There is a global freight log jam that is destroying businesses. Nothing can move in or out quick enough. There are endless queues freight must sit in before it moves to its new home. Six weeks of shipping is now twenty weeks - hi-lighting that just-in-time freight can be a risky operation.
There are two main thought processes with freight timing - buffer and just in time. At a high level, they are what they sound like. Buffer-based shipping is when a shipper adds a few weeks of months to their estimated cargo arrival. Just in time is as it sounds. In just-in-time, the can of soup arrives the morning the soup shelf is empty. In the US (and most western countries), we have shifted much of our cargo and logistics to just-in-time delivery.
Just in time works when it works. Take the Hawaiian islands as an example. There really is not much space for warehousing and expansion of distribution centers. Much of the islands rely on a tight just in time delivery service. The just-in-time model keeps warehouses and distribution centers running lean and efficient. What happens with a freight backup? Just in time begins to crack and crumble. The just in time model can quickly go from being an operational efficiency to massive liability.
Personally, I like the just-in-time model. I am the type of person that believes in "due tomorrow, do tomorrow." I like the chaos of just in time. I also think that the DC and warehousing models are incredibly efficient. It's hard to help from wondering how different the freight log jam would look if margin and buffer were planned into freight processes? Less pressure and stress? Better cargo availability? Possibly no log jam at all? Can't help but wonder.