by Brianna Crandall — April 1, 2020 — With the current high demand for toilet paper, wipes, soap and hand sanitizer and related products due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GP PRO, the away-from-home division of paper and building products manufacturer Georgia-Pacific, issued an update March 24 on how supply is holding up.
Eric Abercrombie, spokesperson for Georgia-Pacific, issued the following statement:
Given the current situation surrounding the coronavirus/COVID-19, and just cold and flu season in general, we anticipate more hand washing — especially given how everyone is focused on and talking about good hand hygiene and preventing the spread of germs.
We do expect some “away from home” activity to decline as business travel and vacation plans change, along with companies encouraging employees to work from home when it makes sense. However, in recent weeks we have seen a 10X increase in demand with sanitizer products.
For our retail business, we have seen a significant increase in orders over the last several weeks. As it relates to toilet paper, these increases have been as high as 2x our normal demand.
We are quickly responding to our customers’ needs by expediting product that optimizes our existing inventory, increasing production, and utilizing a managed distribution process to smartly manage through this unusual period.
Based on IRI panel data, along with the US Census, the average US household (2.6 people) uses 409 equivalized regular rolls per year. Using our own calculations, staying at home 24/7 would result in ~140% increase vs. average daily usage. Therefore, to last approximately two weeks, a two-person household would need ~9 double rolls, or ~5 mega rolls. A 4-person household would need ~17 double rolls, or~ 9 mega rolls to last approximately 2 weeks.
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen significant demand pull, specifically in Retail (Tissue and Towel) and Sanitizers (GP PRO), and we expect to see those trends continue for the time being. As a company, we have teams working closely together (category, sales, operations, transportation and supply chain) to deliver as much product as we possibly can. In addition, we have been working with key suppliers to ensure we have enough packaging supplies to maximize the quantity of product we can deliver to customers.
Inventory levels across our system remain healthy, and we are working hard to maximize the number of deliveries we can load and ship out of our facilities — you can just load and unload so fast. Last week our mills and regional distribution centers managed to ship out ~120% of normal capacity. We also are working with customers to have direct shipments when possible to reduce distribution time. We currently don’t have any issues with carrier capacity (trucks and trailers) to ship.
When will retail store shelves be restocked? While the timing is uncertain due to many variables in the supply chain process, our primary focus is to do all we can to meet consumer demand. We’re quickly responding by expediting product that optimizes our existing inventory, increasing production, and utilizing a managed distribution process to smartly manage through this unusual period.
Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific and its subsidiaries are major manufacturers and marketers of bath tissue, paper towels and napkins, tableware, paper-based packaging, cellulose, specialty fibers, nonwoven fabrics, building products and related chemicals. Familiar consumer brands include Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Dixie, enMotion, Sparkle, Mardi Gras and Vanity Fair.