LEXINGTON, S.C. — The Midlands of South Carolina have felt the effects of supply chain issues recently, and that includes local toy stores.
At Learning Express Toys in Lexington, they won't be able to restock some toys once they're sold.
"We already know there will be things we can’t reorder this year so once they’re gone, they’re gone,” store owner Paige Watson said.
Learning Express is filled to the brim with toys, gadgets, and stuffed animals, but some items will be easier to stay stocked than others.
"If it’s a smaller product, [vendors] can ship more in a container but it’s a lot of times those bigger products that are more of an issue,” explained Watson.
The store orders toys from more than a hundred vendors to sell locally. However, some of those vendors, according to Watson, are having issues getting their products and shipping them out in time.
"We sorta had hints of it all year and we’ve been warned by vendors that there were issues with supply chain: With truckers, with containers, so here we’ve been trying to stock up as much as we can for Christmas,” Watson said.
It's mid-October, but outside of Learning Express sits a sign encouraging shoppers to get started on holiday shopping to avoid any issues.
The supply chain problems aren't just here but are being felt all over the world.
Sanjay Ahire, a professor of operations and supply chain management at the Univerisity of South Carolina, compared the supply chain to a choreographed dance:
“Any one note or step that goes wrong in the formation, and you feel the damaging impacts, it goes out of whack and that’s what’s happening right now,” the professor said.
Ahire said demand is going up for products, but supply can’t keep up for several reasons. One is, "manufacturing plants not being able to operate full capacity due to natural disasters, COVID and lockdowns."
Ahire said manufacturing problems are what started the disruptions in the supply chain. Add a lack of truck drivers and containers being backed up at ports, and “everything from the Far East: Electronics, toys, shoes, and apparel have been impacted,” he said.
That’s why Watson suggests getting holiday shopping done early this year, especially for toys.
"If you see it and you know your kid really wants it, I’d go ahead and get it,” Watson added.