Optimizing Perishable Inventory Management

Optimizing Perishable Inventory Management  

24 January 2024

Complete control over inventory is an absolute necessity for food distributors.

Optimizing perishable inventory management

Food distributors that carry fast-moving perishable goods in their warehouses face a variety of inventory tracking challenges. The most significant: when inventory is misplaced for even a brief time, the result is a very real loss of goods—and profits. To minimize that loss, food distributors often increase the frequency of labor-intensive physical checks to support FIFO (first in, first out) and FEFO (first expire, first out) practices and help close the gap between inventory tracking inefficiencies and timely delivery of goods to retail shelves and online storefronts and outlets.  

By its nature, this method of manual scanning is error prone, inefficient, and pulls workers away from key efforts that only humans can perform—a crippling scenario that makes food distribution warehouses ripe for automating inventory tracking. Verity is the solution. Using advanced, on-board cameras and sensors and featuring real-time data analysis capabilities, Verity’s self-flying drones swiftly navigate through large DCs (distribution centers) and food storage facilities to efficiently track and monitor perishable inventory and drive these key benefits:  

  • Elimination of lost inventory & spoilage
    Verity enables faster, more frequent inventory counts, which leads to more accurate tracking of goods with a limited shelf life. The drones quickly identify misplaced or overlooked items and alert users to goods nearing expiration, significantly reducing the loss of perishable goods.
  • Reduction of stockouts, backorders, and overstocks
    By providing up-to-date and precise inventory data, Verity enables distributors to make informed decisions about stock replenishment, storage conditions, and distribution. This reduces the need for overstocks, minimizes waste, ensures the freshness of perishable goods, and enhances customer satisfaction.
  • Enhanced inventory visibility across multiple sites
    Access to accurate, multi-site inventory data gives distributors that operate multiple DCs the flexibility to fulfill customer orders more efficiently, reduce PTLs (partial truck loads) to support one-truck delivery, and optimize throughput of perishable goods.
  • Improved accuracy across the supply chain
    Greater accuracy in the DC translates to better tracking of goods across the supply chain—from the point of origin to the point of delivery. By supporting improved accuracy at every touchpoint, Verity helps distributors optimize demand forecasting, reduce delays, and support a more reliable and responsive supply chain.
  • Increased profitability
    Automating manual inventory scanning reduces tracking-related labor costs while freeing up workers to focus on tasks that require human intervention—a shift that drives greater efficiency throughout the warehouse. At the same time, optimizing the tracking of perishable goods reduces costly waste and prevents customer service issues that escalate costs and put revenue at risk.  

Now in operation in DCs serving food distributors at sites across the US, Verity is versatile enough to manage inventory in different storage configurations or zones, each tailored to the specific needs of the product type, customer, or category. The system supports chilled storage today and is currently in the validation stage for use in cold storage facilities, expanding its ability to meet the needs of food distributors and retailers everywhere.  

KeHE is the largest distributor of natural & organic, specialty, and fresh products to more than 31,000 natural food stores, chain and independent grocery stores, e-commerce retailers, and other specialty products retailers throughout North America. KeHE introduced the Verity system to their first facility in Arizona in July 2023, and is now in the process of rolling out the solution across all their distribution centers throughout the US.  

Cost-effective, quick to implement, and purpose-built to ensure reliability, Verity’s no-touch inventory tracking system helps food distributors achieve better, faster, more cost-effective management of perishable inventory—with typical ROI in 12 months or less.  

Contact our team today to learn how Verity is transforming inventory tracking and management for food distributors and food retailers.