Expert says supply chain is improving

Posted at 3:09 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 17:14:50-04

NORFOLK, Va. - About three months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the supply chain is improving, a local expert says.

"Pretty much everything has come back, maybe not necessarily to the volume that it was before," said Dr. Erika Marsillac, a professor at Old Dominion University who studies supply chains. "We didn't appreciate it when we had it. Now, we appreciate it more."

Still, some items can be harder to find. Paper products, like toilet paper, can sometimes be difficult to find at certain stores. No rolls of toilet paper were available at the Harris Teeter in Ghent on Monday afternoon.

A shortage of toilet paper drove Jack LaVoie to purchase what he thought was 48 rolls of Charmin back in April through a Facebook post for $140. Last week, he got the toilet paper, which was clearly not Charmin and appeared to be small rolls.

"I was hot," he told News 3. He's now trying to get a refund, but being told he has to ship the toilet paper to China. News 3 reached out to the email address connected to his purchase, but hasn't gotten a response.

"I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I just want people to know, hey, don't do it," he said.

As things improve, Dr. Marsillac says to not overbuy. "We're fine. Keep in mind that you don't want to go and clean out the shelves so no one can get their supplies," she said.

Moving forward, she expects prices on some food ingredients will be higher, which will be passed off onto consumers, but says we're not running out of food.

"As our patterns of behavior shift back to more what they were like pre-COVID, then the supply chains will be moving in the same direction," she said. "You'll be able to find the things in the places you would before in the places you would expect."

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