You might have seen the empty shelves by now. Toilet paper and hand sanitizers are all but depleted. But, what are the toilet paper suppliers saying about the shortage? Are they going to meet demand?
If history serves…
Toilet paper takes a lot of space. For this reason, major retailers don’t like to stockpile supplies. And they haven’t had to before because they’ve never been out of stock in major retailers for more than a day or so. For this reason, toilet paper is generally a made-to-order item. It’s simply not profitable to keep large quantities on hand.
Of course retailers want to keep up with the panic buying, but how do they do that without creating a glut in the market? If they fulfilled demand now, and people had toilet paper stacked for the next six months, what happens in six months?
This is the very question Jeff Anderson, president of Precision Paper Converters, a paper product manufacturer outside Green Bay, Wisconsin, further stating, “We can’t make as much as they want right now.”
So, when are the retailers going to restock?
That is the big question, isn’t it? Most won’t commit to a timeline. Many retailers have been able to restock within the hour or day. But the shelves are emptying equally as fast.
Retailers are no stranger to the demands of crisis – like Katrina, for example. The difference is, however, now the crisis isn’t isolated to one area. It’s all over the country.
Walmart says it’s adjusting supply routes to keep up. Other companies are working to increase the frequency of deliveries. Even Nike has announced the closure of their stores. Meanwhile retailers have placed temporary limits on the number of toilet paper purchases allowed in a transaction.
What about labor? Can the manufacturers keep up with demand?
The majority of American-consumed toilet paper is made in North America. About 10% come from China and India. Imports from China and India have been delayed, but will slowly recover as workers over there recover from the coronavirus outbreak.
As Raccuia, who sells toilet paper to hotels and restaurants, put it, “It’s a matter of weeks, not months.”
What to pull from all of this…
I know we talked around a lot of it. Here’s the bottom line: There is no need to panic buy. It’s the panic that’s causing the shortage, not the coronavirus quarantine. Just buy for a couple of weeks, no more, and the stock will come around.
If you have any concerns or questions, let us know in the comments below. Stay healthy!
Learn more about the toilet paper shortage and what you can do
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