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March 25, 2020

Opinion: Panic Buying Triggers New Reality for Grocery Supply Chains

In PG, Randy Evins, senior principal and industry advisor, food, drug and convenience with technology company SAP, writes in part: "As a seasoned veteran of the grocery industry, I have personally survived many moments of manic shopping – including blizzards, holidays and 9/11. But never have I experienced anything like the store traffic and sales volumes that we saw in mid-March. In fact, a former coworker of mine shared that his store was tripling and sometimes quadrupling actual daily sales. Without a doubt, the grocery industry is struggling to keep up. Harried store employees help long lines of frustrated consumers while fearing the possibility of contracting the virus, having hours reduced or getting quarantined. And despite companies pulling out all stops to get products back on shelves as quickly as possible, supply chains are still too strained to deliver.With these realities in mind, the current pandemic is challenging supermarkets to change in ways that could potentially redefine their future for years to come. Here are some of my observations of what’s missing right now"... Those ways include close collaboration with suppliers, optimized inventory control, openness to new sources, and focusing on the reality that the more (right) products are on the shelves, the more that will sell. Evins elaborates on those points.

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