Aluminum Can Shortage

Aluminum Can Shortage

August 24, 2020

Is trouble brewing for users of aluminum cans?  Some beer and soda manufacturers fear that the existing shortage of cans will grow worse in upcoming months.

Some consumers already report difficulty finding specialty flavors of canned beverages like Cherry Coke Zero or niche brews, as producers focus on making the most popular flavors and brands instead.

Additional can manufacturing capacity is in the works, but it will be up to a year before the new facilities are ready.


Video Spotlight: Low Coca-Cola supply blamed on aluminum can shortage  (July 23, 2020, 11Alive)


This post is based on the Syracuse article, The national beer and soda can shortage: How is it affecting supplies in Central New York?, by Don Cazentre, July 29, 2020; the CNN article, Why America is running out of aluminum cans, by Alicia Wallace, July 22, 2020; and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: belchonock/123RF

Discussion Questions:

1.   What issues are causing demand for aluminum cans to spike, and what types of time-series forecasting variations are these?

Guidance: One of the obvious issues is the COVID-19 pandemic.  As more Americans consume their beer and soda at home, Continue reading

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National Coin Shortage

National Coin Shortage

August 2, 2020

It’s understandable that COVID-19 may cause people to panic and buy a variety of supplies like toilet paper.  It’s also understandable that the demand for masks and hand sanitizers has skyrocketed — potentially for the foreseeable future.

But, a coin shortage?

A combination of events related to the COVID-19 lockdown have greatly impacted the national coin supply chain.  No one issue has caused the shortage.  To begin, the Mint has reduced the production of coins to protect workers.  Additionally, with many stores and restaurants closed, the circulations of coins back to the banks has slowed.  With many states re-opening businesses, the demand for coins has spiked, while there is limited supply.

The result has been a national coin shortage.


Video Spotlight: Coinstar CEO on America’s coin shortage amid the pandemic (June 25, 2020, CNBC Television)


This post is based on the NY Post article, National Coin Shortage Has Retailers Pleading for Exact Change, by Noah Manskar, July 1, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Glow Images/Glowimages RF/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1.  How does this coin shortage impact operations?

Guidance: Obviously, this can make cash transactions more difficult. Continue reading

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Toilet Paper: A Potential Bullwhip Example

Toilet Paper: A Potential Bullwhip Example

April 19, 2020

Toilet paper demand from retailers is up 25% due to the pandemic.

Even though manufacturers are already operating their mills 24/7, the capacity may be constrained as the workforce is reduced to prevent the virus spread.

Demand may or may not be an issue, depending how long the panic buying associated with the pandemic lasts.  As of the date of this post, most retailers reported being able to resupply stores from their warehouses.  Some manufacturers are shipping directly to retailers to cut lead time and restock their warehouses.

There are two major questions confronting the mills:  Can the mills increase capacity if the pandemic lasts multiple months? Will demand drop because consumers overbought and bullwhip the mills?


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the CNN article, Toilet paper makers: ‘What we are dealing with here is uncharted’, by Parija Kavilanz, March 19, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Comstock Images/Alamy Stock Photo.

Discussion Questions:

1. How can the Continue reading

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