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[Blog] Reopening of supermarkets: planning for food supply

To : The government officials this may concern.
Dear Sirs,
With regards to the reopening of the supermarkets scheduled for next week, as a citizen, that this initiative might reveal an infectious `viral bomb` with the volume of consumers who will go on the premises of the supermarkets.
In a very short time lapse, this will threaten the health of:
1)      Supermarket staffs attending customers.
2)      Police and security staff on the various sites.
3)      The buyers themselves and the relatives.
4)      The population at large.

You only have to listen to 30 mins of any local radio to quite accurately forecast the immense crowd which will gather in front of all food outlets, and the Hercules’ task this will be for the police to contain such crowds, scattered all around the island and above all, frustrated and hungry.  
My humble proposal:
1)      Introduce a centralized order point:

a.       Till now, you have used the platforms of the various local retailers. These retailer platforms are heavy due to the numerous products, images, cookies, decorative features, etc. They are slow to load in normal days ( now imagine what this will be in these chaos days).

b.      Create a central government website, with no fuss, containing only the following packs:
                                                               i.      Basics ( flour, milk , cheese, margarine, rice, pulses, cans) approx.
                                                             ii.      Infant  ( infant milk, nappies, wipes,) approx.
                                                           iii.      Fresh ( Potatoes, onions, garlic, greens, fruits)
                                                           iv.      Hygiene ( Toilet paper, soap, etc)
                                                             v.      Veg ( vegetarian friendly products)
                                                           vi.      Pets ( Dog / cat food)
                                                          vii.      Beverages ( tea, coffe, juice, soft drinks, etc).

c.       Develop the above packs with the help of :
                                                               i.      A government dietician ( the pack should constitute enough supply for a family of 4 for 1 week)
                                                             ii.      Professional of the retail sector ( the product selection must be appropriate – they can use their point of sales statistics to recommend the bestselling products in each category)

d.      Control the prices of these packs ( by imposing a fix price). This will avoid the actual pricing hiccups in place with the actual solutions.

2)      Allocate each region to specific point of sales:

a.       Allocate each region and sub region to specific point of sales, using town and villages as boundaries and localities and sub region:

b.      Examples:
                                                               i.      Curepipe – Winners cover from forest Side to 16 eme mile , Sik Yuen covers the Curepipe Centre, Intermart cover Casernes, route du Jardin , Dream Price covers rue lees, malherbes, Spar covers Icery, etc.
                                                             ii.      Flacq – Super U covers Boulet blanc, etc Winners covers Riche Mare, Argy, etc,
                                                           iii.      Quatre Bornes – Super Unic covers sodnac , Winners cover boundary, cite père laval, Winners covers Candos, cite Kennedy, etc
c.       This can be very easily defined for the whole island.

3)      Link your allocated region to the central website:

a.       When people open your website, the first thing asked is the address and postal code. The second thing is the person’s name and ID number. The site then allocates the order to the concerned retail outlet.
b.      The website transmits, in real time, the orders to the supermarkets, based on the region and accompanied by the name /ID number.

4)      Supermarkets only have to prepare the packs in boxes, people place the order on the central ordering system and come to collect / pay.

5)      For collection, impose time frames and alphabetical order:
a.       Example: Day 1: 9hrs to 10hrs30 – letters A to F, 10hr30 to 12hrs – G to M, etc. Day 2: 9hrs to 10hr30 letters N to Q , etc

b.      You will in this manner ensure each household is able to buy food products every 2 days.

c.       To collect, people have to come in the suitable time frame, and show their ID to ascertain they have placed the order.

d.      They do not enter the stores to choose and spend time. They only pay, collect and leave. This minimizes human interaction and infectious risks.

6)      For people with special and specific needs, you can develop a specific corner where they can order once a week and collect as per above planning, but only once a week to minimize risks.

7)      For needy people, government may issue vouchers for people to redeem against any pack in the local retail outlet where they reside. This vouchers can then be claimed to government by retailers at an agreed rate ( maybe a discounted rate???). Thus will end this chaotic food pack distribution which to date seems to be more of a headache than a solution.
Please rest assured all the above are completely feasible in a very reasonable delay ( if they are done by knowledgeable persons with the right experience). A competent web developer can develop such websites within less than 1 day and the regionalization is quite an easy exercise.
I trust the above notes will help you to develop a proper food supply system that will reveal more efficient a fluid than everything tried up to now.



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