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Purdue professor weighs in on baby formula shortage

Amy David, clinical associate professor of supply chain management, predicts there will be tight supply on shelves through at least the end of the summer.

INDIANAPOLIS — It has been one month since an Indianapolis mother decided to launch an online resource for families challenged by the baby formula shortage.

Allexa Antrobus created the Indiana Formula Shortage Help Group on Facebook.

"People, more or less, were asking for the formula that they were looking for, or where they could find the formula," Antrobus said. "So that was a big one, but then you also had a big wave of people willing to help saying, 'Hey, I saw this formula here,' or, 'Hey, I have this formula.'"

The group now has more than 1,100 members, both giving and receiving formula.

"Unfortunately, as we know altogether, it's still obviously a struggle," Antrobus said. "This wasn't a complete fix-all for everyone to get the formula they need, but I do believe that is has definitely been helping."

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Amy David, a clinical associate professor of supply chain management at Purdue University, said just because Abbott has reopened its formula manufacturing facility in Michigan doesn't mean it is a quick fix to the shortage.

"Things need some time to proliferate through the supply chain," David said.

In fact, David predicted there will be tight supply on shelves through at least the end of the summer.

"If we want to be sure that there is always enough baby formula," David said, "that means building in some redundancies and deliberately adding things that are going to add cost to the supply chain but would hopefully prevent there for being a big crisis if there is a single point of failure."

RELATED: Baby formula factory reopens: How long before new formula reaches shelves?

In the meantime, Antrobus maintains the online help group.

"Just as a place for people to always be able to go to help get and/or give formula away if they need to," Antrobus said.

Antrobus plans to keep the group going indefinitely as a resource for future families.

"There are so many people always willing to lend a helping hand," Antrobus said. "That is so amazing to see."

Another way to help, according to Antrobus, is by taking a photo of the formula stock at your local store and posting it to social media. She says that can be an easy way to quickly reach local families in need.

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