Setbacks in Aldi’s stock may be due to a number of reasons, with each store facing its own specific problems. After all, Aldi has been thriving during the pandemic, according to CNN, with customers gravitating towards discount stores for their groceries and essential needs. CNN reported that Aldi was expanding its reach and looked to be the third-largest supermarket chain in the United States by 2022.
The reason, however, that Aldi has been having recent stock problems may be due to their “just-in-time” approach to inventory management. According to the Guardian, Aldi’s founders use the philosophy of kaizen, the now widely embraced Japanese business idea of continuous improvement, when it comes to stocking their inventory. To reduce the bulk, Aldi is delivered stock only when it’s needed, thus cutting the cost of storing items that no one is buying.
This system enables Aldi to pursue its goal of providing customers with the lowest possible price, but, as The Balance notes, the “just-in-time” approach means working with a delicate supply chain. When a supplier runs into trouble, an unexpected customer surge occurs, or when the world is hit by a pandemic, the products no longer reach the shelves in time. Just as importantly, since Aldi customers know Aldi only stocks in an ad hoc manner, there may be runs on certain items — and then shortages. For this reason, in 2020, Aldi had to put customer limits on certain items as they faced shortages (via WCSJ News).