scale, representatives for the San Francisco 49ers said in an interview with Industry Star that “our main way to combat everything is to source locally if possible.”

Further in-depth, since so many ships are currently running three months behind schedule, it is important that as an industry everyone plans further in advance than normal.

When it comes to trade shows and events, make sure to get everything ready for your booth in town, or make sure to express order well in advance directly from the U.S. to avoid port-crowded shipping delays.

Experts say we can expect these delays well into the new year, and to be prepared to continue to pay higher prices until the shipping conflicts are resolved.