(WSYR-TV) — The break in the supply chain began two years ago with toilet paper. Since then, a number of items have been low in stock on store shelves from construction materials to baby formula. What’s causing it?

“The issue is that we’re a global supply chain, so we’re just dependent on other countries and other entities to provide what they need to provide.”

Dr. Patrick Penfield, Professor of Supply Chain Practice at SU’s Whitman School of Management

The issue with baby formula has evolved with weather to blame for the latest delay in production. Why are certain products harder to find than others? Penfield said it’s because there are oligopolies.

“When you have three or four or five competitors in the marketplace and they dominate it, and you have one that’s kind of the major one, if one thing goes wrong, that’s when you have issues and problems,” Penfield explained, “That’s what’s going on in today’s market place.”

His advice for consumers is to shop around, look for substitutes and in some cases, cut back.

Penfield said what’s been most striking to him is that some companies weren’t able to adapt fast enough. His advice for them, “You really have to look at your supply chain resiliency.” He added, “Look to see what makes sense, what’s going on in your business. Are you able to meet demand quickly and fast? Can you change? Is there something that’s going to stop you? I think you really need to do a deep dive and understand what was preventing us from getting more sales?”

Hopefully those answers will lead to more links on the supply chain.

Some welcomed news – Penfield said he expects to see things get back to normal in the next six months.