Since March 2020 when COVID-19 was deemed a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, every industry has experienced disruptions in supply chains (Illustrated here in a New York Times interactive flow chart). According to sources quoted by The New York Times, the subsequent disruptions throughout the following two years started with a shortage of shipping containers in China relating to demand for the personal protective equipment.
The resulting confusion and delays at ports – where many shipments sat unclaimed – ostensibly upset the intricate web of global supply and demand, leaving the design and construction industry with more questions than answers. Kermit Baker, AIA’s Chief Economist, offered additional nuance and an alternative explanation in a recent interview, stating that the situation stems from long-brewing supply chain issues particular to the nature of globalism, just lying in wait for a pandemic or another major event to serve as a catalyst for crisis.
Regardless of the underlying factors, the “Great Supply Chain Disruption” represents perhaps the largest coincident event of the pandemic, and has profoundly impacted design and construction. As also reported in the New York Times in February of this year, the end to the supply chain turmoil is not yet in sight and may not have an “end” as such, but rather an evolution. Indeed, perhaps the disruptions resulting from the pandemic are best viewed as a warning for the future, and as strong argument for completely rethinking how the industry sources its materials. Read more>