Global supply chain bottlenecks are feeding on one another, with shortages of components and flooding prices of critical raw materials squeezing manufacturers around the world. The supply shocks have been already shown economic shocks in some regions of countries. Thus, factories and retailers have faced a shortage in workforces. It is already too late to save all the Christmas retail season in many cases, as overwhelmed worldwide transportation networks limit supply – down to the home décor. “It would be wise to order your Christmas tree early”, said Jami Warner, executive director of the American Christmas Tree Association.
Retailers seek to hire more workers as Holiday Approach
Walmart, the country’s largest private employer with around 1.6 million U.S. workers, has announced a string of hiring goals in recent months. As the holiday comes closer, Walmart wants to ensure that they are ready to help its customers. In which, retailers are ready to compete with eCommerce platforms for hourly staff in a tight labor market. Julie Murphy, chief people officer for Walmart U.S. has announced that most positions will be offered as long-term store jobs and aimed to hire 20,000 warehouse staff to keep products flowing to stores and shoppers’ homes. She has also highlighted that for most of the roles, the minimum wages will be increased to $12 an hour and the average wages to $16.40. Heading into the holidays last year Walmart said it aimed to hire around 20,000 seasonal workers in eCommerce warehouses to meet surging online demand due to pandemic buying trends.
Amazon aims to hire 125,000 and more workers after hiring hundreds of thousands of employees during the pandemics. Also, Target Corp. aims to hire 100,000 seasonal workers and around 30,000 warehouse employees to support their holiday peak season.
Thus, most retailers are working to hire large numbers of staff ahead of holidays at a time when workers are scarce in many industries. Businesses from retailers and restaurants to amusement parks and manufacturers are competing for workers, in some cases offering pay raises, hiring bonuses, and other incentives.
Kroger Extends Reach with New Automated Grocery Delivery Site
While the shortage of workers and problems of supply-chain raises, Kroger Co. is using its partnership with grocery – warehouse technology provider Ocado Group to extend its reach with new automated fulfillment centers for online orders in the Northeast, Florida, and California. Ocado’s automation uses software, robotic and artificial intelligence to operate a warehouse with a minimum of humans in spaces that are more tightly confined than traditional distribution centers. Such highly automated fulfillment sites are aimed at delivering products faster and efficiently through the distribution system to customers’ homes, potentially providing a speed and cost advantage in the growing business of online grocery shopping.
Kroger, which operates Ralphs, Harris Teeter, and Dillons chains along with its name-brand stores, has been investing in online sales and delivery for several years, and the surge in online shopping since the pandemic began has given the effort more urgency. Investments in grocery delivery and automation come with the risk that consumers won’t want to absorb the extra costs of grocery delivery, said Sucharita Kodali, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc, who focuses on e-commerce and consumer behavior. However, retailers are scaling up to compete with the rapid growth in the market of Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc in its eCommerce fulfillment platforms.