April 2020 - Online surges. The return of a Klasik. Small business trumps supermarkets.

Date Posted:2 April 2020 


History is a race between education and catastrophe.” — H.G. Wells



April 2020

With many retail outlets closed and supermarkets letting us all down in their failures to manage abnormal demands, we thank you for responding positively to sensibly stock up on essential supplies.

Unfortunately, as consumers switched to online, freight has become a serious challenge and it's only going to get slower and more difficult.

Logistics around the country was already at capacity before the coronavirus event, so now we all need to adjust to the different conditions.

Freight congestion is a fact of life under this new regime, so we ask our customers to be patient and take a moment to think before sending us messages of complaint due to transit delays - it's not our fault and we are powerless to remedy transit delays.

During this crisis, freight companies are handling extreme volumes and in response they are forced to operate with less than 50% of their normal staff levels in parcel depots to comply with physical distancing protocols.

Parcels may sit stationary in some depots until they can be processed, but we will continue to push hard to get your orders out the door and on the road as fast as we possibly can. So far, we are still exceeding our 99% ship rates despite increased volumes.

Freight companies are now collecting earlier from our facility each afternoon and these pickup times are shifting earlier and later without notice. This enables freight companies to sort and prepare freight for connecting with line-haul instead of waiting till the crazy late afternoon crush with less staff on deck.

Bottom line - we can't control what time our freight is being collected during the coronavirus event, so please consider placing orders earlier in the day if you need it sent out the same day to avoid missing the collection cut-off.

We are also grateful to the many messages of kind thanks as it helps keep our spirits high - really appreciated.

By now most of you are aware of the changes implemented over the last 3 weeks in how parcel deliveries are made to your premises. All freight companies moved to a Contact-less delivery and it's both a sensible and practical measure of safety for everyone.

It's designed to reduce the requirement to attend parcel collection outlets or Post Offices and hence lower the levels of human-to-human contact.

All parcels are delivered with safe drop and no signatures are obtained.

It's important that you are aware the delivery agent may not knock on your door (although they are supposed to), so please don't be surprised or annoyed because this again is the abnormal environment everyone must operate within.

We do ask you be more vigilant than ever in checking any communications sent to you by AusPost or Sendle - remember, we don't see these messages and tracking notifications are not from us as the shipping provider sits between us and you. Please keep watching those tracking notifications as parcels may just mysteriously appear on your doorstep, or be hidden somewhere out of sight !

This month we are doing something different and there will be no Secret Label for April, however there is something else we hope can help.

With the economy screeching to a sudden slowdown, or in some cases frozen, we need be mindful there are constraints that will continue over the coming months.

Many people have lost their jobs or stood down, businesses are at risk of failure and households needed to stock up on excess supplies to ride through an unknown period of social isolation, effectively blowing budgets on non-perishables with some even having enough toilet paper to last a year !

The financial stress is extreme and we get it.

Making matters worse, the Aussie dollar is down by more than 17% and that's caused coffee prices to spike up along with all the other imported products making things even more expensive - however, now is not the time to talk about how that plays out and we are absorbing this increase.

Fresh produce has also risen as the costs involved in transporting goods around the country are higher and shortages are causing periodic price spikes. The typical supply and demand models that normally influence pricing of goods have been thrown out the window.

In place of April's Secret Label, we have prepared a humble, retro coffee blend to offer you a chance at helping save a bit of money. The return of a KLASIK.

It's no rock star, but a decent, honest coffee that represents great value - it's also freshly roasted every day and "safe dropped at your door". For a short time only, or until those lots used in Klasik remain available.


the return of a great value klasik

With no Secret Label this month, it's not because have don't have enough new coffees to put together something amazing, heck, we took another 8 tons of new stuff last week, but let's face it the situation with this coronavirus event is delicate and sensitive, hence it demands a different style of play.

There is no doubt the pandemic is causing financial distress for many people. Stocking up on extra levels of household essentials means budget expenses are blown and for some that's only adding to the stress and anxiety of a looming health crisis.

With the Aussie dollar recently falling up to 17% and all coffees traded in USD, it's had an immediate impact upon the rise of coffee prices - close to 20%.

Now is certainly not the time to talk about higher costs and we are absorbing these increases for the time being.

During April we have built a new Klasik blend and offering it at a discounted price.

A humble, decent, rewarding and solid coffee with punchy cup attributes and more importantly it represents great value, fresh roasted daily and safe dropped at to your door all around Australia.

Klasik's got plenty of oomph, with dark chocolate, delicate citrus acidity, honey, cocoa, nuts and a long, rich caramel finish in the cup.

Reminiscent of those old-school flavour bombs that existed in the coffee world back 20 years ago.

Versatile and smooth with great classic coffee flavors - an iron fist in a velvet glove.

This special offer is unlikely to run for a long period as we have only a limited amount of the lots used to make the blend. Once it's gone, that's it.

Sorry, no 500g packs and no ground packs - whole bean 1kg packs only.

Grab it here - Klasik


How small business ran circles around the epic failures of supermarkets

Australia's dominant supermarkets have been flexing their muscles and growing for 35 years at the expense of local general stores, but with all their might and power they clearly appeared utterly clueless in an epic failure to understand and manage the problems of panic buying and hoarding, taking way too long to properly limit purchase quantities.

A staggering amount of basic food and personal items have been intermittently unavailable from supermarkets and retailers due to terribly selfish acts of behavior from a minority of hoarders.

This quickly led consumers to shift online in search of goods - an environment that's perhaps easier to regulate against panic or excessive buying patterns.

At best estimate, it's going to take more than the theoretical couple of weeks to repair the damage of supply chain failures at supermarkets - because quite simply the panic will not subside and even today it's showing no signs of abating on many basic necessities.

It took 4 attempts for the proper level of controls to be enforced in supermarkets - combining reduced opening times with more sensible purchase limits.

If further lock down restrictions occur (and we believe this will happen as the peak is not yet upon us) then some grocery shortages may stretch to a month at a minimum.

Despite assurances to citizens there is enough food to feed Australia, these claims are not entirely true as supply chains are breaking and already have broken across many industries.

Even our own suppliers are experiencing major difficulties in providing continuity and we are certainly carrying more risks today than this same time last month.

Of course, there are many theories, conspiracies and stories everyone can share about how and why panic buying happening, but the fact is the combination of events has escalated to levels of crisis that large supermarkets and many suppliers are unable to manage in the short-term, despite hollow reassurances from supermarket CEO's and politicians.

As an example, a few weeks ago to comply with social distancing we placed an order online with Coles for delivery to our work premises. What a terrible decision.

Our reasonably small Coles Online order was placed before the panic buying spread from toilet paper and hand sanitizer to other pantry items and before the supermarket online portals were shutdown as they grappled with how to manage the surge in demand.

It resulted in utter disaster - Coles, you should be ashamed.

Waiting 7 days for a basic delivery was no big deal and we remained patient, happy and quietly confident the items we ordered would arrive as they were in stock when we placed the order.

But Coles never attempted to tell us they weren't going to supply literally everything on our order despite Coles sending us an email an hour before delivery to say our order was on the way. We had no warning the stuff we wanted and needed on the order was never going to be supplied - just disgraceful.

What arrived after patiently waiting 7 days was just a few bottles of fruit juice - no food and no groceries. If that order was for an elderly or house-bound citizen, they would have starved to death. No communications, no warning, nothing from Coles - even since this debacle, not even a basic follow up or apology.

It took Coles 7 days for their truck to take nothing off already empty supermarket shelves and drive the short 3 kilometres for delivery of just a few bottles of juice......not a single thing we could eat, what a joke and a crap effort from Coles whilst their CEO was claiming there was plenty of inventory in distribution centres.

Had we known Coles Online would treat customers like that, we would never have bothered and could have easily picked up more items by attending a store or supporting our local traders that surprisingly had items most households needed.

So once again it was left to the many small business engines of Australia that are far better equipped to pivot rapidly in an emergency while the Titanic supermarkets continued to blindly smash into icebergs using lame excuses such as "uncharted territory".

Plenty of small food supply businesses switched from wholesale only to open for public to provide much needed supply capacity.

The story now for us is about ensuring we have sufficient supplies to fill our customer order - we replenished some of our carton stocks, but there are still some challenges in that area as the incredible demands upon packaged goods has hit our carton supplier hard (largest packaging supplier in Australia) and whilst we normally hold around 20+ tons of raw coffee in our warehouse, that inventory has been rapidly diminished over the month at rates close to triple the norm, so we are sitting a bit lower at the moment - having 11 tons inbound in the last week has helped plug some holes, but not all.

Some of our coffee origins are running low as we ripped through vast quantities and will inevitably stock out some of the rare lots before new seasons arrive in May, June and July.