Storm causes delays in supply chain but long-term effects not expected: expert

Before the spring storm rolled into Manitoba, grocery stores looked like they did when the pandemic first broke out – empty.

People were gearing up to hunker down before the weather struck the province.

Despite emptying the shelves, one supply chain expert says people shouldn’t worry about everything being re-stocked.

“We’ll have a couple days with trucks being delayed. Maybe some drivers will have decided, ‘Hey I’m going to sit tight for a little bit’. But based on the forecast – and provided some of the road clearing will occur – I don’t think it will be a significant delay,” said Rick Reid, the executive director of the Supply Chain Management Association – Manitoba.

He said if there is any impact to the supply chain, it will be a minor one.

Staple items such as milk and bread were swept off the shelves as people prepared for the storm, with Reid saying he was surprised at some of the panic buying.

“This is Manitoba. Winter storms aren’t that unusual. So I am a little surprised that people seemed to react the way they did to what was being forecast.”

He said unlike COVID – which was a long-term event – this won’t cause significant delays on items because it was a short-term situation.

Reid said the supply chain in general has been improving little by little, but noted the issues are still there.

“People are still struggling on how to move forward in a new environment where some of the products aren’t readily available and capacity to get them isn’t as high as it should be.”

He said businesses need to take a look at how they are doing work and where they are getting items from and see if there are ways to shorten their supply chains so they don’t have as many problems in the future.

Looking back at the storm, Reid said if people are looking for a specific item that they haven’t been able to buy over the last few days, they should just wait a couple more days and then they should be able to find it.

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