Los Angeles Times
The supply chain crisis is the universe's way of teaching Americans about logistics. Before COVID, most Americans neither knew nor cared about the subtleties of just-in-time management. We remained largely untroubled by the tactics through which every possible efficiency had been exacted along the manufacturing journey of our trinkets, from raw materials to box on our doorstep. With prices rising by 6.2% year over year for October, we're starting to pay attention to the architecture and management that we once took for granted. We have learned that in order to wring every possible working moment from warehouse workers, bathroom breaks have been curtailed. Shifts have been stretched from eight to 12 hours. Healthcare plans have lost dental and vision, and premiums are higher. Unionized staff were turned into contractors, hireable and fireable at will. When the pandemic caused aggregate demand to plummet, the great engine of just-in-time logistics idled accordingly. Now, with restrictions lifted and savings ready to spend, the machine has stalled.