New Audio Available for Media Use: Upcoming Holiday Supply Chain Challenges in 2022


Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator

New Audio Available for Media Use: Upcoming Holiday Supply Chain Challenges in 2022

BALTIMORE, MD, October 25, 2022 – New audio is available for media use featuring Robert Handfield, the executive director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative at NC State University. He’s also the Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management in NC State’s Poole College of Management. He speaks about the upcoming holiday supply chain challenges in 2022. This content is made available by INFORMS, the largest association for the decision and data sciences. What follows are 4 questions and responses. These responses were provided on October 24, 2022.



Question 1: What are the big challenges for the supply chain in America this holiday season?

Time Cue: :29, Soundbite Duration: :35

“Some of the big challenges for the supply chain this season involved actually manufacturers having too much inventory. Many manufacturers believed that demand would peak and they overproduced. And I've talked to a number of manufacturers who have said that they're swimming an inventory. Some of them don't even have warehouses to put it in, and they're leaving it in containers sitting out on dock somewhere. So, the biggest problem right now actually is too much inventory. And so I don't think we'll be seeing any of the shortages that we did last holiday season.”  



Question 2: With a struggling economy, will there be a problem with having too much inventory of certain products due to lagging demand?

Time Cue: 1:14, Soundbite Duration: :35

“Well, I believe that we will have too much inventory of certain products. However, it's not due to lagging demand. In fact, consumers have the lowest amount of credit card debt ever. The unemployment rates are very low, so people are spending. I think that what the problem with too much inventories is that manufacturers produced too much too early, and are finding that they have a ton of inventory that they don't know quite what to do with. So, I think there will be too much inventory of certain products. But actually, that's a good thing for consumers. You might be able to find some good deals because of that.”



Question 3: What should retailers be doing this holiday season to balance against having excess inventories, while having enough of what consumers want on hand?

Time Cue: 01:58, Soundbite Duration: :35

“Well, it's always a challenge for retailers to know exactly what is going to be the hot item this Christmas.  What will consumers want? However, I think in general, they're stocking the typical kinds of items like tools, apparel, clothing, toys. And so they have a lot of inventory, and the manufacturers are trying to push more inventory on them. So, we're likely to see some bargains, some discounts, some specials that may be going on to help them unload some of this inventory during the holiday season.”



Question 4: What is the best shopping strategy for holiday shoppers this season?

Time Cue: 02:45, Soundbite Duration: :38

“Well, this is always an interesting question. There are those of us of course who'd like to shop early. Then we know exactly what we need to buy and how to get it.  I don't think there'll be a problem with delivery like we saw last year. I think most of the big shippers - retailers have plenty of workforce available. For those shoppers who want to wait until the last minute that's always perhaps a good opportunity to get some last-minute deals. We may see some heavy discounting as we go further into the holidays because we have so much inventory.”


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With more than 12,000 members from around the world, INFORMS is the largest association for the decision and data sciences, made up of professionals and students. INFORMS members support organizations and governments at all levels as they work to transform data into information, and information into insights that lead to more efficient, effective, equitable and impactful