CTH: By now everyone is familiar with the abundant pictures on social media of empty shelves in local stores. Having some familiarity with the supply chain might help people to understand some of the challenges; and possibly help locate product.
There are essentially two types of distribution centers within the retail supply chain for most chain markets, food stores and supermarkets. The first type is a third party, or brokered, distribution network. The second type is a proprietary, company owned, distribution center. Knowing the type of distribution helps to understand what you can expect.
If your local retail store is being replenished from a third party distribution center, you can expect greater shortages and longer replenishment times; we will see entire days of empty shelves in these stores. However, if your local retail store owns their own warehouse and distribution network, the replenishment will be faster. In times of rapid sales, there is a stark difference.
These are general guidelines: An average non-perishable distribution center will replenish approximately 60 stores. Those 60 stores will generally not extend beyond 100 miles from the distribution center. The typical company owned warehouse will have approximately 20 tractors (the semis) delivering trailers of goods to those sixty stores. more here