The pandemic paved the way for the increase in paper towel sales, however, inventory is running low. It could be rooted from the way companies manufacture paper towels.
Many people still find it hard to find their preferred brands of paper towels. When the pandemic happened, shoppers hoarded supplies, leaving a shortage for the others. But increased demand might not be entirely to blame. Try how companies make toilet paper, a WSJ article suggests.
Paper Towel Shortage
When the pandemic started, a lot of people panicked and bought tons of paper towels. It caused a drop in paper towel inventory among stores, becoming out of stock in several retailers.
Although finding paper towels for sale hasn't been quite as difficult as it was when the pandemic first hit the United States, finding them — especially at a normal price — still isn't always easy https://t.co/5cs7PHqQXk
— CNN Business (@CNNBusiness) September 13, 2020
And though the shortage is not much felt now than the early days of the health crisis, CNN Business said that finding paper towel remains difficult for many. Moreover, some paper towel prices also boosted, simply, a supply and demand dilemma. Or if one prefers the more affordable ones, they can’t remain picky over the brand they want.
Boost in Paper Towel Sales
Moreover, the publication noted that people hoarded paper towels. Meanwhile, Bounty’s sales increased in July, Procter & Gamble reported. Also, the Wall Street Journal pointed out that year-over-year sales of paper towels rose by 154 percent in March.
But panic buying seems not the only culprit in the lack of paper towels.
Manufacture of Paper Towels
Both CNN and the WSJ pointed out that the way companies manufacture their products could contribute to the shortage. The so-called “lean production” used by paper towel factories failed to keep up with the demand.
Basically, lean manufacturing refers to a model that reduces waste in a process. In turn, manufacturers only produce output based on how many would sell. This model keeps operation costs low while maximizing profits. Toyota actually popularized the method, which several automakers and paper towel manufacturers adapt.
The Journal argues that paper towel shortages stem from the manufacturers’ desire to keep production low. And then, when the pandemic hit the country, the model did not really stand. Hence, the lack of paper towel inventory.
Meanwhile, CNN also reported that the Lean Enterprise Institute does not entirely place the blame on lean production. According to the research group, manufacturers can not proceed with making paper towels with incomplete materials. Supply chains also possibly closed amid the pandemic. As a result, companies could not boost production.