The challenges to the industry include:
1. Regulations and requirements. The country of origin labelling, which Wild Oats has already complied with, but will leave some problems out there, especially for the growers because the retailers are going to shove the identity down that low. Procedures for displaying organic are additional issues. Insurance is a big problem for the small growers; they cannot come to us without insurance, especially in terms of food safety. What we are doing is working with the Farm Bureau to put together a blanket policy for 6 to 8 growers to participate so we can use those growers.
2. Traceability. Traceability is a major issue and one that the industry is worried about. I know the FDA wants to be able to trace the food should there be a food safety problem. That requires records on our part and on the part of the growers, and this represents an added burden.
3. Supply of product, which has been talked about, is also a concern. We need to get additional sources of supply, especially during the winter, so that we can continue the growth in organic.
4. Transportation is going to become a critical challenge. Most of the small retailers, like Wild Oats, don’t own trucks. So, the issue is both the availability of trucks and the cost of fuel. The recent changes in the cost of fuel have been scary. Another component of that is that the trucking industry says in the next 6 years, half of their drivers will retire.
5. “Modified” products — GMOs — are also a challenge. We are going to have problems with this, especially in our industry as we try to make sure that consumers don’t worry about modified products and organic food.
6. Consumer product and industry knowledge is also a challenge. On the retail end, because the cost of goods and of growing organic food is higher, we have a problem with sticker shock. Produce is not so bad, but meat and some of the other goods are. So, we have to look at consumer education and talk about the benefits of organic food. This is a huge challenge for us
Identifying Physical Challenges & Barriers to Employee Excellence
Employees in every position of the retail operation need physical tools to do their job well. Ladders, mops, brooms, pens, pencils (with erasers), rubber bands, forms, ink, computer paper, receipt paper, and toilet paper are examples. When physical supplies are missing or not easily accessible to the employees who need them, it creates hassles, time delays, and substandard execution with tasks.
Examples of Physical Challenges & Barriers (Supplies that are missing, inaccessible, or absent)
• Forms or templates are outdated and require workarounds
• System glitches, slowdowns, malfunctions, complications
• Equipment is broken or inadequate
• Cleaning or office supplies don’t exist or are frequently out of stock
• Supplies aren’t easily accessible when and where needed
• Don’t have the right tool for the right job (hammering with shoes, opening boxes with keys, box cutters as screwdrivers)