Executive Update

Damaged and Expired Products Work Groups Update: Addressing the “Hot Buttons”

In this session, Sue Bentel, finance manager and business analyst at Nestle Purina PetCare, Jim Schumacker, senior manager of supply chain continuous improvement at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Ted Lechner, reverse logistics manager at H-E-B, Bert Kibbler, associate director of sales operation and growth channel at Kraft Foods, Don Aday principal at Strategic Solutions and Robert Rippley, executive vice president of logistics at Associated Wholesalers addressed supply chain touch points and how important maintaining data throughout the supply chain is.

“Data is used to not only drive awareness, but also action in our organizations,” explained Sue Bentel.  “There’s not really one solution for everybody, do what makes sense to your company, your retail collaboration and your trading partner.”

Sue shared a case study from Nestle Purina, with their pet food and litter bags. When using the traditional papers bags, the damage rate was too high. But when Nestle Purina made an investment and switched to “tough bags,” they dropped more than 50 percent of damaged products.

Jim Schumacher shared a 2011 case study that showed one manufacturing plant go from “worst to first” in one year, by addressing the root cause  of the damage in the supply chain.  The study showed that in a specific plant there was a spike in damaged goods. When investigated, the product case was not compatible with the plant’s pallet specification, and once corrected, the plant reversed the damaged goods results. “The trick is to find the right mix of processes, metrics and collaboration to get these types of results in your organization.”

Attacking the root of the cause is not the only way to prevent damaged and expired products. Ted Lechner addressed one of their strategies for supply chain improvement. “We are attacking it at the stores. All employees are going through training, and unsaleables is a big part of that. Everyone in the store knows what unsaleables is.”

Bert Kibbler suggested being “open and communicating everything you can with your trading partners. You must think with the consumers in mind, and want to deliver the best product you can and have the consumer happy with the experience.”