In September 2017, one month after the acquisition and Mackey’s initial statement, Whole Foods quietly announced it would be discontinuing parts of its local sourcing program. “Instead of allowing brands to frequently pitch their products to individual stores or regions,” the Wall Street Journal reported, “Whole Foods executives in its Austin, Texas, headquarters will choose a higher percentage of the inventory.”
When all you have is a hammer, the world is made of nails. I saw a quote on Twitter about that whole Amazon/Berkshire/Morgan healthcare thing. Someone pointed out that nobody would predict success if Aetna, CVS and ETrade decided that they hated their computers and wanted to get into the computing business. It's taken Amazon two flipping years to successfully open a convenience store; how, exactly they'd improve a high-end grocery store remains a mystery to me.
Small businesses that stocks the shelves and takes care of their own inventory, why would you want to mess with that?! That Amazon Go store has me scratching my head, most grocery stores around here has had handscanners for self-checkout for like ten years by now, the friction is already minimal. But I guess they just want to suck up more customer data for marketing.
The acceptable number of ”holes” in the shelves when I worked in grocery was 1% of all items excluding perishables like fruits and vegetables. A lot of time was spent figuring out why those items were missing, searching for them in the back or filling out the shelves with other stuff in the interim. Most supply issues was due to the just-in-time deliveries being just-too-late. There’s some room for data-driven improvement, but not much, unless they want to start cracking open those display cases at the warehouse to avoid the surplus ending up on a mixed pallet in the back. Last place I worked at we had a couple of those from the day before to go through in the evening before closing.
Oh, and like five pallets of sugar. Apparently the owners (a Swedish distributor) of the chain managed to buy up the whole stock real cheap from a sugar factory in Poland that was shutting down. While in transit Big Sugar got wind of this and dumped their prices, which lead to them having to push it all out to their own stores.