Refining product management means aligning purchases with sales as closely as possible, and when surplus arises, finding secondary outlets to accommodate it. It also means building out systems and processes for optimal on-site handling. Solutions in this action area employ tactics that simplify inventory management – such as dynamic pricing with artificial intelligence (to improve use of products in stock) and software that enhances future demand planning (to ensure that future product orders won’t lead to excess supply and waste). Product management solutions also include diversifying product outlets in case excess arises, establishing markets for last-minute products through alternative sales channels, and innovative new approaches such as markdown alert apps.
Within this and the Roadmap to 2030’s other key action areas are a range of solutions, including those that ReFED has modeled using key data points, promising solutions that we’re still gathering data on, and best practices that many organizations have already worked into their operations.
Enhanced Demand Planning
Improved intelligence around demand planning through systems or incorporating historical data in future decisions, often using machine learning to aid in better forecasting and fulfillment.
Waste Tracking (Foodservice)
Technology-enabled tracking of food loss and waste to highlight opportunities for reduction.
Markdown Alert Applications
Applications that alert consumers to markdowns or excess food at retailers or restaurants
Systems and technologies that automatically and comprehensively discount pricing for items, with the purpose of re-appraising based on remaining shelf life, inventory on hand, and incoming orders.
Minimized On-Hand Inventory
Reduce product dwell time in distribution centers by not holding safety stock and excess days on-hand.
Decreased Minimum Order Quantity
Reduce minimum order quantities to avoid over-purchasing.
Increased Delivery Frequency
Increasing the frequency of delivery from suppliers to stores, restaurants, facilities, or other food destinations to reduce dwell time in distribution centers.
Assisted Distressed Sales
Assistance, through third-party companies or apps, in selling salvaged, off spec, overstocked, and out of date food at a discounted rate.
Temperature Monitoring (Foodservice)
Implementation of measurement and alert systems within foodservice cold storage units to detect out of range temperatures and notify automatically.
Repackaging Partially Damaged Products
Removing single damaged products from bulk packs, such as apples and eggs, and repacking salvageable products for sale.
Low-Waste Event Contracts
Developing event contracts with clients that minimize or remove production overages and allow for flexibility in food production to account for an increase or decrease of guest headcount.
Retail Automated Order Fulfillment
Automating e-commerce fulfillment for grocery retailers, allowing retailers to cut down on labor costs and reduce food waste through increased efficiencies.
Use of alternative channels, apps, e-commerce models, or other, where products are sold directly to end customers without third-party retailers, wholesalers, or other middlemen.
Online Marketplace Platform
Online platform that facilitates Business--to Business (B2B) sales between suppliers and businesses in a centralized space, which can increase accessibility to a variety of goods and decrease time and resources needed to make a sale.
Precision Event Attendance
Leveraging historic data and guest tracking details like the real- or near-time status of their RSVP, if they paid a registration fee, if they reside locally or need to travel to attend the event, etc. to accurately forecast the number of guests attending an event.
Online Advanced Grocery Sales
Advanced online purchase of groceries can help grocers forecast with more precision and avoid losses that occur at brick-and-mortar facilities.
Inventory evaluation to compare historic sales, costs of stocking and storing versus the benefit of selling in order to decrease the variety of products to what is most profitable.
Inventory management technique, often using technology, to decrease prices for items that are falling behind average rate of sale in order to quickly move product.
Use of appropriate storage containers, packing materials, and facilities to meet the product-specific needs of items and maintain quality during storage.
Smaller and simpler in-store displays to minimize damages from excessive stacking, keep more fresh items in storage, and minimize handling numbers on items available.
Optimized Walk-In Layouts
Arrangement of products within walk-in freezers and coolers based on the optimal temperature, frequency of retrieval and use, and proximity to related items used in tandem.