Research and Data : TBAJK

23 نوفمبر
2010

Field Data and Research

Here is the issue: Wasted food

We need to fix this issue through two main ways: Preventing then Re-purposing

Some background…

What happens to wasted food in grocery stores? Depending on what it is. Dairy and fresh items (such as meats etc) have to be tossed out. Canned items depending on the actual expire date can be thrown out or donated if there are still a few days left on the expiration. Same goes with frozen. Grocery stores have to watch in the donations of expired food as someone can claim to get sick from it and sue the store. This happened to Macys when day old bread was donated to a shelter. A man sued because he said the day old bread made him sick and he almost choked on it. After that all bread was thrown out.

Preventing…

Interview with Publix manager on the logistics of shipments:  How to insure grocery stores (both larger and small) can minimize ordering excess product and avoid fluctuations in demand.

Q: For a large store like Publix, what are the minimum number of shipments that can be placed without ordering excess food?

A: 3-4 shipments of product per week (per department) are needed to operate in a more just-in-time environment .

This means the store is ordering for 2-3 days max to minimize the risk of customer demand fluctuations.

Q: For smaller stores, like grocery stores here on college campuses, how many shipments should they place each week to minimize waste?

A: Smaller country stores (or on campus stores) focus on selling products that are regionally located and normally do not have truck shipments.  If they do have shipments, they aren’t more than a day away.  Those kind of locations would still be utilizing a larger distributor for their products. Food Services, I believe, is a company that handles those types of stores.

Q: Do you have a suggestion for what system a grocery store should use to efficiently sell their products and make sure there is the least amount of expired product as possible?

A: They would want to ensure that they are using a FIFO system (First in First out).  First in first out means the product that gets there first goes out first.  Basically, rotate product so that the “older” (or first product) goes out first before the new product, otherwise you have waste from product meeting its expiration date.

For companies who still continue to have issues running into out of date product, they would want to also start some form of discounting to alleviate inventory.

Please note: ANY TIME you increase the number of shipments to a location, you will be increasing transportation and ordering costs.

By reducing the overall level of inventory, you decrease the risk of having obsolete inventory (or inventory going bad) and the cost of carrying inventory.

By carrying inventory (having it on hand) you tie up capital in product that is just sitting around

By having less inventory overall, you increase your available capital because it isn’t tied in product that is just sitting in a store unused.

Q: Our company is also looking to work with homeless shelters to distribute food that is close to expiration.  Do you have a suggestion as to how we can coordinate with the grocery stores to accomplish this goal?

A: Contact the local food bank. They, typically, have volunteers who will go around to collect product that grocery stores are willing to donate.  What you will need the company to do is begin to pull product on that day of the “Sell by.”

You only limit the sale by a day, which in the end isn’t that much, and you end up donating product to the food bank.  By doing so, you also decrease the risk of having product remain on the shelves that are out of date because you pull it the by the day that is listed on the product.  For example, there is a box of cookies that have a sell by date of “December 1”

Typical process in most stores is to pull that product on “Dec 2nd”

What you would want the company to do is pull that product on “December 1” and donate it to the food bank.

Re-purposing…

If a grocery store suspects that it is going to end up with leftover food, it may donate products which are about to expire to charities. Food banks and homes for the elderly both benefit from donations of leftover food which is perfectly safe, but was purchased in excess (potentially solved through prevention). Generally, a grocery store donates leftover food when it has at least two weeks before it expires, to ensure that it will be used in time. Organizations like this one accept such food donations and then distribute to the homeless.

When it comes to produce, a grocery store may donate edible but unsellable produce to charity or a zoo. Zoo animals often benefit from donations of usually expensive food, which are unable to be sold for one reason or another. Some grocery stores may donate produce items to animal farms, or sell excess cheaply to farmers to feed their stock. Many grocery stores also get rid of bread and dairy products this way.

If produce starts to go bad, a grocery store may attempt to compost it. Many grocery stores have access to separate greenwaste collection so that they can compost leftover food such as produce, bread, and some other products, depending on the composting company. The leftover food is tossed into a large dumpster which is periodically emptied and taken to a composting facility. Other leftover food is thrown out, sometimes in locked dumpsters to prevent liability issues related to dumpster diving.

Georgia Tech received an A- on the annual College Sustainability Report Card.

2 تعليقان to Research and Data : TBAJK

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ShabiG

نوفمبر 23rd, 2010 at 12:34 م

Good start on the research. Remember that even employees may not know how to address this problem, as this is not something they think about day-to-day, so try asking them more questions about their own personal experience and activities, rather than asking them to provide solutions. Don’t go into research with a solution in mind, the research should not be proving the worth of a potential solution but it should be used to give a better understanding of the activity and the problem. What are the steps that store managers go through to order food and put food on shelves and dispose of food. The questions you are asking suggest that you have a clear understanding of the activities that grocery store managers go through, and based on your posted results I’m not sure that is true. It is extremely important to understand the activity before you can define solutions.

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ShabiG

نوفمبر 25th, 2010 at 2:09 م

take a look at the power point that I presented on Innovation: http://rand.gatech.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/What-is-Innovation1.pdf. This will give your team a good idea of what type of information you want to gather and document from your research. Through the research, Capture what people do, how they behave, document other objects that are involved in the experience, document the environmental characteristics that affect the experience, document the messaging and signage that helps guide people, document the services if any that are being provided as part of the experience. Additionally document your own personal experiences, how did you feel, were you confused, stressed, where did you look for answers, ect

The more you document the more insights your group can gather which will lead better brainstorming and ideation.

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