A message from Chartwells about national supply chain issues

November, 2021
Good afternoon, 

One of the goals of our partnership is to provide regular updates and to be as transparent as possible with activities that impact our local teams. As you've undoubtedly seen over the last few months, there has been a lot of discussion about the global supply chain and the stress on child nutrition programs both nationally and here in Pennsylvania. For the most part we have been rather insulated, however, today we received news from our primary distributor and that they are making some changes over the next several weeks that will have a greater impact. 
What Is Happening in Southeastern Pennsylvania

Today, our distribution partner alerted us to additional deterioration in both product availability and their service capability given ongoing labor challenges both in the warehouse and with delivery. As a result, they have limited their number of deliveries and have reduced their capacity by 25% into the first week of December. We are working closely with them to prioritize as much as possible, and they are taking the situation very seriously. For example, they explained that hiring and training a high percentage of the workforce will take likely until the end of December and they feel relatively confident that the operational challenges will be abated by then. 

What You Can Expect

Let me reiterate that our dedicated teams will continue to demonstrate their flexibility and resourcefulness in making sure every student is fed. However, we ask for you and your school community's continued flexibility, patience and understanding because we anticipate there will be:

  • Menu substitutions, given more limited delivery times and vendor capacity
  • Alternative items to some of students' favorites, given that product availability continues to get tighter, especially around what we call "center of the plate" items that are compliant with the USDA's National School Lunch Program Understanding parents and students may have more questions, we have found this video from the School Nutrition Association helpful in explaining the current situation and encourage you to share it with your school community as it is helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEwOa9Mx7WQ

 

What We're Doing Now

We are working with our team to ensure they have the necessary support and we are spending a significant amount of time behind-the-scenes identifying alternative sources for items - including some very local - as well as utilizing some non-traditional vendors for things like paper goods.

 

I can't stress enough our commitment to you and to your students, but I would be remiss if I didn't provide background on the additional strain on the system and how it is impacting our team locally. We are lucky to have excellent leaders in our districts and can assure you we are doing everything we can to work collaboratively and continue to meet your students' needs despite these national issues. 


Please feel free to reach out with any questions, concerns or need for further clarity. 

Warm Regards, 

Gene Sanchez

RVP, Chartwells K12

Gene.sanchez@compass-usa.com

215-622-2134 


***

September 2021


Over the past few months, you may have seen news stories about disruptions in the supply chain across the country, resulting from the effects of the pandemic.  Industries, including food and foodservice, as well as construction and automotive, have been impacted by manufacturing and labor shortages across the country in ways that we’ve never experienced before. 


At Quakertown Community School District, students and families can continue to count on us for serving quality meals, but as you may have already seen, there will likely be more frequent menu changes based on product substitutions from our suppliers. 


Understanding these supply chain challenges will likely continue for the next several months, we wanted to reach out and let you know we’re doing everything we can to proactively address issues before they inevitably arise.  Working in partnership with Foodbuy, our group purchasing organization and the largest procurement organization in North America, some of the proactive steps we have taken, include:

  • We have changed our ordering schedules to allow distributors more time to identify new sources for out-of-stock products in the event it occurs.
  • We’ve identified alternate suppliers and products where we found that existing ones wouldn’t be able to meet our needs. For example, we learned our previous supplier for pizza dough would not be able to commit to serving our schools, so we contracted with a new one that can.
  • In June, we planned menus for this fall and began placing orders for food at that time. This process was designed to help suppliers and distributors plan well ahead for stock we need to serve kids now.

If there’s one thing the past 18 months has proven, it’s that flexibility is in our DNA.  From turning cafeteria operations into emergency feeding programs overnight when the pandemic hit to serving kids in classrooms and through meal-kit pick up sites through the past school year, our team is passionate about the meals we serve your students and they’re skilled at quickly adapting to ensure that kids are always fed. 


One additional note for families with students who have allergies: please remind your child to be sure to check with the cafeteria manager regarding product substitutions that may not be reflected in the menu posted.  We will make every attempt to update Nutrislice in real-time, but out of an abundance of caution, please do not solely rely on the digital nutrition panels to accommodate allergies or medical conditions.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding your student’s meals, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Pete Kelley at pkelley@qcsd.org.


Thank you in advance for your patience and flexibility during this time.


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