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The UK has recently passed “freedom-day” hoping that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, and life can begin to return to the new normal. In a departure from the latest figures on Covid the media are flagging a new and pressing problem in the UK. This is the lack of qualified lorry drivers to enable the major grocery retail supermarkets to maintain the supply of fresh food and packaged groceries to the stores. It is easy to forget the journey of consumer products from a manufacturers’ factory gate to the retailer’s shelf and the critical nature of the end-to-end Supply Chain to ensure on shelf availability.

Whilst the shortage of lorry drivers will hopefully be a temporary phenomenon, the role of the Supply Chain in ensuring consumer products are available in-store is worthy of further exploration. On Shelf Availability (OSA) is aversely impacted by retail execution and issues further up the Supply Chain. Shoppers often point the finger of blame at the retailer for not ensuring their preferred brand is available at the point of purchase. However, the brand owner and the retailer both pay the price of lost sales value and the reputational damage.

Large Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies have traditionally focused on fixing OSA by deploying field sales teams to resolve issues. These make a big difference on compliance issues and amplifying promotions but often fail to address endemic issues in the Supply Chain. The power of advanced analytics is now being employed by CPGs to unlock new Actionable Insights in the Supply Chain. For example, StayinFront RDI’s new Supply Chain OSA Tool can identify lost sales value in -store directly attributable to specific Supply Chain issues. This tool automatically captures the root cause for the OSA issue to understand which SKUs are persistent offenders. StayinFront RDI have applied dynamic velocity modelling to create a new predictive OSA alert highlighting when a CPG company needs to intervene and prevent a retail distribution centre from running out-of-stocks. Hopefully, as CPGs awaken to the lost sales value dripping out of the Supply Chain leak bucket more brand owners will increase their focus on Supply Chain caused OSA’s.

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With 32 years’ experience, Andy Foweather is the Managing Director for StayinFront RDI. Andy is an accomplished sales leader with expertise in delivering profitable sales growth through developing winning strategies and organizations.

Andy has operated at the Board Director level for over eleven years, leading substantive change in the UK and across European markets. He has been successful at influencing and driving alignment in matrix organizations and leading cross functional projects.

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