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Tennessee businesses feeling the effects of latest COVID lockdown in China

Supply Chains
Posted at 7:40 PM, Apr 18, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Whether it's that shirt you ordered weeks ago or a new part for your car, there's a chance you're still waiting for it.

"Well we see a lot of our consumer products that you and I are used to, the things that we would buy at Walmarts, on Amazon," said Andy Borchers, professor and Associate Dean at Lipscomb University's College of Business.

China's latest COVID lockdown has paused supply chain operations yet again, making shipments out of the country even harder.

"So that's leading businesses to strategize toward shorter supply chains, more production closer to the point of use," said Borchers. "Well, I think companies are learning that they have to have resilient supply chains. They have to have multiple in place. So if you're Apple and you want to get phones, you don't just get them from China. They now are trying to see well maybe it should be China and India."

Companies locally are feeling the effects too.

V. Alexander transports cargo from around the world, especially China.

"It may have taken in 2018, 2017, 35 days to get from Shanghai to a Nashville warehouse and it could be double that now just because of the backlogs that you experience at major milestones in a supply chain," said Daniel Hallock, assistant vice president of Business Development at V. Alexander.

While many countries joined China in shutting down at the beginning of the pandemic, Hallock said this time things are different. Many are still operating and global demand hasn't slowed down.

"If you disrupt one area of the supply chain in an animal such as that — I mean now we're talking about a massive trading partner — it's going to cause ripple effects across other areas, right?" Hallock said.

He said while we might not feel it yet, a backlog in the supply chain could be imminent.

"There's not a magic solution but I think being flexible definitely helps in a market such as this and you're seeing that customers are utilizing any and all methods in order to get a product continuously flowing through the pipeline," said Hallock.