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Supply chain issues, worker shortages leading to continued shipping delays locally

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 10:54 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Supply chain and staffing issues continue to plague companies around the country. It’s leading to big time shipping delays too.

The owners of Maddie and Co., an engraving shop in Sumiton, are waiting on supplies they ordered in early November. They were told their packages are sitting in a warehouse lot at the local FedEx hub in Bessemer. Jon Norris showed up there multiple times this week trying to get them, but no luck.

“They ignore you while you stand in the room for an hour and they have a phone and the phone doesn’t go to anywhere. Nobody answers. I took today to beating on the wall and finally they ask me to stop beating on the wall when somebody finally came to window and I said if you start answering the window, we’ll stop beating on the wall,” Norris said.

Some of the shelves inside the Norris’ business are empty as they wait on supplies to show up.

“It really hurts on a business level because we rely on this time of year to get us through the first few months of next year and if we don’t have our items for our number one sellers, we’re not going to have the money for next year,” Leslie Norris said.

FedEx Ground says it continues to navigate operational challenges due to tight labor markets and significant package volume during the pandemic. The company is asking people to contact them if they are experiencing delays and visit www.fedex.com to track shipping.

“COVID-19 put a halt on a lot of things,” Dr. James Gray with Lawson State Community College said.

Gray is workforce development manager at Lawson State. He also oversees the supply chain management program there. Gray says the pandemic led to supply chain issues worldwide which continue to have a ripple effect today. Workers are also demanding better pay and that is one of the reasons why there’s a big worker shortage nationwide which is leading to shipping delays.

“We have different companies who are competing against each other for workers. They are raising their wage to compete with other companies to make sure they have enough workers to be there to supply the demand that we have,” Gray said.

Lawson state is trying to combat the worker shortage by offering a supply chain management program to create a more skilled workforce. Dr. Gray tells us there’s a lot of interest in the program. You can learn more about it here.

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