ORLANDO, Fla. — In a new study of direct store delivery, in-stock levels were found to be at 98.2% — significantly higher than previous industry studies of in-stock conditions.
The study, which was discussed yesterday by a panel at the Food Marketing Institute/Grocery Manufacturers Association Supply Chain Conference here, was conducted by the GMA DSD Committee in concert with Willard Bishop Consulting, Barrington, Ill.
"You would expect DSD to have higher in-stock levels, but I don't think anyone would have expected 98.2%," said Jim Hertel, managing partner, Willard Bishop Consulting, who led the panel discussion.
Retailers that participated in the study include Cub Foods , Hannaford Bros. , Kroger , Safeway , Save Mart , Wegmans  and Winn-Dixie . Participating DSD vendors include Bimbo Bakeries, Dreyer, Flower Foods, Kellogg, PepsiCo, Schwan's, Snyder's-Lance, Kraft and Pepperidge Farm.
The analysis was done on Tuesday afternoons at participating stores, using "shelf-snap" photos of in-stock levels. In-stock was based on the presence or absence of a product on the shelf. In more than 100 similar studies of both DSD and warehouse-supplied products, the average in-stock level was about 94%, Hertel said. Other studies have put average in-stock conditions at 92%.
The new study also found an average of 13.1% "underfacings" — products with fewer shelf facings than what was assigned on a planogram. This compared with 30% underfacings in similarly conducted studies.
Hertel attributed the higher in-stock levels to more scorecarding of DSD vendors by retailers as well as application of best-practice techniques to eliminate out-of-stocks.
"There's tons of research on best practices and companies are making strides toward adopting that," said Hertel.