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Computer problems at IGA | A headache for some suppliers

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Computer problems that occurred last Friday at Empire, which manages IGA supermarkets, are causing headaches for some suppliers. Their products are piling up in company warehouses instead of landing in freezers or on shelves. They also struggle to get paid.

Under the circumstances, IGA would have asked some of them to deliver their products directly to supermarkets, if they had the capacity. In cases where the warehouse is unable to supply grocery stores, it is normal to ask suppliers who can to deliver their merchandise directly to stores, according to Pascal Leduc, president of Leduc Strategy and Business Management Consulting. This new modus operandi is, however, difficult to implement for manufacturers accustomed to shipping their products to the warehouse, he underlines.

“For those in direct delivery, we are temporarily returning to the good old days of emails and calls to fill orders and schedule deliveries. To turn around on a dime and go back to the method of the 80s, it is not done by shouting scissors, he mentions. And the IT problem most likely goes beyond the supply sector, think of financial functions such as payroll, for example. »

At the time these lines were written, the company had still not pronounced on the veracity of the thesis of the computer attack with ransomware which has been circulating for several days. No press release has been issued since Monday.

However, the Commission d’accès à l’information confirmed by e-mail to The Press have received a privacy incident report from the company. Since September 22, under Bill 25, companies have the obligation to notify the Commission “in the event of a confidentiality incident involving personal information”. “A confidentiality incident can therefore occur in particular when a staff member consults personal information without authorization, [lorsqu’]a staff member communicates personal information to the wrong recipient or [dans des cas où] the organization is the victim of a cyberattack: phishing, ransomware,” wrote Emmanuelle Giraud, communications adviser to the Commission.

Uncertainty

Meanwhile, in-store supply issues are creating uncertainty for some suppliers. “We have no order, no payment, we don’t know what’s going on or how long it’s going to take,” says Nathan Kaiser, co-owner of Laiterie Chagnon, located in Waterloo. Mr. Kaiser is all the more concerned that his company sells its butter, yogurt and ice cream exclusively at IGA.

If we don’t have an order from them, we can’t produce much. They are our business partners, we don’t blame anyone.

Nathan Kaiser, co-owner of Laiterie Chagnon

On the side of St-Hubert, whose sauces, chicken nuggets, pâtés and other coleslaws are sold in grocery stores, deliveries are made, “but the pallets remain taken at the warehouse” of IGA, mentions Josée Vaillancourt, director of communications at St-Hubert.

“In certain categories of fresh products, we are starting to slow down the supply in order to avoid losses if the products are not distributed quickly,” she underlines.

“One of my colleagues in the industry told me that it was like there was a strike at the warehouse, but it’s worse than a strike because we can’t send the back-up managers to help ship orders,” adds Pascal Leduc.

Online orders

In addition to having to deal with the absence of certain products in the aisles and refrigerators, consumers who normally shop on IGA.net can no longer do their shopping there. “The online grocery store is currently out of service. We apologize for any inconvenience caused,” reads the brand’s website. However, consumers living in regions where the Voilà par IGA service is offered can continue to shop online.


PHOTO DAVID BOILY, THE PRESS

The products of IGA suppliers accumulate in the company’s warehouses and it is impossible for customers to place orders through the website.

The brand also warns consumers that “certain prices displayed” on its site may be “inaccurate or erroneous”. “Please see our flyer for exact promotional pricing,” it says.

It should be noted that the computer problems do not only affect IGA, Rachelle Béry, Les Marchés Tradition and Marché Bonichoix, the Empire brands in Quebec, but also all the supermarkets and pharmacies owned by the company across the country, such as Thrifty Foods, FreshCo, Sobeys, Needs, Safeway and Lawtons Drugs. “At this time, we are focused on resolving this issue and will provide further updates as relevant information becomes available,” said Pierre St-Laurent, Chief Operating Officer of ‘Empire, in a press release on Monday. It was impossible to find out more about the evolution of the situation. Merchants contacted by The Press all declined to speak, urging us to contact head office.

“I am certain that Sobeys is working on a crisis resolution for next week, supports Pascal Leduc. If it were to last longer than that, it could become problematic. It is too early to say that we find ourselves in a Soviet atmosphere in IGA stores. »



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