Partnering with others
Using technology to improve
Food Bank service
Photo: Second Harvest Food Bank image
New routing software boosts deliveries and saves time
It's inconceivable to think that in America, the land of plenty, people are going hungry — even more inconceivable to learn that it's happening in Orange County, Calif., one of the most affluent locales in the nation.
Sadly, it's true. The demand for food assistance has increased by an average of 35 percent in just the past year in Orange County. The most vulnerable are senior citizens, children and the working poor.
Boeing has a long history of reaching out to organizations that offer food assistance. In Orange County, the company's Global Corporate Citizenship team has worked with the Second Harvest Food Bank for many years. When it came time recently to evaluate the nonprofit's needs and how best to address them, Boeing Heath & Human Services Community Investor Kevin Ober and Food Bank Executive Director Joe Schoeningh applied Lean principles to figure out how to maximize Boeing's contribution.
“We could have taken the easy route and used the funding for another truck, but we wanted to kick it up a notch and be a little more creative in how we applied the funding.”
—Joe Schoeningh, Food Bank executive director.
"We looked at the support we've provided in the past, what the organization's needs are now, and brainstormed on how best to meet them," Ober explained.
"We could have taken the easy route and used the funding for another truck," Schoeningh continued, referring to the fleet of pickup and delivery trucks that are the backbone of Second Harvest's food relief efforts. "But we wanted to kick it up a notch and be a little more creative in how we applied the funding."
The solution was teaming with Bank of America, also a long-time corporate supporter of the food bank, to leverage the funds for greater benefit. After careful study, Second Harvest used the dollars to purchase routing software that will enable more effective management of the fleet.
The UPS Roadnet Logistics™ system features routing software that offers significant benefits. The software connects directly to the food bank's existing receiving and distributing program and automatically updates it, maximizing staff effectiveness. It saves the transportation manager about an hour a day in planning routes and responding to traffic situations. On the driver side, it enables the driver to electronically enter pick-up, delivery and location information using a hand-held device akin to a cell phone, saving time at each stop.
Driver Charles Gideon is absolutely delighted with the results. "I'm saving as much as 30 minutes every day," remarks this California ‘commuter' whose drive has gotten easier, thanks to Boeing. Gideon adds that he's been able to add up to three additional stops to his route. "For programs like Fresh Rescue, where the food is picked up and put on the table the same day, that's fantastic."
To date, Second Harvest has seen a 70 percent increase in the number of daily pick-ups and deliveries per route thanks to the new food pick-up and delivery system. It's also helped the organization boost the number of agencies that receive deliveries from 52 in 2009 to 90 today.
"It's estimated that the UPS software could allow Second Harvest to distribute as much as 150,000 additional pounds of food in its first year of operation, making this another example where ‘going Lean' is helping a lot — helping to provide more food more effectively to those who need it the most," said Ober.