I recently had the experience of shopping in a grocery store where nothing, nothing at all, was missing from the shelf. Industry studies generally report a 6%-10% chance of any particular item being off-shelf so for a store with roughly 50,000 products this was an astonishing achievement. Sadly, this was probably the last and only day (the grand opening of the store) when this will be true and indeed returning there some weeks later, the usual rate of gaps on shelf was clearly evident.
Not having product on the shelf when a shopper wants to buy is the ultimate failure of the supplier-retailer supply-chain but few companies seem to recognize the issue or be actively working to resolve it. The problem has been around at least since we started to measure it in the ‘60’s and seemingly there has been no progress in finding a solution.
On Shelf Availability is costing retailers and suppliers real money: Walmart recently estimated they lost $3 billion annually from not having product on the shelf.
In this upcoming series of posts I’ll look at the myths and misconceptions around on-shelf availability, the underlying causes and solutions that provide real, incremental value. I’ll deliver them in bite-sized chunks over the next few months so check back often.