Snowcone the Happy Unicorn is the latest victim of the manufacturing chaos
“It really is a blow,” she said.
The problem isn’t customer demand for the toy, according to Fargo. “The demand is there. It’s the supply.”
“Large retailers have a huge advantage over small stores because of their size, resources, supplier relationships and systems,” said Patrick Penfield, professor of supply chain management at the ‘Syracuse University. “Small retailers are really going to have a hard time stocking their shelves. It will be a tough holiday season for them.”
As businesses battle to secure inventory for vacation shoppers, larger companies have the upper hand over smaller competitors at almost every link in the chain, according to supply chain experts. They also have a greater ability to absorb higher costs, experts say.
“If you’re a Walmart or Target supplier, you’re going to do whatever they ask for just because of the sheer volume of what they’re buying and getting potential deals going forward,” Penfield said. .
Why small stores are at a disadvantage
“This makes their containers the first to embark and the last to be unloaded,” he said in an email. “They also have dedicated agents at the ports to facilitate the customs clearance process, saving them time.”
Most independent stores do not have access to capital to fund expensive options like chartering ships, nor do they have back-up providers.
Co-owner Shante Smith has set up essential oil supplier email alerts that let her know when the oils she needs are back in stock. She recently received an alert at 2 a.m. and woke up to buy the product on the spot because she feared it might run out in the morning.
Smith pays $ 5 for pots that cost $ 1.75 last year. A 50-pound box of wax costs $ 110, compared to $ 55. Smith used to order these supplies in bulk, but now she orders them piecemeal when she runs out because she doesn’t have the money to pay for the amount she would normally get.
“If we could afford to order more, we would,” she said. “We have a very, very strict budget.”
Ideally, Smith would buy full pallets of around 1,000 jars, which would allow her to lower the price she pays per unit. “If we could afford to order more, we would,” she said. “We have a very, very strict budget.” But she is forced to pay more for less because she cannot meet this threshold.
“If I had enough to buy pallets at once, it would be a good Christmas for me.”