“Everywhere You Look, the Global Supply Chain Is a Mess,” read a recent headline in the Wall Street Journal. Most supply chain practitioners would agree: between the pandemic, container shortages, winter weather, factory fires, the blocking of the Suez Canal by a container ship, and other logistics woes, things are messy. These disruptions have already led to the current global shortage of semiconductors, and now the supply disruption of another critical category of materials is occurring: plastics. Constraints on the supplies of their raw materials — especially polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and monoethylene (MEG) — are leading to factory shutdowns, sharp price increases, and production delays across a range of industries.
Harvard Business Review