Stockpile substitution could have major consequences

Mar 17, 2020

The UK has seen panic-buying of products such as toilet paper set in as the scale of the coronavirus pandemic has grown. As a result, many consumers have also been stocking up on similar products like kitchen towels, assuming the two could be interchangeable in times of crisis. But the public is now being warned of some of the problems associated with swapping out products that appear on the surface to be analogous. The behaviour could have major impacts not just on supply chains, but also on sewage and plumbing systems.

“We are seeing shortages of toilet paper but worryingly also shortages of paper kitchen towels and industrial paper towel used for example, in garages and workshops and other wipe products,” said Richard Wilding, Professor of Supply Chain Strategy at Cranfield School of Management.

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