The pandemic broke Just In Time (JIT).

I’ve seen many examples of this in the last year, starting off with the toilet paper shortage. Remember that?

It was ridiculous! It’s not like people started using a lot more TP. It’s just that it was in the wrong place, in the wrong format. When people noticed, they started hoarding … but that just made it worse.

The real problem is that we all became accustomed to having supplies readily available. Without having to stock extra.

When I was a kid, all orders seemed to take a standard “6-8 weeks” if it wasn’t in stock in the store. Now, Amazon has trained us to expect anything in 2 days, maybe 1.

I’m lucky that my own services are delivered in real time, with just a Zoom call. Anywhere in the world.

But, in 2021, we really don’t have the JIT that we’d love for physical goods. A tanker gets trapped in the Suez Canal and it stops billions of dollars of shipments. A storm develops in the Gulf of Mexico and brings deliveries to a halt. Or a heat wave in Canada. Or they run out of containers because too many are in transit across the Pacific.

We’re all too reliant on fragile supply chains – both personally and for our businesses. So it’s time to rethink JIT.

Which means identifying which items really are critical to your business (or life) and arranging for a sensible amount of stockpiling – or alternate suppliers.

Because it really shouldn’t be such a surprise to us.