Bakeries help convenience stores with labor and supply issues

Finding workers in some tight job markets has become so difficult that some convenience store operators are reportedly stealing workers from their competitors.

“Handing out business cards to swipe the best people is real,” said Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives for the National Convenience Store Association.

With supply chain disruptions, he added, even some of the biggest and best convenience stores had major stockouts at one point or another. One chain even put up signs saying, “Sorry, we don’t have your favorite product. Maybe you can find a new favorite product.”

In some cases, Lenard said, bakers and snack makers with capacity can find growth opportunities in their backyards.

“That’s where local can play a role,” he said. “As the domestic and international supply chain is repaired, there might be a way to replace some local businesses that don’t normally play a role in their stores.”

Henry Lopez, plant manager for United Dairy Farmers (UDF) said the Cincinnati plant for the regional convenience store chain had to manage its ingredients and packaging supplies through a variety of delays and shortages over the past year.

“We had to increase the number and identify new supply chain partners because the existing ones cannot meet our requirements and needs because they have many labor issues and supply chain challenges with their raw materials,” he explained.

The Cincinnati-based company has also invested in labor-saving equipment, like new positive-pump donut fillers, which are faster and more accurate than previous equipment. In addition to new and larger trucks to increase distribution efficiency, UDF is adding voice pick technology and moving away from paper to improve delivery accuracy.

Nick Sayegh, managing director of International Delights, said several retailers and foodservice operators have approached the Clifton, New Jersey-based maker of confectionery and confectionery about serving as a second supplier of certain products. bakery.

“Even if we didn’t run the business ourselves, because of all the labor shortages, transportation issues, and the supply chain in general, many retailers and foodservice operators are looking for a second supplier,” he said. “Let’s say you get two varieties of muffins from the same company. Now they want to split the business between two vendors so they don’t run out of bagels on any given day. Due to the supply chain and pricing, we see more retailers reaching out to us for another option.”

He added that supply chain disruptions range from ingredients to packaging with all kinds of shortages with film and paper products like boxes and cartons.

“It’s been a never-ending problem for the last two years, and it hasn’t been fully resolved,” Sayegh said. “We are still getting backorders on almost all deliveries with shortages and delays in packaging supplies.

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