Young business owner in Omaha uses supply chain issues as learning experience

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 6:41 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Local businesses struggling with getting supplies and products into their stores are hoping the issues will end after the holiday season.

But as it continues, some businesses owners are using the difficult time learning more about how to run their businesses and supply their customers with their products.

Nic Bianchi started his candle company when he was just 12 years old. His parents gifted him a candle-making kit and the rest is history. But now, at 18, he’s dealing with things most young adults aren’t: supply chain issues.

“It’s kind of any way that you can think of that the company is actually ran, so like, our candles have boxes, and so then the box companies are having issues getting the paper into their warehouse, so they’re having issues getting it to us,” he says. “It’s a trickle effect.”

Bianchi says as soon as they’re able to get one item in, they run out of others.

“It’s also affecting how we’re getting our jars in since there are not enough people making the jars, there are not enough people transporting the jars and getting them where they need to be so we’re looking at like three months on some of our jars which is absolutely outrageous.”

Sometimes, he says, products will be sitting in ports for weeks or months at a time. Nebraska truckers are waiting in long lines at those same ports, in places like Los Angeles and Long Beach, waiting for ships to be unloaded so they can bring deliveries back to the state.

“My members are extremely frustrated right now,” says Kent Grisham with the Nebraska Trucking Association. “When you dispatch a truck and that truck ends up sitting it’s called detainment, they end up sitting, locked into a place because the freight is not ready to be loaded sometimes for days.”

Bianchi says his company tries its best to work around all the issues.

“We’re readjusting how we’re planning, doing a lot of forecasting for what orders we believe are going to come in so we can order accordingly so that we’re prepared for this stuff and not necessarily getting hit by a truck when this happens,” he says.

“It’s not the actual doings of what’s going on, it’s more the feeling that you’re trying to please everybody but no one’s happy, that’s kind of the toughest part internally, when you’re dealing with [wishing] you could make everybody as happy as you could, and you know you can, it’s just a matter of you’re working your hardest, let’s do what we can. At some point in time, you just gotta sit back and say it’s out of my hands.”

But despite the hardships, the young businessman remains positive and takes the struggles as learning lessons.

“I definitely see this as, well, COVID has been going on since the end of 2019, we’ve survived this far. We can look back and say we did that. When the big housing crisis hit back in ‘08, the companies that survived that, they’re invincible now in their mind so that’s kind of our situation here, we’ve been able to go through some of the hardest parts in a lot of people’s lifetimes,” he says. “That’s why I definitely feel like it’s a learning curve, a lot of people will look back and actually change and make distribution logistics way more efficient and innovative now because of this issue.”

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