Supply chain issues a reality at Publix, local schools

Publix’s shortage of paper towels and toilet tissue at Lake Ella Plaza. Photo courtesy: Malcolm Harvey

The global supply chain issues are a persistent crisis that started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and are becoming more alarming to consumers worldwide. The ongoing supply chain issues stem from several reasons, including: the pandemic, port congestion, a boom in demand for goods and an overwhelmingly shortage of workers at warehouses and trucking companies.

In Tallahassee, shoppers are noticing a low supply or even a complete wipeout on certain items they routinely purchase at grocery stores. Florida A&M student Charlie Smith II is all too familiar with this frustration.

“It’s been very difficult to find certain items at stores, even at Dollar Tree,” Smith said. “I’ve also noticed that there haven’t been multiple cashiers working at a time and it seems like a lot of stores are in strain nowadays.”

In addition to a low stock or complete absence of products on shelves, Publix is facing a shortage with its premium deli meat, Boar’s Head.

“With it being close to the holidays, the manufacturers are only getting in one case at a time, where it would usually be four,” said Jessie Grant, assistant grocery manager at Publix at Lake Ella Plaza. “We are starting to get cleaned out of toilet tissue and paper towels as well.”

Supply chain issues aren’t really impacting Leon County’s K-12 schools in how they provide school lunches for students, even though some school districts across the country have had challenges. However, the supply chain issues are affecting the Leon County School District is struggling to pick up technology devices. The orders for certain resources at Griffin Middle School such as projectors, took “a little longer than usual to receive,” said Patrick Wright, Griffin Middle School’s assistant principal.

Prior to Tuesday, President Biden’s administration has struggled to find solutions to combat the supply chain issues. But it’s possible  they’ve finally laid out a plan. According to, the Port of Savannah could reallocate more than $8 million to convert inland facilities into space that’ll aid ships in off-loading cargo quicker.

Now that truck drivers are needed more than ever to help transport goods, trucking companies have started to raise their rates. The shortage of truck drivers has an adverse effect on the way prices have gone up at some retailers. To alleviate this issue, Werner Enterprises, Inc. is beginning to try and hire 700 new truck drivers. Researchers and industry leaders have called for more women and people of color to be considered.

Fixing the driver shortage is vital to getting the supply chain issues under control, as well as addressing other factors. Bob Costello, the chief economist at the American Trucking Associations, said, “If we don’t fix this, I think going into some of these stores and seeing some of the shelves with nothing on it could be our future.”