In many cases, a change in product design or how a product is used is not a near-term solution to a shortage. However, manufacturers that can’t get the materials they need and believe this is more than a short-term challenge for the next few months are looking for longer term solutions.
This increasingly includes making changes to their product in terms of what materials are used to make it, how it is packaged, how it is shipped, and if there are reasonable alternatives to the product altogether.
For instance, a global sand shortage has challenged many industries. We’re not talking about sand for your kid’s sandbox. This is sand for reinforcing beaches and shorelines hammered by storms, and sand used to manufacture concrete and glass (the former used in buildings, roads, and bridges and the latter in buildings, electronics, insulation, packaging, and more).
Industries are looking for ways around this challenge. Examples of such efforts include:
- repurpose ground down plastic waste, old car tires, or glass waste as a substitute for some of the sand used to produce concrete
- change construction design to require less concrete
- build less of some of the things that are made with concrete (e.g., driveways and sidewalks) or use an alternative material (e.g., aggregate, stone pavers, or more sustainable pavers made with waste materials)
- develop a sustainability certification for sand mining
Creatively considering options, including those which had previously been too expensive to be practical, will allow all industries facing material shortages or longer term supply chain challenges to think beyond the current crisis and stay ahead of the competition.
For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, including Global Flat Glass, Global Cement & Concrete Additives, Global Construction Aggregates, and Landscaping Products. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.