(Mirror Daily, United States) – Ever since Whole Foods was bought by Amazon, the grocery chain has been facing stocking issues that left its shelves empty many times.
Customers have often complained about the empty-shelf problem, but Whole Foods employees point the finger at a stocking system designed to make the business more effective.
People have initially said that the problem lies with Amazon, a company well-known for its rabid practices of cost-cutting and getting the most out of its employees. However, a recent report shows that the inventory issues have been ongoing before the merger.
Whole Foods workers told Business Insider that a ruthless inventory system called order-to-shelf (OTS) is largely to blame for the empty shelves. OTS was launched nationwide in the spring of 2017.
The new system seeks to eliminate stockrooms and send employees directly to trucks to get the products. Next, the products land directly on the shelves without the need of a stockroom.
Whole Foods Has Gone Too Far
In theory, the changes should help trim some costs, reduce waste, and save storage space. However, in practice, it has created more problems than it solved. Whole Food workers acknowledge that the previous inventory-management system was bad too, but with the new one, the organic food giant has gone “too far”.
OTS puts drastic limits on inventory in order to keep shelves full, but having no extra products in stockrooms. After the new stocking system was implemented, employees only have access to around one-quarter of what they used to get.
Workers complain that their departments are easily running out of products, entire aisles are empty and meat and seafood sometime need to go into the same freezer. Many Whole Foods employees described the new system as “militaristic” for being too strict and leaving no space for error.
What’s more, managers are disciplined now even if one box is “facing the wrong way” and OTS has “crushed” morale of employees as they can get penalized for having an empty shelf.
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