As states and counties start to reopen across the United States, one area operators will need to assess is security in their supply chain. At Buyers Edge Platform, we look to our subject matter experts for information about supply chain trends, recommendations for ordering new products moving forward and insight into what areas may be most or least affected as the pandemic continues. Below are a few key actions operators should consider as they seek to optimize their supply chains over the next few months.
Continue to pay attention to distributor delivery days and times
Most distributors are currently letting local distribution centers call the shots on delivery days and times. Operators should receive regular updates from their distributor representative regarding any changes, and they should continue communicating with them as they open with limited service.
A few common changes happening in a majority of warehouses are:
- No Saturday deliveries.
- No hot shot (recovery) deliveries.
- Shifting delivery windows and routes.
- Changes in minimum drop sizes.
Keep an eye on product availability and continue to streamline the menu
As more states open, it’s likely that there will continue to be limited availability of some products. Engage with distribution partners and suppliers as soon as there is a target opening date, and start working toward forecasting expected purchase volume and ordering guide products. At the moment, many food and beverage manufacturers are stating that they are filling all orders with an increased focus on to-go products because off-premise meals have become the sole source of operator revenue. Be sure to check in with distributors to find out what to-go products are available and adjust the menu and prices accordingly.
Another way to ensure product availability and minimize supply chain disruptions as businesses reopen is to continue to focus on a modified menu—offering only guest favorites, high-profit items and dishes that cross-utilize several products. Focusing on a core menu will allow operators to easily execute against guest favorites consistently, and subbing in convenience products where applicable can keep costs low and help increase shelf-stable inventory—a must-have if a second wave hits and restaurants must close down again.
Communicate the current situation with distributor partners
Communication with distributors is especially important in regard to fresh, proprietary products. If product has to be frozen in restaurants due to traffic slowdowns or shutdowns, work with the distributor to modify delivery frequency. For disposables and other branded products, look to use in-stock non-logoed disposables when the current supply of logo products depletes—and make sure to have substitutes selected in advance. Many distributors are having to keep an eye on supplies more than ever, and deciding on substitutions ahead of time is one way to help them out.
Open communication with distributors will also facilitate conversations about coming to a mutual agreement on payments. For credit terms, plan to work through a reasonable payment plan for the balance owed pre-coronavirus as well as moving forward as restaurants reopen and bring back limited staff.
This post is sponsored by Buyers Edge Platform