Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JUL 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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Monitoring Progress Through Tracking and Data D eveloping a plan to cut food waste is one thing. Actually seeing results is another. "Measurement really is the path to prevention," says Andrew Shakman co-founder and CEO of LeanPath, a Portland, Ore.-based food waste management consultancy. "Tracking and automation is no longer just a nice thing to have; it's the best way to really change culture." Tracking waste marks just the first step to seeing results; it's the measuring and analyzing steps that have the most sig- nificant impact. An operator can measure, measure, measure, but without understanding where the food waste occurs or why or how, real change becomes challenging. Measuring, for example, helps shed light on what types of food an opera- tion overproduces and why. "When we measure, we also have the ability to define a baseline in order to measure longer-term change," Shakman says. Measuring, he notes, essentially makes the invisible visible. There's also something called the "Hawthorne Effect," Shakman points out. Behavioral research conducted in the 1920s at Hawthorne Works, an electronics factory in Cicero, Ill. (now a mall), found that brighter lighting and better working conditions were actually less effective on productiv- ity than the act of measuring itself; people performed better when they knew they were being watched and measured. In the case of waste management, Shakman has found that people start throwing away less when they start to track and visualize what's going to the landfill. How to Measure and Analyze Waste Organizing, maintaining and analyzing data represent important pieces of the measuring puzzle. Sure, operators could simply rely on what their waste haulers say, Shakman notes, but they could miss out on other important pieces of information that would otherwise offer a clearer picture of an operation's current waste management efforts and proximity to goals. Otherwise, he says, "we're throwing money, not just food, into the garbage." Shakman also points out the difference between an audit and ongoing tracking. Audits are a one-time measurement; they might offer a snapshot of the food waste for that day or timeframe but they won't show patterns like regular, daily tracking does. There are two types of measurement: quantification (the amount of food wasted) and qualification (the types of foods wasted). Tools that track and analyze food waste to quantify it span from the very low-tech spreadsheet to high-tech smart scales equipped with cameras. Some units in development even generate alerts in real time, such as sending a notifica- tion to a chef's smartphone that more than $10 in food waste was just thrown into the trash. Beyond tracking the actual waste, measuring where the food waste goes is important, Shakman says. This helps shed light on how much gets sent to recycling, composting, an- aerobic digestion (AD) systems, or worse case, the landfill. Use of KPIs Operators can use all types of reporting language to measure and monitor a waste management program, from proprietary systems to the newly developed, internationally recognized Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard (see sidebar) to KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, a mea- surable value commonly used by large-scale organizations in healthcare and other sectors to evaluate their success at reaching targets and goals. A KPI demonstrates how effectively a company achieves key business objectives. High-level KPIs /may focus on the overall performance of the enterprise, while low-level KPIs may focus on processes in departments such as sales, market- ing or a call center. Shakman's team primarily uses the Food Efficiency Ratio (FER) KPI to monitor client waste management goals. FER involves dividing the amount of the food waste by the amount spent on food in any given month. For example, if an operator generates 10,000 pounds of food waste and spends $100,000 on food, they would realize a 10 percent FER. The operator could then compare that figure to other Manage food waste. Boost performance. InSinkErator.com/foodservice ©2018 InSinkErator InSinkErator is a business unit of Emerson Electric Co. By Amelia Levin WASTE MANAGEMENT SERIES 104 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JULY 2018

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