Food suppliers channel logistics resources to address demand

August 03, 2021 | 10:57
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Supermarkets, pharmacies, and logistics firms gearing up to supply food to consumers are now scrambling with the large amounts of undelivered orders amidst a shortage of shippers.
Virus-hit areas are trying to smooth out measures on delivery services, Photo: Le Toan
Virus-hit areas are trying to smooth out measures on delivery services. Photo: Le Toan

Guardian Vietnam is among 20 companies in retail and logistics to support the “Veggies Campaign,” an initiative launched by Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade. The health and beauty retailer is now leveraging its store coverage and capability in sourcing and logistics to bring essentials such as vegetables, rice, and eggs to residents of Ho Chi Minh City, mitigating the impact of the current food crisis and providing support for farmers in other southern provinces.

About 12 tonnes of fresh vegetables and 6,000 eggs have been sold every day across 66 Guardian stores in the city. Although it has faced obstacles in mounting the operation, the team is committed to ensuring the quality of fresh produce in their inventory and pricing them within the cap set by the local authorities, as reported by Retail Analysis.

Another company, VinShop, has also joined the same initiative. VinShop is a mobile app allowing grocery store owners to get hundreds of products from suppliers in one order within a day. With 5,000 points of sale in the city, it has quickly arranged its supply chain to meet the growing demand for fresh produce.

Vo Duy Phu, chief of Growth and Marketing at One Mount Distribution, which owns VinID & VinShop, told VIR, “VinShop has heavily invested in technology infrastructure, the warehouse system, and also an extensive delivery team, helping us to speed up progress and set up the supply chain for fruit and vegetables within just a few days. However, our grocers do not have much experience and competitive advantages in selling such items. Therefore, they have to gradually learn how to preserve and sell the items properly to their customers.”

Meanwhile, Nhat Tin Logistics is actively channelling all its resources to participate in the programme. General manager Nguyen Van Tu said, “Since July, Nhat Tin Logistics has implemented price-stabilisation points to sell fruits and vegetables at its post offices. The initiative aims to facilitate consumers to buy food at reasonable prices so that people can feel secure during social distancing. Thanks to the citywide network of post offices and a fleet of hundreds of trucks, Nhat Tin Logistics can provide about 5-10 tonnes of fruits and vegetables per day to consumers.”

Tu noted that the company is preparing to launch mobile points of sale named Mobile Post, an improved truck model that functions and operates like a mobile post office selling various types of goods. The new solution will make shopping more convenient and bring essential items closer to consumers during the pandemic.

After solving the problem of ensuring a smooth supply chain from the suppliers to points of sale, many supermarkets and retail chains continue to face new difficulties in distributing goods to consumers because delivery services are being tightened.

According to Saigon Co.op, the volume of goods at points of sale is gradually stabilising and starting to increase when the transportation and gathering of goods from provinces to Ho Chi Minh City has been more convenient than at the beginning of the implementation of social distancing. However, the backlog of online orders is still quite large and the delivery of goods to customers is also facing a lot of issues due to new regulations narrowing the list of goods to be delivered.

Nguyen Vu Diem Thi, marketing director of Saigon Co.op, said that a list of more than 100 essential goods will be sent to areas in need. Each area will send a focal point to record the needs of the people and then aggregate them into an order. Saigon Co.op will deliver goods to the focal point to redistribute to individuals and households in locked-down and quarantined areas twice a week.

The AEON supermarket system has also decided to suspend online sales in the southern region from July 26 due to difficulties in finding shippers. AEON Vietnam supermarkets are focusing on processing old orders of customers ordered by phone, messages, and app, and stopped receiving online orders, including purchases by phone and through Grab or Now applications.

“Completely meeting people’s online shopping needs in the context of applying social distancing measures has become a huge challenge for supermarkets,” said a representative of AEON Vietnam.

To address the need for essential goods, AEON organised nine mobile selling outlets in Ho Chi Minh City from July 27, double compared to the previous week and providing more than 10 tonnes of essential goods to hundreds of households in the three districts of Tan Phu, Binh Tan, and District 6.

By Oanh Bui

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