Why COVID-19 has impacted supply chains and shipping times - ESP blog

Read ESP's take on this global problem

Why COVID-19 has impacted supply chains and shipping times

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how the world works, especially with supply chain delays and interruptions in the beauty industry. Unfortunately these delays are out of our control, and they stem from a whole list of reasons rather than simply “shipping delays”.

Here are some of the issues we’ve been facing, their causes, and how we’re managing them.

  • Production and harvesting by our suppliers has slowed down to accommodate safety measures. From ingredient harvesting to factory production of bottles, safety measures are slowing output around the globe. Many farms and factories rely on people working in close physical proximity and the presence of COVID-19 is altering these usually efficient processes. This is also affecting packaging, often leading to a shortage or packaging itself and occasional difficulties putting finished goods into containers that haven’t arrived yet. South Africa experienced this as soon as the country had to manufacture so much sanitiser
  • Less is being produced and it takes longer to get to its destination. Fewer goods are being produced, and thus fewer goods are making it to their usual destinations. Because shipping companies are facing the same staffing and distancing challenges, what is being shipped is simply taking longer to arrive.
  • Harder to staff shipping companies. Like farms and manufacturers, shipping companies are also altering how they staff their warehouses and vehicles. Spacing and travel restrictions have significantly reduced the usual speeds of virtually every shipping service across the globe.
  • Understaffed and under-serviced customs. When goods do finally make it to their end destination, or destination country, receiving systems such as customs are also understaffed. This adds more unpredictable time to delays. South Africa has always experienced customs and Port Health delays in the best of times; the pandemic has made it significantly worse.
  • Increased Costs. The cost of shipping has also increased in response to the pandemic, which makes it very difficult to maintain competitive pricing when everything around us in increasing.
  • More people are buying online, so the shipping companies are busier than usual. All of the delays mentioned above are exacerbated by a large increase in online orders. As people shifted away from in-person buying in March of this year almost every form of online sales increased, leaving understaffed shipping companies to handle more shipments than ever before. Fortunately, this has an upside as it allows business to continue with fewer issues for the customer to deal with. ESP has recognised this and our on line shop is about to launch for customers who need to purchase smaller quantities


What we are doing to manage the process

At ESP we’re doing our best to order ahead and incorporate longer lead times for certain ingredients and packaging. We are also continuing and, in some cases, increasing our bulk orders to secure needed ingredients.

We are in daily contact our logistic partners and strive to keep you abreast of any major updates in their services. However, there’s less visibility into shipping times and routes, and we’ve found that guaranteed delivery times are no longer guaranteed!

It’s a frustrating situation for us and more importantly you, our customers. Delays are creeping up whenever the transport of goods is involved, and we hope you our customers understand that we’re working hard to accommodate recent changes.

Additionally, we’ve had to find alternative ingredients in some cases, and have appreciated your patience as we all adapt to changing circumstances.

At ESP we’re lucky enough to have experienced and dedicated staff, a spacious facility to maintain social distance and hygiene best practices, and we are committed to delivering the same high standard of ingredients that you rely on.

We’re here to support you, and thank you for supporting us!