The Wonderful Company’s Way of Work (WOW) program goes beyond day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. It’s a mindset. WOW trainings and projects equip our employees with skills to not only improve business operations, but also impact people and communities outside of work. In 2021, our Continuous Improvement team helped a Los Angeles-based food bank optimize its donation intake, storage, and distribution processes.
The project began in January 2021 when the Wonderful Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy team discovered that our partner, the Hollywood Food Coalition (HFC), was moving to a new warehouse and needed help with donation organization. HFC’s intake process is especially unique because it has an on-site restaurant to prepare and package the donated food.
Vice president of Continuous Improvement, Wendy Wuo, was eager to help and quickly assembled a dedicated team, including Rob Berry (Bakersfield, Delano) and Amanda Aikens (Los Angeles), to partner with the coalition and offer a mini-WOW training program to tailor best practices to meet their needs.
Starting in April, Wendy and her team visited HFC three times, working on a different area within the facility each time. The first visit included surveying the space, observing HFC’s organizational system, and providing a one-hour WOW 101 course.
Three key recommendations for HFC were:
- Make all instructions visual. A whiteboard and colored markers were donated to develop a master map and ensure all volunteers understood the current inventory status. Since some of HFC’s delivery details were kept on a computer that moved around the warehouse, the team also laid out the daily delivery schedule near the distribution area.
- Add shelves and labels for quick reference. HFC rearranged storage shelves and incorporated crates to increase holding capacity and improve each room’s flow, including large freezers. The coalition then developed a color-coded system, such as blue labels for water jugs and green labels for vegetables, to optimize their storage system.
- Bonus Result: A dolly was donated to HFC to help move pallets of donations faster and more safely through the warehouse to be labeled and stored appropriately.
- Designate an area where donations are received and distributed. Previously, volunteers would have to repeatedly stop their work and explain the process to new volunteers. Now, taped markers on the floor clearly explain the donation flow.
- Bonus Result: This change worked so well that HFC is planning to remove the tape markers and officially paint their floors.
Shelves and a color-coded labeling system were key to optimizing donation rooms that hold multiple products, particularly those with a limited shelf life.
In late 2021, Wendy and her team checked in virtually with HFC Executive Director Sherry Bonanno and Community Exchange Director Bryan Pauquette, and were pleased to learn that the HFC team implemented the WOW mindset in other capacities to ensure the continued improvement and success of the food bank.