Here’s when you should shop to find paper products, according to a supply chain expert

ATLANTA — Store employees are working day and night to continuously restock shelves amid the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the hardest-to-find items remain paper products. We’re talking about toilet paper and paper towels.

Channel 2’s Kristen Holloway spoke to a supply chain expert to learn about the issues and when those items will be back on store shelves. It turns out timing is everything.

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It started back in March when store shelves were wiped clean of all kinds of paper products.

Alan Erera, a Georgia Industrial and Systems Engineering and Logistics Professor, said toilet paper use at home went up by 40 percent and it wasn’t easy for suppliers in the supply chain to keep up with that shift.

“These supply chains are very lean,” Erera said. “They have very low inventories and this demand spike is really significant. Forty percent is a big number.”

So if you’re looking for those coveted paper goods, we found out stores get deliveries on certain days and even that schedule has changed based on demand.

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“It’s really hard to predict right now when the best days or times really to shop at stores but it’s true a lot resupply happens in the overnight hours so in general it’s a good bet to go early in the day,” Erera said.

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Erera said you still might see shortages in the coming weeks but soon things will eventually get back to normal.

“If we get more people back into commercial settings, people going back to work, people using restaurants again, whenever that picks up again. I think the supply chains will be better suited to meet the typical demand,” Erera said.

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It’s not just paper products that have been low, there’s also a big shortage of meat. Whether it’s beef, chicken or pork, experts said there’s a very good reason why we’re seeing a shortage in grocery stores.

“We’ve had over 5,000 COVID-19 positives in the meat processing work force and this has really forced a lot of meat companies to shut down and so we’re definitely seeing the shortages of that right now,” said Wendy White with the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

White said within a couple weeks we should start to see things return to normal.

“We’ll have shortages here and there but it won’t be as pronounced as we’re seeing right now,” White said.