Putting actionable food waste information in the hands of staff is key to labor productivity

As labor and management costs continue to rise, retailers are furiously searching for new ways to deploy labor more efficiently in both their stores and supply chain.

I don’t think there is any doubt that there remain significant areas of inefficiency across the retail estate and that processes could be made more profitable. Now is the time to act to consider how associate tasks are allocated most effectively, how actionable insights can be delivered to the associates’ hands to focus them on what matters most right now, and optimizing store associate working hours to meet store demand.

One area that drives a considerable amount of in-store labor focus is managing surplus food; whether it is re-using, exiting, or preventing waste – every retailer in the world should be concerned with reducing waste on the shop floor. This is no surprise when you consider research from The Grocer that shows that UK supermarkets had waste costs in 2021 of over £2.4 billion. This equates to a lot of surplus products that store teams need to effectively manage out of the network, time that could be spent on other tasks.

So, how can retailers reduce food waste and the subsequent burden on the store? What if retailers were able to inform colleagues which products were nearing expiry, without needing to search aisles for a singular product? And, what if the colleagues had access to the optimal markdown price at which to discount the product, one that would maximize sell-through and maintain margin?

It does sound too good to be true, but that is exactly what WasteInsight does.

WasteInsight is an industry-leading food waste reduction software that tackles waste at all points in the store and is currently being used by four of the top 10 global grocery retailers with total client coverage of almost 20,000 stores. And it delivers enormous benefits. Clients typically report a 70% reduction in the number of manual checks required after implementing prompted markdowns and optimized discounting of their expiring products.

Discover how to sell more and waste less with dynamic markdown. Download our  whitepaper now.
It is driven by cognitive technology – a unique combination of leading-edge machine learning and advanced, human-led analytics – to deliver significant waste savings north of 10% for any sort of retailer, large and small, big-box supermarket, and convenience store. It leverages this technology to provide prompted date code checking to stores, automatically identifying products that are approaching expiration without the need to check every single item. Once a product is identified, it delivers dynamic markdowns to store colleagues to optimize the balance between margin preservation and sell-through. All of this is underpinned by precise and simple compliance reporting, enabling store and head office teams to review and take appropriate action.

Launching our product into stores is an easy process. We run an initial ‘size of the prize’ analysis, leveraging a retailer’s historical waste performance, and determining the savings opportunity available if they used WasteInsight. This will produce a potential benefit target to measure against as we move to roll out. Our clients can then test the solution live, comparing it to a set of control stores, and subject to achieving our objectives we build long-term strategic value from the solution. If we don’t achieve our objective then our clients have the right to pass on the opportunity.

WasteInsight really is very minimal risk for a huge return.

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Written by Dave Byrne

Dave is Senior Product Manager at Retail Insight, responsible for developing the product strategy and roadmaps, working closely with our customers to ensure we deliver best-in-class products. He has 12+ years of experience in the B2B tech industry and holds an Engineering MSc from the University of Strathclyde.