One More Reason For Shortages
When I worked a few years back (quit Oct 2019) for a large company that needed a dozen or more trucks for daily delivery, we always had a problem getting semi truck drivers. That company shipped over a million pounds of metal a week, so it was essential to have experienced drivers who knew how to handle large heavy loads in tight urban situations. Those drivers don't come cheap. The situation has only gotten worse, with drivers quitting long haul in droves, and those who do stay being able to demand higher wages and more favorable work conditions. Think restaurant workers on steroids. Its one of the reasons that has been mentioned is why we are seeing repeated and unexpected shortages in stores, the lack of long haul drivers.
I came across this post from well know science fiction author C.J. Cherryh today which points to an additional factor:
"You want to know WHY we're having shortages in just about everything post 2020? You want to know why parts are scarce and supply of finished things goes short in consequence?
It's not just China, friends. Remember the Thor Tool decision, when they decided to tax books in warehouse, so there could be no more one-time economical print runs, just little ones? Remember the theory that there would be no more warehouses of anything, that companies would limit production to demand, and instead of warehousing, would just have product crossing the country in trucks, lots and lots of trucks? Well, those chickens have all come home to roost. Companies HAVE no warehoused backlog of parts and units to shove into trucks to send to you. THAT'S why we have shortages. Our tax policy and our corporate profit-is-paramount planning has thrown us into shortages that did not need to happen."
The comments on her original post are very informative: https://www.facebook.com/cj.cherryh
I expect that odd shortages and disruptions will only continue and get worse. This points to an important part of your resilience and adaptability, learning how to deal with the lack of important items. Whether you stock up with extra parts and equipment, or learn how to modify and adapt existing supplies to new needs, we will all be dealing with this for a long time as society heads down the Long Descent.
This also points out the problem with "Just In Time" manufacturing, a philosophy that unfortunately has taken over not only manufacturing but life in general. Why have extra toilet paper in your closet when you can just run down to the grocery store when you are almost out? Well, until there is none at the store. People, through their employers have learned that its "good" to not stockpile supplies. Its good to be "efficient" and not spend money on things you don't need right now. The problem with that way of thinking is summed up in this comment:
"Efficiency" is the enemy of redundancy and safety. It's not "efficient" to have a snow shovel or blanket in your trunk in NY, but you sure as shit are glad you carted it around all winter when you need it.
Efficiency is not your friend.
At a machine shop I worked for, we had a sign on the wall. It was a triangle with three points labeled, "Fast, Cheap, Well Made", and in the center it said "Pick Two". We used to point this out to customers. A lot! You can have any two of those options but never all three.
What we all have to learn, as collapse cause disruptions and shortages, is what is really important, resilience.