News broke in recent days that McDonalds were running out of supplies. As a direct result of these supply chain issues their iconic milk shakes are being dropped from menus together with other bottled drinks. These particular shortages will apply to outlets in England, Scotland and Wales. Supplies in Northern Ireland are holding up, so far…
Is this further evidence that the delivery driver shortage is affecting retailers’ ability to supply goods to consumers?
According to the Road Hauliers Association, 30,000 HGV driving tests were unable to proceed last year and that the driver shortage was exacerbated by changes to the rules following Brexit.
One consequence of supply shortages – aside from goods being unavailable – is that if demand remains high, but in limited supply, prices tend to rise. Witness the incredible price rises in basic building materials in recent months.
If these trends continue and prices for commodities start to rise inflation will rear its head.
The Bank of England are forecasting inflation at almost 4% at the start of next year. It will not require much in advance of this figure before the bank will need to increase interest rates in an attempt to take the heat out of future price increases.
It is difficult to see how these fiscal measures will impact McDonalds and many other retailers if their problem is delivery difficulties, not money supply.
What to do?
If your business is being affected by delivery problems you will be sympathetic to McDonalds’ plight.
Aside from the physical need to get goods delivered, affected businesses could consider increasing stocking levels in affected goods, if this is feasible. And then triggering reorder levels at an earlier point in the production process.
This would have the added advantage of buying at lower prices for longer production runs and keeping manufacturing costs down.
The difficulty is that firms are stripped of working capital in the past eighteen months and may be unable to find additional funding or storage space.
We may have to content ourselves with a brew to accompany our next take out. Unfortunately, the driver shortage may take longer to resolve as drivers point to bad working conditions and low pay as further issues facing their industry.