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Empty shelves can be jarring for shoppers used to having access to everything they want and need, in every color and flavor, at the touch of a button or the end of a 10-minute drive. Empty or picked-over shelves are often the first sign consumers see that supply chains are struggling to deliver.

Those shelves are not, however, a good indicator of how global supply chains are flowing, according to Tom Hammann, who helped manage General Mills’ supply chain for 22 years and now runs a consulting business.

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