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Supply chain expert says shortage on holiday goods already improving

Posted at 12:19 PM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 12:19:19-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The holiday shopping season is finally here, and a VCU supply chain expert said the projected supply shortage for holidays gifts and goods is improving.

"It's not like supply chains are broken. They're just being pushed right now. And we will get this back," said Jeff Smith, Chair of the Supply Chain Management Analytics Department at VCU. "It will come back. It will just take a little more time."

"I ordered something from Europe, for my wife for Christmas, thinking it would take forever, it took seven days."

Smith has been studying distribution patterns for months now.

He told CBS 6 last month that projections showed shortages and price hikes due to disruption in supply distribution worldwide, due to the pandemic.

Now, just weeks later, he said things have took a turn for the better.

"I think there's a concerted effort by multiple parties, to start to alleviate the congestion and get things moving," Smith said. "You're seeing now 24/7 operations, you're seeing concerted efforts to try and get things off the docks and get them onto trucks and trains to actually move them. I think East Coast, we're seeing a lot of congestion that has started really starting to come to come free, because now you're actually seeing products make it."

With Black Friday sales right around the corner, Smith believes prices should be relatively normal.

"So it may not be the latest and greatest. But I think you're still going to have opportunities to find good deals. I think there could be shortages on things that are in high demand," Smith said.

And when it comes to whether to wait or shop early, he believes its best to do it as soon as you can.

"If you're going to go buy something off the retail shelves, and it's available, it's probably a good idea to go ahead and buy it, I don't think prices are going to go down," Smith said. "Now, if you keep a watchful eye, I still think there's potential for finding specials and finding good deals, but maybe not on exactly the specific product for what you're looking."

Smith believes the supply chain will fully bounce back by March or April.