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Produce or Else: Wal-Mart and Kroger Get Tough With Food Suppliers on Delays
Nov. 27, 2017 | WSJ | By Annie Gasparro, Heather Haddon and Sarah Nassauer

Grocers are giving food companies a tougher mandate: Ship on time, or pay the price.
Food retailers want their suppliers to resolve the persistent problem of delayed or incomplete deliveries, which they say costs them millions of dollars a year in lost sales and overtime pay.
Retailers used to give suppliers more leeway, since any number of factors—bad weather, a surge in demand, technology malfunctions—can foil deliveries of cereal, cheese, candy and other packaged goods from warehouses scattered around the country.
But now as traditional grocers battle Amazon.com<http://Amazon.com> Inc. and other online retailers that prioritize delivery speed, as well as price-cutting discounters, more are taking a strict line with suppliers, telling them on-time deliveries will translate directly into more sales and profits.
Delayed deliveries can leave holes on store shelves. Sales of some $75 billion a year are lost because products are out of stock or unsalable for other reasons, according to the Food Marketing Institute, a trade organization. That is about 10% of annual grocery sales industry-wide at a time when sales growth is hard to come by. “It’s a massive opportunity from a financial and customer standpoint,” .....The country’s biggest grocers are leading the charge. Kroger is fining suppliers $500 for every order that is more than two days late to any of its 42 warehouses, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is charging suppliers monthly fines of 3% for deliveries that don’t arrive exactly on time, according to the retailers. They began issuing the fines in August........Wal-Mart has signaled it could do more than levy fines if problems persist. Charles Redfield, executive vice president of food for Wal-Mart U.S., told suppliers they could also lose shelf space if they don’t solve their delivery issues, according to people in attendance at a supplier meeting earlier this year. Retailers can threaten suppliers with loss of promotional space in stores, analysts said.....Packaged-goods companies are straining to keep up with the demands and remain in the good graces of retailers. They need GPS trackers and software to adjust routes in real time. Filling full orders fast is also challenging, since many manufacturers house items all over the country. That is particularly true for refrigerated items needing costly cold storage—which has fueled investments in more fulfillment centers......“Shipping complete orders on time is a completely reasonable request but turns out it’s harder than it sounds.”...
Wal-Mart  Kroger  grocery  supermarkets  supply_chains  retailers  delays  food  shipping  Amazon  cold_storage  penalties  delivery_times  fulfillment  CPG  Kraft_Heinz  P&G  on-time  shelf_space  supply_chain_squeeze 
november 2017 by jerryking
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