Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has an important message about the U.S. food sector. With shortages in the retail food (grocer) sector the last part is key…. “don’t take more than you would normally use in a week or two.” WATCH:
The aspect that most models are missing, is the pressure on the supply-chain will not soon end. The restaurant sector (‘food away from home’) appears to be operating at far less than half capacity (perhaps as low as 25%) due to coronavirus restrictions. As long as those food consumers remain shifted into the retail supply chain (food at home), there are going to be long-term shortages due to capacity constraints and distribution limits.
Processing/Manufacturing – – – Distribution – – – Retail Stores
To gain an idea of the scale of the challenge here’s some big picture analytics. There are approximately 50,000 retail outlets for grocery sales nationwide with about 250 large scale distribution centers (warehouses) regionally placed.
If you take an average across all grocers, a conservative estimate for one product category, hot dogs, each retail store would need roughly 20 cases for a resupply (all brands). That’s one million cases of hot dogs across all retail outlets. [50,000 stores at 20 cases each]
However, the distribution centers would also need 1 million cases, for a replenishment average of 2.5 to 3 days later. Additionally, within 7 days (from the original delivery date) another 1 million cases would have to arrive from the manufacturer(s) to resupply the distribution centers.
That’s a total production demand for ‘hot dogs‘ of 3 million cases per week across all brands. 240 to 360 individual packages selling (twice weekly) at the store level across all grocery outlets; throughout the country.
3 million cases of hot dogs equals 600 semi tractor-trailers with 5,000 cases each, nationwide in the logistical supply chain. [200 trailers per stage: retail (day 1), distribution (day 2.5/3.0), manufacturing (day 7)] That’s 600 tractor trailer loads, for one product category, nationwide. [Easter is April 12th, Memorial day May 25th]
That’s a very conservative supply chain demand on one product category.
That’s just hot dogs.
Now, take the same baselines and consider the logistics of 100 cases of paper goods at the current level of need (retail all outlets), resupply (all distribution), and manufacturing:
100 cases needed per retail outlet (50,000) equals a 5 million case fill on day one. An additional five million cases on day 3 (from distribution), and an additional five million within seven days from manufacturing. That’s 15 million cases needed.
LOGISTICS: At 800 cases per trailer, 15 million cases of paper goods means 6,250 semi-trailers (retail), 6,250 trailers all distribution within three days, and 6,250 semi-trailers from manufacturing to distribution within seven days. A total of 18,750 trailer loads of paper goods (towels and toilet tissue) within one week; nationwide.
♦ It is impossible for the current manufacturing supply chain (all outlets) to start from a ZERO baseline in stores and generate 3,000,000 cases of hot dogs, delivered by 600 tractor trailers, in a week.
♦ It is impossible for the current manufacturing supply chain (all outlets) to start from ZERO baseline in all stores and generate 15,000,000 cases of paper goods, delivered by 18,750 tractor trailers, in a week.
• CEREAL – It also seems impossible for the current retail supply chain (all outlets) to start from ZERO and generate 12,000,000 cases of cereal (all brands), delivered by 6,000 tractor trailers in a week. (80 cases per store, equals 2,000 trailers/2k per – total supply chain)
• SOUP – It seems impossible for the current retail supply chain (all outlets) to start from ZERO and generate 6,000,000 cases of soup (all brands), delivered by 2,400 tractor trailers in two weeks 14 days. (40 cases per store, equals 800 trailers – total supply chain)
[Note for distribution of non perishable “pasta” and “rice” the sector mirrors soup.]
Bottom Line – There are going to be long term retail supermarket shortages until restaurants re-open. Yes, the total food supply chain is ok, but the retail sector of the supply chain is grossly overwhelmed. Math is math and no-one is doing it.
People are not being honest about the extent of the disruptions.
Easter is April 12th and Memorial Day is May 25th.