Supply chain executives will soon have a new resource to help them better manage unsaleable products.
Dented soup cans, expired salad dressing and discontinued candy bars certainly aren’t supermarket sex symbols — but they’re the stars of a new educational tool being developed by the Food Marketing Institute/Grocery Manufacturers Association Trading Partner Alliance (TPA), with the help of supply chain services provider CHEP.
Officially known as “unsaleable consumer goods,” these misfit products aren’t a new problem, but up until now, much of the industry’s focus has been on accounting for them, instead of finding ways to reduce them. One highly cited figure from a 2008 Deloitte study estimated that unsaleables cost the industry at least $15 billion annually.
With the new online educational platform, which was unveiled earlier this year and is expected to go live in the fall, TPA and CHEP hope to create a centralized resource for employees across all areas of the industry, encompassing various supply chain functions, to learn the basics of what unsaleables are — the different types and key drivers — as well as best practices that can lead to their reduction.
“Not only are unsaleables a large problem, they’re a persistent problem,” notes Ben Eugrin, director of supply chain solutions, North America, for Atlanta-based CHEP, the research partner helping TPA’s Joint Industry Unsaleables Leadership Team. “While there’s been a lot of work done in the past several decades, with this initiative, we’re taking a look at how to reduce the amount of unsaleables in all categories, including expired, discontinued and damaged.”
The platform will be particularly useful for people who are new to the industry, he observes.
“A large number of people are retiring or moving on to new roles in their companies,” explains Eugrin, “so we hope to enable new people to get onboarded and understand the process so that they can have an impact, and enable them to get their organizations, as well as their partner organizations, up to speed.”
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