What's the problem at Whole Foods Market?

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What's the problem at Whole Foods Market?

By Gina Acosta - 01/19/2018

Whole Foods Markets is seemingly in the middle of another PR nightmare, as both shoppers and employees complain about a new supply chain issue.

According to Business Insider, shoppers and Whole Foods employees have been griping for months about out of stocks at stores across the country. 

Many customers are blaming Amazon, and speculating that the shortages could be due to a spike in shopper traffic in the wake of the acquisition.

But Whole Foods employees tell Business Insider that the problems began before the acquisition. They blame the shortages on a buying system called order-to-shelf that Whole Foods implemented across its stores early last year.

Business Insider spoke with seven Whole Foods employees, from cashiers to department managers, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

Order-to-shelf, or OTS, is a tightly controlled system designed to streamline and track product purchases, displays, storage, and sales. Under OTS, employees largely bypass stock rooms and carry products directly from delivery trucks to store shelves. It is meant to help Whole Foods cut costs, better manage inventory, reduce waste, and clear out storage.

But its strict procedures are leading to storewide stocking issues, according to several employees. Angry responses from customers are crushing morale, they say. 

Read the Business Insider story and see the photos of empty Whole Foods shelves here.