As I went into the freezer this morning to retrieve the frozen waffles for my kids breakfast I was warmed by the fact that there were actually waffles to get. The last few months have been very difficult as the ability to procure Eggo Waffles has been difficult. As many of you may be aware, two things have plagued Kellogg’s in making these wonderful waffles; one is a flood at their Atlanta factory last fall and the second are production line repairs at their largest bakery in Tennessee. Try explaining that to a 3, 5, and 6 year old. They don’t care about the problems, they just want their cinnamon waffles. I think my family is not alone, there are numerous posts on Twitter and Facebook as well as many other blog posts about it. Unfortunately, these shortage problems are expected to last until the middle of this summer.
Each week that I went to the store and saw a sign “Eggo Waffles are temporarily experiencing a shortage” on the freezer door my heart started pounding thinking about the drama I would have to endure at home. This made me think about the whole issue of the supply chain breaking down for this product that is beloved by so many people. I can’t remember in recent history (other than Elmo at Christmas) any time where a consumer product was missed so much by so many. How could this happen??
Obviously, you can’t predict a natural disaster or even some technical repairs, but you could prepare for both of these unpredictable events if you had the ability to simulate these types of changes and understand the financial and operational impact in advance. With a capability to simulate demand changes or supply changes, a company could put in place backup measures to ensure that if this event occurs they could minimize the disruption to their business. Being able to respond to unpredictable events is clearly not unique to Kellogg’s; it is something all manufacturers should think about. The world today is very unpredictable with many natural disasters, the state of the economy, political issues, etc.; I think it would be wise for everyone to plan for the unexpected and be able to respond quickly to change… as I would hate to go through the “Great Eggo Disaster” again with any other product.