July 10th 2020
Yesterday I received an email from a man who is a supply chain analyst for a large grocery chain in the USA. After securing a promise of anonymity from me, he agreed to allowing me to share this very important information. It should serve as a wake up call for those who are not already “preppers,” to begin to take some steps to prepare for what lays ahead. For those who have already been preparing, it should provide confirmation to continue doing so. Please take this information seriously and act accordingly
Here goes the simple 40K’ foot level executive summary from a very anonymous source!
Overview – in summary, there are less goods coming into the grocery retail system from vendors (manufacturers and distributors), therefore less to go to the shelves for consumers to purchase. With that statement, you may be thinking…”tell me something I don’t already know”, but my main purpose for getting this out is to confirm some things that will result in the Remnant to ramp-up their preparations in this area.
By the way, I know that the most important prep is spiritual, in case anyone wonders about that; but I feel that others will benefit from what I’m doing TODAY….they may be the ones eating the food, living one more day to be able to call on the name of the Lord and be saved — this is my main reason for prepping. I am even preparing a physical place to go AGAINST the will of my wife and my children. But, I feel that if I need to drag them there when the goons are looting our neighborhood, then it will be worth it, and if it never happens like they think, then hey, we’ll deal with that at that point….I digress….
There are many questions from folks around the country about the REAL state of the supply chain in food. Some report there are pockets of relative surplus on an item in one area but yet a drought of the same item in another part of the country. They wonder: “is there really a shortage in supply of _____”? However, as you should know, this is largely due to factors such as previously negotiated contracts and purchase orders, with pipelines that are running their course. BUT the persistent decline in the fulfillment of purchase orders by vendors is steady and continuous, and that is the larger current and should be considered OVER the pockets of ebb and flow in certain markets. It’s the forest; the ebb and flow in certain markets is the trees. Large, national manufacturers are not only continuously extending their delivery dates on products, but they are out-right cancelling orders. They too — the manufacturers — are all scrambling down through their own supply chains to mitigate sourcing of raw materials as well as absenteeism, etc.
Another player in the “supply chain” are the distributors who bundle products that come from many manufacturers; these distributors are also facing issues such as the one very large national distributor who has just cut delivery routes in our area from 13 down to 3 with many caveats and shortages projected added.
I feel like what I’m reporting here (and seeing with my daily and weekly work) is a good proxy for the rest of the country in-that our chain is a very highly-rated chain, carrying lots of weight in this industry…this means we’re getting a lot of focus and attention from vendors; what are the other smaller and less prominent chains facing? I am NOT with Walmart or Kroger to be sure; those companies may have even longer trails of purchase orders from pre-COVID that are still running their course.
Again, I am not sharing anything that folks may not already know; just confirming things for them with the admonition and encouragement to ramp-up their prepping and planning. I am personally doing this EACH and EVERY day….I am also mindful that if I am not around to personally use these preps for whatever reason, that others in my family know why I’m doing this and that they know about the gospel. I am going out on a limb here as I’d be summarily fired if folks were to put the puzzle pieces together on who I am and who my company is, but I feel there is a great benefit to alerting the remnant on what is happening – while maintaining my anonymity. Summary: ignore the ebbs and flows in your market on meat, etc. — realize the general trend is going to less and less fulfilment of orders from vendors and if you are blessed with a surplus of things, then by all means purchase them NOW while you can so that maybe you can share this along with the gospel at some point in the future.
Now, the information I’ve already stated above was about goods coming from manufacturers or distributors into company-owned warehouses….
Next are comments on GOODS GOING FROM COMPANY-OWNED WAREHOUSES TO THE ACTUAL RETAIL STORE OUTLETS IN THE CHAIN, which – again – I feel would be the norm for any grocery chain in the US:
— the meeting of store demand — which is a proxy for actual consumer demand — from company-owned central warehouses has steadily declined over the last 4 months; from a 98% pre-COVID fulfillment rate to 58% as of yesterday. Key point: STEADY decline; yes some blips upward from time to time, but overall steady decline to be sure
— what this impacts is the presentation on the shelves; for example: do we have some or no toilet paper, tomato paste, rice and noodles, etc., etc.; you will also see new and unknown brands coming in to substitute for a product, but that is only going to be a temporary stop-gap as these are from 2nd and 3rd tier vendors who may not carry as much clout in getting their own raw-material supply chains filled…these too will dry up and go away over the next 3-6 months (not to mention the effect of absenteeism in their own ranks, leading to an inability to produce said 2nd/3rd tier products)…
— there is also a trend to see less variations on products; for example, we only have 3 variations on tomato paste to put on shelves as-opposed to the 15 we had pre-COVID
— to the folks in the industry, this is known as the presentation and the service level at the shelf in the store; service levels on some harder-hit commodities are near 10% at-best, averaging in the 70% level on an aggregate across all stores/commodities when you carve-out bath tissue, paper towels, baby wipes, disinfectant wipes; comparatively during pre-COVID service levels were in the very high 90’s for all products (sans SEASONAL)…
— Additional contributing factors: in addition to waning vendor fulfilment, we are also seeing more-and-more absenteeism in our warehouses due to COVID cases, fear, exhaustion.
There is much more on the technical side I could share but the picture is there is a continuous and steady decline in what is coming into the network and being made available to the consumers to purchase. It is also an accepted premise from which we’re fomulating weekly plans to address, that these trends will continue, that we are living off of last year’s harvest and that this next year will be a big question mark.