It’s hard to imagine a country like the United States experiencing food shortages considering the progress and technological advancements made in transportation, delivery systems, and agriculture. This progress has made it easier for the country to get access to food and other important supplies in a very rapid manner, even from different parts of the world.
However, the country’s food supply chain is actually quite vulnerable, and experiencing food shortages is a very real possibility. And our food supply is not the only thing that is vulnerable. Medical supplies and important drugs are also vulnerable too.
It’s Already Happened
The country experienced a 27% spike in drug shortages in 2018, the highest in the last five years. One major reason for this vulnerability is the just-in-time delivery system.
What is a Just-in-Time Delivery System?
It’s when businesses and stores keep just enough inventory on their shelves to meet the current demand replacing items purchased next as the last item is sold. Businesses have developed this system as a way to lower their overhead costs.
Instead of paying more money to purchase a huge amount of supplies and paying rent for a warehouse to store them, businesses have streamlined their inventory to just the bare minimum items they’ll need to fulfill the next day’s orders.
This system allows them to have the next batch of items delivered just as the current inventory is about to be depleted. Although this is a cost-effective system for businesses, it represents a massive problem if disaster hits your region as there won’t be enough excess supplies to meet the needs of those in the affected area.
What Does a Just-in-Time Delivery System Need to Work?
- Perfect balance between supply and demand.
- The entire system needs to run smoothly.
What Are the Potential Problems in this System?
- Vulnerability to Supply Shocks – Shocks are the inability to supply a product or raw material or a sudden demand for a product. The system is not flexible enough to adjust to these kinds of shocks.
- Vulnerability to Price Shocks – The system operates on the assumption that prices remain relatively stable. If a price surges for any number of reasons a business may not be able to afford that product.
- The Complexity of the system – The system needs to run smoothly but is highly complex. All it takes is one small issue in the manufacturing and delivery process to disrupt the flow of goods from raw materials to finished products. A natural disaster or civil unrest are two events that the system is also vulnerable to.
What Would Happen if the Just-in-Time Delivery System Failed?
- Shortage of important supplies and items.
- Shortages created by trade wars, natural disasters, and other factors affecting the supply of medicines, food, and water.
- Could cause a problem for a major city in one week.
- Delivery of mail and packages could cease.
- Lack of fuel, raw materials, shortages of anything that needs to be manufactured and delivered.
How Can You Prepare for a Failure of the Just-in-Time Delivery System?
- Be aware of possible supply disruptions in your area or community.
- Stock up on important supplies including food, water, medicines, and medical supplies for a minimum of a month.
- Have a Plan to Evacuate.
To learn more, watch this video by City Prepping below.