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It really is unbelievable what we are witnessing in the supply chain industry right now. We’ve seen it on the front cover of every major newspaper as well as the lead story on the national evening news. “Why is this happening?”

Well, it seems there are several reasons that are creating the backup at the ports and ultimately us getting our goods on time. The pandemic impacted production in a big way with people being sick and unable to work and to produce goods domestically and internationally. Also, with people being at him more, buyer behavior changed quickly. People stopped going out to eat and traveling. Instead, people stayed home. They fixed up their houses and bought more things to entertain themselves at home. The governments then issued trillions of dollars of money directly into households, increasing discretionary income to buy more items that were already behind current supply. This is economics 101 and demand is outpacing supply in almost all product categories.

What we are seeing now is unprecedented. How do we respond as a company? We will remain focused on our Sunland values: Safety First, Servant Leadership, & Results Matter.

Safety First: Our primary goal is for every team member to go home as safe as they arrived for work every day. We are our brothers’ keepers, and all of us have a responsibility to keep one another safe.

Servant Leadership: We believe our job is to serve our team members, our customers, and our communities. Teamwork, trust, and respect are key components to our success. We recognize our customers are also working under stressful situations, so we “seek to understand” and work with them to help service their customers in a meaningful way.

Learning Organization: We believe continuous learning is a key ingredient to company and personal success. We believe our passion for learning creates value for our industry, our customers, and our personal growth. A famous politician once said, “All politics is local,” and I would argue all distribution & fulfillment centers are local as well. The impact of the pandemic for our customers is vastly different in L.A. than in Chicago; Milan, Tn; Tuscaloosa, AL; or Louisville, KY. Each locale has specific challenges related to their customers’ supply chains and Sunland will adjust and lead by offering new and innovative solutions to meet requirements now and into the future.

Results Matter: Our customers expect results. We set high standards of performance and hold ourselves accountable to those results to 1) meet our customers’ goals and 2) meet our company & personal goals.

Another value we should focus on inside and outside of our professional lives this holiday season is gratitude. It’s been a challenging year, but as Cormac McCarthy wrote in No Country for Old Men, “You never know what worse luck your bad luck saved you from.”

The gift we ordered may still be sitting on a container ship this Christmas, but a vaccine was created and distributed in record breaking time, allowing many of us (unlike last year) to comfortably celebrate with our family & friends over the holiday. Let us be grateful for all that we have.

Wishing you a Safe & Happy Holiday Season!

Arch Thomason, CEO of Sunland Logistics Solutions