Lean Supply Chain – The Future of Zero Dump Wastage

Amrit Bajpai

Despite being the second largest producer of fresh produce and staples, India has handled this product for decades through a food supply chain that is long and extraordinarily fragmented. This has created colossal amounts of waste in landfills and oceans. 

When compared to western methods, the Indian counterpart shows a stark difference. On average, the food from soil to sale exchanges hands over 7 times, leading to multiple people touching the produce, making the process more complicated with each touch contributing to dump and wastage. Here, fresh produce passes through several layers, from farmers to village traders to wholesalers to distributors and finally to retailers, and a lot of food is lost post-harvest during handling and storage at each stage.

Zero-waste lean supply chain process

At WayCool, we understand that there is an urgent need to improve supply chain efficiency and practise an innovative analytics-led platform to intelligently connect farmers to consumers with reduced food miles, minimum wastage, and better returns. 

In long supply chains, small-scale farmers have little to no contact with consumers, so they do not know how much to produce to match market demand, which sometimes leads to overproduction, and, ultimately, food waste. WayCool starts off its lean supply chain process with a demand-driven cultivation process. We help farmers and encourage them to adopt best practices through advisory services. We help establish regenerative and efficient agricultural practices to reduce food wastage. 

At WayCool, the basic problem-solving methodology has played a pivotal role in reducing waste. This has been made possible through conveyor automation, warehousing and allocation. As a tech-enabled supply chain, we addressed the significant issues of food being dumped by deploying the Why-Why analysis and the Japanese methodology of zero waste. Our wet and dry operations try to adopt and work with quality circle groups, who regularly monitor the dump in daily work management. We follow an extensive root cause analysis for all our stock-keeping units to monitor any waste in the process timeline, thereby creating a huge impact on dump reduction to less than 2% in July 2022.

Our systems identify and support a transparent and direct procurement cross-docking automation to eliminate storage and corresponding handling costs in less-than-truckload and full-truckload shipments. This has helped us significantly reduce the dispatch time while accentuating the transfer efficiency between the terminals. 

Driving changes 

The Agri-food supply chain is facing countless challenges, which cause inefficiencies and result in the waste of natural and economic resources. However, the performance of each stage and the cost of activities in different segments of the chain could determine the quality of the product further down the food supply chain, and also have negative environmental and social impacts. 

At WayCool, our inventory team strives to find new ways to develop practical solutions to reduce food loss and waste. These solutions lie in the recognition of interlinkages between different stages of the food supply chain. In other words, we have the vision to feed over 1% of the world's population, and the core principle of our functions is to reduce the amount of food wasted. Our inventory and cross-functional teams play a vital role in this fight against food wastage by working three times a day for dump posting. This has made our current zero-waste process lean with little to no touch of the food that is being handled, resulting in a dump percentage of less than 2% overall.

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