P&G Ramps Up to Fight New Toilet Paper Shortage

(Cincinnati Business Courier) Procter & Gamble is ramping up production of some of its products as a surge in coronavirus cases is causing consumers to stockpile in ways similar to the beginning of the pandemic.

A spokeswoman for P&G (NYSE: PG) confirmed the maker of Bounty and Charmin has ramped up production of some of its paper products back to 24/7 to increase shipping volumes as consumers strip shelves of toilet paper and paper towels.

“We are experiencing elevated consumption across both paper towels and bath tissue likely due to a combination of increased cleaning and trips to the store behind government stimulus, back to school and higher Covid incidences,” Erica Noble, senior director of brands and business performance, said in an email.

According to retail and consumer package goods (CPG) research firm IRI, paper products like toilet paper and paper towels were 86% in stock at the end of August. That percentage is lower than average, but not nearly as bad as the height of the buying frenzy at the beginning of the pandemic when those products were just 40% in stock, prompting retailers like Kroger to limit the number of products consumers could buy in one trip.

Noble said the shortage has prompted some of the same measures P&G used to keep products on shelves at the beginning of the pandemic, including increasing the production rate, adding staff, running manufacturing plants 24/7, reducing downtime and investing in increasing transportation.

Early in the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, P&G’s largest manufacturing site in the U.S., in Mehoopany, Pa., remained open as an essential business, cranking out Charmin toilet paper at record levels, despite a state-ordered shutdown on most businesses.

Indeed, with many workers staying at home and working remotely, P&G saw a surge in demand for its products – both paper and home cleaning, which led to strong sales gains amid the worst of the pandemic-related shutdowns of schools, businesses and retail establishments.

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