The Friday Report: June 26th, 2020

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

Digital Transformation and Ability to Handle Omnichannel E-commerce Helps Retailers

Wreaking havoc throughout the supply chain and retail industries, COVID-19 has rocked the boat for both online sales and brick and mortal retailers.  The big box retailers that already had made the digital shift and were able to execute D2C sales have proven resilient and better able to withstand the winds of change.  So far, Target has reported a 141% year-on-year rate of growth for Q1 2020 in ecommerce sales as compared to 85% for Bed Bath and Beyond and 74% for Walmart.

Companies that had already transitioned to be ready to handle omnichannel retail seemed to be in the best position.  According to a report in Supply Chain Brain, both Target and Walmart were able to handle online stores, in person retail store sales and home deliveries extremely well.

Private label sales by Amazon, Target and Walmart all grew, and may have benefitted from each retailers’ data visibility into what sells from mainstream brands.  This may be instrumental in future investment and growth of private label products.

For more information, keep reading here.

China Tightening New Restrictions on Food Imports

Out of concerns for resurgence of COVID-19, the Chinese customs authority recently requested that companies exporting food products including meat and dairy to China sign documentation validating that the food products have not bene contaminated by the novel coronavirus.  The United States government has initially advised American food exporters about providing this documentation because this was not part of the U.S.-China trade policy negotiations.  Recently the U.S. changed its position and decided to leave the response up to each individual exporting company.

Companies have deliberated about providing a response as both the CDC and WHO have reported that there is no evidence that COVID-19 is a foodborne illness and is unlikely to spread through packaging.

COVID-19 May Be Spread Through Cold Air in Meatpacking Plants

The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused significant challenges for the meat industry.  So far, thousands of meatpacking plant workers have become infected with coronavirus and at least 20 have died.  Workers in meatpacking facilities tend to work within close proximity together, leading to extreme concerns about how transmission could be disabled.

Scientists have begun to study the interplay of cold temperatures, facility ventilation and common work conditions to better understand how these factors influence the spread of coronavirus in these conditions.

For food safety purposes, meatpacking plants leverage cold circulating air in facilities to keep meat fresh.  The cold temperatures and forceful ventilation are used to help kill off bacteria which may contaminate meat.  Studies seem to suggest that cold air may enable the virus to survive longer outside the human body and may actually serve to preserve the coronavirus so that viral particles can float airborne between workers.

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