Re: Alcohol (was: Re: [TekScopes] Remove adhesive from old Tek aluminium cabinet covers)


Many of the COVID-caused supply shortages are just demand shocks: just-in-time manufacturing and delivery is very good if the demand is predictable, but when demand doubles or triples (as happened, for example, with toilet paper) it can take quite a while for supply to readjust. I suspect, however, that another factor in the ongoing shortages is that many manufacturing operations have very little excess labor capacity, and that only a few people out sick is enough to bring entire operations to a halt. It's one thing if you have to cover for one person out sick for a week or two, but when 10% of your staff is out for two weeks you probably don't have enough cross-trained people to cover all positions. Now multiply that across dozens of companies involved in any supply chain and you get massive shortages of all kinds of things, even things that are not directly being demanded by the crisis.

None of this is to say that I completely understand the supply shortages caused by COVID, I just think it's a fascinating example of how complex systems can fail under unexpected conditions.

-- Jeff Dutky

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