Mobile Solutions from SAP Help Feeding America Deliver Food to Families in Need
Now Truck Drivers for Distribution Centers Can Track Food Picked Up and Delivered on Mobile Devices, Freeing Resources to Help More Directly Serve 37 Million Food-Insecure Americans
With SAP® Mobile Platform, truck drivers at food distribution centers across the country can use mobile handheld devices to track their daily inventory versus demand from food pantries and shelters. Armed with this information, drivers can more quickly divvy up food proportionally among their clients and deliver balanced, healthy meals. Improved stock management and route planning frees up resources so Feeding America can direct more energy to helping people in need.
Currently, Feeding America provides food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in communities across America. They do this by "rescuing" food from retailers that is surplus, near the expiration date or in damaged packages but still edible. Truck drivers are critical to this operation — every day they collect food and bring it to the partner agencies, making sure food goes from grocery stores to families' dinner tables.
In the past, truck drivers had to manually fill in forms to document every item that they picked up at a retailer or delivered to an agency, which then had to be loaded into the Feeding America system for inventory management. Using mobile technology from SAP, Truck drivers can now capture all items electronically on a mobile device that automatically delivers the information directly into the back-end system. Feeding America and SAP worked together using SAP Mobile Platform and its application development tools to create the custom solution. Deploying SAP Mobile Platform will help the organization eliminate time-consuming paperwork and allow Feeding America to devote more time to helping people.
"Our mission is to feed America's hungry through our nationwide network of member food banks, and the technology from SAP will revolutionize the way we rescue and distribute food," said Kevin Lutz, vice president of technology, Feeding America. "The efficiencies we gain from SAP mobile technology translate to more food on the table for hungry families. With every dollar we save, we are able to help secure eight more meals. Using mobile technology helps reduce our operating expenses, which will ultimately enable us to put more trucks on the road that can pick up and deliver more food."
Feeding America started with a pilot program using SAP Mobile Platform to build a custom app at Forgotten Harvest in Detroit, where the depressed automotive industry has resulted in an exponential increase in hungry citizens. The solution is already helping drivers. For example, handheld devices show them what food has already been "pre-loaded" into their trucks before the day starts so they can determine what other pick-ups are required to complete a nutritious meal for agency recipients. Feeding America plans to roll out the app built on SAP Mobile Platform more broadly across its network in the fall of 2013.
"Our collaboration with Feeding America is a perfect example of how mobile technology from SAP helps the world run better and improves people's lives," said Rich Padula, senior vice president, Mobile Strategy, SAP. "This project shows the impact technology can have on the life of one individual. It's the difference between going to bed hungry or not, and for a child that's a world of difference. SAP understands that a sustainable future for our planet relies on using technology innovation to bridge the gaps in society to make sure basic needs are taken care of — and beyond."
For this project, SAP donated custom services, free training and mentoring over the life of the project. The company also included enough software licenses to cover Feeding America's entire network. "SAP really went the extra mile to better enable us to exceed our goals going forward," continued Lutz. "The team designed and developed the solution to our exact specifics, which has enabled us to help feed more people in a shorter amount of time more efficiently. With the technology and mentoring, our drivers now receive and process their orders, record donations and deliveries in the moment on their handheld devices."
SAP has provided technology donations to over 5,000 non-governmental and non-profit organizations. A combination of software, training, and other services from SAP helps recipients improve critical business areas such as performance management, fundraising operations and donor reporting.
About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmericaor follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.
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