Staying Connected With Your GPO Group During Difficult Times
How Foodbuy Delivered Just-In-Time Communication at the Height of the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way businesses – and consumers – operate. While temporary closures kept people in their homes, business operators found new resources to leverage and ways to stay connected. Through every step of this crisis, the Foodbuy team was there for our GPO group members. Multiple teams united, from the communications department to member account managers. All to help our members get through the global crisis that no one anticipated.
2020: Facing a Pandemic
Rumors about a strange new virus may have begun circulating at the beginning of 2020, but the crisis didn’t feel real until businesses shutdown March and April. Almost overnight, Americans found themselves at stay at home, while hospitals became overwhelmed with cases and short on personal protective equipment. Across sectors, businesses and their employees were uncertain of the future.
As a key connector in the industry, Foodbuy’s initial response was to keep GPO group members supplied and informed. Our teams started by communicating with suppliers and distributors, passing along as much information as possible to our clients. This led to the creation of multiple tools that alerted members and sectors to:
Outbreaks at facilities
Plant and distribution center closures
Product shortages and recommended substitutes
In July of 2020, weekly coronavirus update calls were established. On top of this, daily bulletins were released to alert GPO group members and sectors of PPE and disinfectant shortages. In May, these bulletins were replaced by a detailed and regularly updated reopening guide.
While no one could predict when normalcy would resume, the Foodbuy teams did everything they could to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on our business partners.
2021: The New Normal
As vaccines became available, businesses across the nation – and the world – were still trying to adapt to the changed economic climate. Many businesses had reopened, albeit with restrictions, and consumers were beginning to resume their pre-pandemic activities.
As a result, the Foodbuy team replaced their reopening documents with Risk Summary Reports. These covered product, supplier, and distributor risk levels. This not only allowed operators to make informed purchasing decisions, but to know that their difficulties were normal for the time.
As a leading GPO group, transparency is one of our main priorities. This is more important than ever during tumultuous times. That’s why Foodbuy CEO, Dennis Hogan, sent out quarterly letters outlining our response plan. This included company-wide risk mitigation strategies as well as category-specific updates. No matter what, our teams wanted to keep our members connected and informed.
2022: Moving Forward
By January of 2022, foodservice industry volume had begun to return to pre-pandemic levels. Normal consumer activity like going out to eat and traveling returned with force due to pent-up demand.
As the global situation changed, so did the needs of the supply chain. The focus shifted to dealing with the economic impact of shutdowns and delays. Consumers were ready to start spending again, but the supply chain wasn’t fully recovered. Attempting to meet demand became a constant concern. Labor shortages hit every industry — especially affecting foodservice providers. Meanwhile, product shortages created hurdles for everyone from hospital to hotels.
Foodbuy account managers, category specialists, and communications experts leveraged the communication tools used during the thick of the pandemic to alert stakeholders of labor and supply shortage issues, as well as providing tools to combat the rising inflation plaguing the U.S. economy.
It’s the consultative elements and consistent communication that make Foodbuy more than a run-of-the-mill GPO group. We believe in transparency and collaboration, no matter what the world may throw at us. Learn more about becoming a member by visiting our Become a Member page now.