The Unprecedented Demand On Supermarket Supply Chains
As the coronavirus pandemic has swept across the globe, supermarkets worldwide are experiencing an unprecedented demand on stock. Statista reported that the grocery stores Lidl, Ocado, Iceland, and Aldi all experienced double-digit increases in sales, compared with the same period last year.
Ahead of the lockdown, shoppers descended upon supermarkets to stockpile food and other essentials. According to the Financial Times, shoppers spent an extra £1.9bn during this period at the end of March. As the UK enters its eighth week of lockdown, the intense demand on supermarkets shows no signs of slowing down.
Imaginably, an efficient supply chain is absolutely crucial at this time. Without adequate preparation and response, supermarkets may find themselves struggling to manage their inventories.
How can supermarkets prepare supply chains in response to COVID 19?
1 . Alleviate supply stock
To prepare your supply chain, seek to alleviate supply stock by working with suppliers to design a business continuity roadmap. During these challenging times, detailed planning is critical. Supermarkets should anticipate that stock demand is likely to be high for the foreseeable future.
2 . Diversify
Businesses should seek to source suppliers across different regions, to achieve diversification of the supply chain. Doing so will help to protect your business from stock shortages. Many supermarkets are also setting limits on the quantity of products that can be purchased per person. Changes like this are useful to reduce shortages and ensure that customers shop responsibly.
3. Reduce product ranges
When supply is limited, supermarkets should respond by putting inventory reserves in place and prioritising certain products. Supermarkets across the UK have been reducing their product ranges, to increase efficiency. For example, Morrisons have cut their bakery line from seventeen different products to just seven items. The rationale is that it saves time to produce less variety within the same product, while still producing enough to meet demand.
4. Delivery changes
Online delivery demand has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, and supermarkets must make supply chain changes to respond. For many supermarkets, it is currently unrealistic to provide next-day delivery slots, many have increased their delivery times by days or even one week. Some supermarkets are choosing to prioritise vulnerable or elderly customers for online slots, which is both responsible and useful to cope with demand.
How can Distribution Maintenance help?
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