Supply Chain, Worker Bees, CCD


Opinion: Bill Walton, The Supply Chain and Worker Bees

Are we entering our own period of CCD?


Bill Walton

You would be an exception if the current ‘supply chain’ problems have not affected you.

Looking ahead, I think we are just on the cusp of this issue – and it is more complex than shipping containers stuck onshore because of a lack of trucks or anchored off-shore because of a lack of trucks. Actually, it may be a lack of truck drivers; or workers who load the trucks; workers who package the widgets; people who make widgets on an assembly line; or even caretakers and maintenance workers who keep the widget assembly line clean, oiled, and flowing.

They are the worker bees who keep the hive thriving, or in our human enterprise, the economy moving.

In the world of bees, the supply chain problem is known as CCD: Colony Collapse Disorder is the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear. The bees may leave the colony because of an invasion of mites, a lack of food sources due to over-population (of bees), climate (weather) change, or just being tired of working for the Queen and her princesses (title holders of the hive). CCD is not unusual, happening in the life cycle of a few generations of bees, who admittedly do not live as long as we humans.

The question I have is whether we humans are entering our own period of CCD.

There can be no doubt that the invasion of Covid-19 struck us like the mites hit a beehive.

Sickness and death of workers, travel restrictions, health precautions, politics, misinformation, social isolation, and even payment support for not working – all played a part in our supply chain issue. Add to that the extreme weather events around the world that further disrupted our human worker bees. And if that is not enough, methinks there are other major factors now contributing to our CCD / Supply Chain issues.

The gig economy and its lower wages and lack of benefits, while initially a boon to employers, is now showing its faults. Unlike in the good olde days when an employee would work his or her whole life for one employer, Giggers have little or no loyalty to a business and will leave at the first opportunity to gain a few cents more in wages or benefits.

This causes a disruption in the production line, requiring training of a new gigger, additional administration work, and possibly quality control issues during training. Paying your employees a minimum wage (or less) may be good for the bottom line but when the workers are facing all the above CCD issues, they may just give up in despair, leave the job, and look for social assistance.

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