Baking & Snack - May 2020 - 103

OPERATIONS
Logistics

SHIFTING

Maintaining flexible distribution routes can help during seasonal rushes ... or pandemics.
by Nico Roesler

T

The sudden surge in retail food purchases caused by panic-buying over coronavirus (COVID-19) created a distribution crisis that had bakers rethinking their strategies.
Some bakeries were well-suited to make needed adjustments and feed consumers through the unprecedented
and unpredictable surge in bread sales. By adopting logistics strategies that combined direct store delivery (DSD)
with foodservice routes, some bakeries had a built-in level
of flexibility in case demand spiked in either channel.
However, nothing could prepare them totally for what hit
in March. The immediate and dramatic shift to DSD-only
put some bakeries into overdrive. The long-lasting effects
could forever change distribution models.

Making moves
Bakeries with established DSD infrastructures met the
increased need well when stay-at-home orders were
issued and consumers began stockpiling staples like
bread. Still, the dramatic cutback in foodservice deliveries prompted massive adjustments in the services bakeries with DSD infrastructure provide.
Aunt Millie's, Fort Wayne, Ind., operates a DSD network throughout the Great Lakes area and was well-

positioned to serve its customers. Many of its restaurant
and retail customers were already on the same routes. This
aided the company as it shifted volume to retail grocers.
"We were prepared with our transportation and distribution as we are when we prepare for big summer
holidays," said J. Bohn Popp, executive vice president of
quality and brand strategy, Aunt Millie's. "So, we were
ready to handle that aspect. But the biggest challenge
and necessity was the safety of our sales team."
Aunt Millie's instituted a temperature testing program
for all sales and delivery team members before they go to
work at its bakeries and distribution centers. For those
team members, the company set a schedule of balanced
orders to allow them to be in the stores early, ahead of
opening, to keep them away from the public.
"This was a particular challenge due to the increased
demand, so we had to develop a bakery cutoff time to
meet the branch/depot schedule," Mr. Popp said.
Additional steps included implementing a staggered
employee rotation at depots so no more than three associates are in the same location at the same time. The bakery
is also providing gloves and masks as they are available.
Mr. Popp explained that the DSD infrastructure al-

Combining DSD and
foodservice routes
allows bakeries to make
quick adjustments based
on seasonal needs or
increased demand.
┬ęPaul - stock.adobe.com

www.bakingbusiness.com / May 2020 Baking & Snack 103


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Baking & Snack - May 2020

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