Supply chain and logistics consultancy SCALA has today announced the start of a COVID-19 supply chain emergency working group, bringing together companies supplying the grocery retail sector to ensure that the industry can “Feed the Nation”.

The working group, known as the COVID-19 Supply Chain Collaboration Group, has already had commitments from over 20 of the UK’s leading grocery manufacturers. The group will initially bring together many of the UK’s foremost manufacturers and suppliers of food, drink and other consumer essentials, and intends to expand rapidly and link with retailers, food service and logistics companies.

The first online working group is on Wednesday 25 March, and the group will work together to co-ordinate ongoing industry initiatives, share ideas and collaborate with one another and the wider industry, all with the goal of supplying the UK and ensuring businesses and consumers alike have the essentials they need to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

Group discussions will take the format of both a private discussion forum where members can share ideas, as well as weekly virtual conferences each Wednesday with all members invited to collaborate, with membership completely free to all organisations that wish to join. As well as bringing the group together, SCALA will act as a trusted neutral advisor, ensuring confidentiality and best-practice is followed at all times.

Consumer stockpiling due to the COVID-19 pandemic has both led to product shortages in major supermarkets across the country, and significantly increased volume of home deliveries. This has in turn caused major disruption throughout the supply chain as businesses struggle to ensure that shelves are restocked quickly and efficiently, while dealing with staff shortages that cut available manpower by as much as 25%.

John Perry, managing director at SCALA, said: “In these uncertain times, it has never been more important for us to all join forces, share our expertise and work together to combat the volatility of COVID-19 and keep the nation fed.

“The UK is relying on the supply chain industry arguably more than ever before, and no-one should underestimate the efforts that will be required from drivers, key warehouse staff, planners and management teams over the coming weeks. As an industry renowned for its resilience in the face of adversity – the last few years of political turmoil being a prime example of this – we’ll get through this, but collaboration will be key.

“We are proud to be assisting in the initiatives in bringing the industry together, and would urge any business that is looking to offer their support, or is unsure of what the coming weeks may bring, to come and speak with us.”

For more information, please visit https://www.scalagroup.co.uk or email alison.hobson@scalagroup.co.uk