Portsmouth-based Loftware sees meltdown as a ‘perfect storm’
A Portsmouth company has a unique view of the current breaks in the global supply chain.
Loftware, located at the Pease International Tradeport, is the leading worldwide supplier of enterprise labeling software that ensures shipments and packages get from point A to point B as efficiently as possible.
Its president and CEO, Robert O’Connor, said in a recent interview that a “perfect storm” of circumstances — from overburdened ports to lack of workforce in Asian factories — threaten delivery of even the most basic goods such as food items. He cited factors related to the Covid-19 pandemic and even pre- Covid conditions.
“It is a confluence of many factors that have lasted back to pre-Covid, and then Covid made things worse,” he said.
recent easing of Covid-related restrictions has increased the
consumer’s appetite to spend, putting a strain not only on the
production of goods in factories worldwide affected by the pandemic, but
a strain on the supply chain’s ability to get products to store shelves
or to a consumer’s front door.
“The demand is back,” said O’Connor, “but the supply is not.”
O’Connor is president and CEO of Loftware, a global leader in the
creation of shipping labels with a firsthand view of the current supply
chain meltdown. (Courtesy photo)
all of those issues and the common element of all of those is Covid,”
added O’Connor. “While we’ve gone through supply shocks and demand
shocks in the past, this was much more consistent and much more
pronounced and really coming to a head.”
has more than 5,000 customers worldwide, representing a wide range of
industries, including life sciences, manufacturing, food and beverage,
retail, automotive, consumer products, apparel and more.
January, NiceLabel, a leading developer of label management systems
with its headquarters in Slovenia and with offices in Germany, USA,
Singapore and China, merged its operations into Loftware.
“It does allow us to now be, by far, the global leader in the (shipping label) marketplace,” said O’Connor.
Addressing the logjam
supply chain meltdown has had a cascading effect of economic
principles. As supply has dwindled, prices have gone up and keep going
up, setting off a round of inflation.
the last 12 months, the consumer price index — which the U.S.
Department of Labor uses to measure inflation — increased 6.2 percent.
Federal data show retail sales hit $625.4 billion as consumers returned
to shops, bars and restaurants, after months of Covidinduced
confinement. Gasoline sales were up 38 percent compared with the same
period in 2020, but so was the price of gas, according to AAA. The
national average for a gallon of gas is $3.35, up 7.5 cents from a month
ago and $1.08 per gallon higher than a year ago.
choke on the supply chain has some people concerned that certain gifts
for the upcoming holiday season will be delayed or not available
two-day period in mid-October, Loftware hosted a virtual conference,
Convergence 2021, that attracted some 1,000 companies from 85 countries
to talk about trends in labeling and the supply chain — what O’Connor
described as a “massive gathering.”
to O’Connor, it will take the efforts of all the partners in a supply
chain to get out of the current logjam. It’s not something labeling
alone can solve.
few things they came up with are supply chain agility, that people
really have to be able to move facilities, move manufacturing more
quickly,” he said.
plays a big role in that, because if you’re not able to label the right
products at the right time in the right facility, then you just can’t