New York – I was late to the whole Animal Crossing thing, but a few days ago I, too, decamped to a virtual island utopia, where I can breathe fresh digital air, chase butterflies, plant bright tulips and fish for sea bass (so many sea bass). Thanks to best-selling (and surprisingly therapeutic) games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the Nintendo Switch has become a massive hit during the pandemic. There’s just one problem for Nintendo Co.: It can’t make the consoles fast enough.
The inventory crunch serves as a reminder of how crucial supply chain management is in the COVID-19 era. The disease has decimated many industries, cost millions of jobs and taken thousands of lives, but the companies that sell equipment to enable people to work from or pass idle hours at home have benefited. From PCs and smartphones to tablets and wearables, the current batch of winners and losers of the hardware market will likely be decided by which companies can build enough products to meet demand from sheltered populations.