Your Coronavirus Buying Habits Are Ruining The Grocery Supply Chain
“…Across the industry, the unexpected and unprecedented surge in demand has left companies scrambling to shorten wait times. For most companies, that means hiring more shoppers, distribution center workers, and delivery people. Instacart explained that delivery windows are dependent on store volume and the availability of shoppers. Services like theirs rely on a network of shoppers—and Amazon on drivers—and if there aren’t enough, customers will see fewer delivery times. In response, Instacart is hiring 300,000 more shoppers over a three month period. Amazon has hired 100,000 more workers for its grocery service, and is in the process of adding another 75,000.
Even when there are enough shoppers though, an inability to get into grocery stores or navigate crowded markets efficiently slows many orders. The longer it takes a shopper to complete an order, the fewer he or she can do in a day…and the fewer delivery windows there are available. To combat this, Amazon is changing store hours in many Whole Foods to allow delivery-only hours; one location in Woodland Hills, CA, is even closing to consumers to become a delivery-only location. While Instacart does not have the benefit of brick-and-mortar stores like Amazon, it has partnered with many retailers to implement “pre-opening and post-closing hours access for Instacart shoppers” to speed shopping times and increase delivery availability.
So let’s say for the sake of argument you score a delivery, there’s a great possibility it’ll be short some staple products, like flour, meat, or milk. But know this: High demand doesn’t mean there’s a legitimate shortage. For most of these products, it’s just a lapse between how fast customers can buy, versus how quickly suppliers can restock shelves. “At any time there are one to two weeks of non-perishable food and three days of perishable food in the supply chain,” says Greg Shewmaker a supply chain expert and Co-Founder of the food data company TeakOrigin. As such, the supply chain takes a bit of time to move food to stores after surges in buying.”
Read the full article here.