EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Businesses and consumers around the world are currently facing lengthy delays on products and materials because of supply chain issues.

Eyewitness News explains how the pandemic created these issues and how long our area can be facing these challenges.

“I’ve noticed that if you want to order anything you have to order it two or three weeks ahead,” explains Rene Sosa, Wilkes-Barre.

“Supply chain issues.” Three words many have heard over and over throughout the course of the pandemic, right here in our area and across the world.

But what does that really mean?

A supply chain is how a product gets in your hands.

It all starts with raw materials. Then a supplier will supply those goods to the manufacturer who will then create the product.

Next, a distributor will take that product and bring it to the retailer, where a consumer can then buy the product.

The pandemic has created issues throughout this entire cycle and local experts say a global disruption like this one is a once in a generation experience.

“The closest parallels might be the oil shock of the early to mid-1970s or potentially the WWII kind of disruption into what our supply chains are. So, we don’t have a good playbook or understanding of what’s going on at least recently,” explains Brent Moritz, Supply Chain Management Expert, Penn State University.

There are shortages of many raw materials like aluminum and plastics.

Ports are backed up, there is a shortage of warehouse and dock space and there aren’t enough trains or truck drivers. Just to name a few.

Unfortunately, all of these issues are rising prices.

“We’re seeing inflation in a lot of places–both from the raw materials all the way through production. We’re seeing labor costs go up in terms of getting workers in our retail and restaurants for example. There’s a lot of help-wanted signs out there. All of that gets translated into the costs of goods in really substantial ways,” Moritz said.

So what does this mean for Christmas here in Nepa? The things you may be looking for could be more expensive and harder to find.

“I’ve noticed that you don’t really find the normal drinks that you would normally find before the pandemic. A lot of drinks are going up in prices, everything is going up. A lot of people that are last-minute shoppers, it’s December 2. Get started,” said Sosa.

Experts predict our supply chains could return to somewhat normalcy sometime next year, but easing the impact on inflation could take some time.