Product Shrink

In a recent poll nearly 60 percent of shoppers have found perishable goods, primarily meat and produce, they bought at their supermarket unsatisfactory when they got home
Nearly 70% said they changed markets as a result.
When asked if they talked to the store/dept manager they said no.
with few complaining to store management.
Big product shrink numbers and poor freshness are essentially the same problem yet meat shop/grocery store management does little of consequence to correct the problem.
They seem to feel shrink is an unavoidable part of a perishable operation and generally accept it as inevitable.
While we agree there is always going to be SOME shrink monitoring and tracking shrimp in an ongoing manner will keep shrink under control.
Upper or lower management don’t actively manage shrink.
Yet it is an ALL management issue, not just a department manager issue.

Most EXCESSIVE shrink can be accounted for, and steps taken to control, with little capital outlay.
Managers need to understand the relationship between ordering, cutting/trimming, and freshness in order to put plans in place to address and reduce shrink.
FRESHNESS

Freshness has always been the attraction for consumers when shopping for meat and produce.
Talk to any supermarket executive and he will invariably emphasize the quality and freshness of their meat and produce.
For the retailer it contributes greatly to improving overall store sales while increasing the % of sales contributions from perishable departments.
Moreover it will leave the customer in a much better frame of mind resulting in more time spent shopping and an increase in impulse purchases.

What if polls or complaints suggest customers say such claims are not lived up to?

This is usually a two pronged problem.
1) Massive displays of product, much more evident thirty years ago, nevertheless still contributes hugely to shrink today.
2) Control of freshness and quality in products from the source-starting from distribution centers, either company owned or outside vendors.

Perishable managers need to understand the link between shrink and freshness.
In it’s basic form the freshness and shrink problem is an inventory control issue.
Store/dept managers are stuck with the shrink because that’s where it is, but many things along the supply chain can contribute to shrink.

UPPER MANAGEMENT/OWNERSHIP has a big impact, based on their MISSION STATEMENT and PHILOSOPHY of DOING BUSINESS
The BUYER has a big impact because of the amount and quality of product he/she buys.
The DISTRIBUTOR has a big impact, depending on his buying specifications, warehouse inventory control, plant and delivery refrigeration standards
The department manager has a big impact, depending on his receiving , cooler and handling procedures.
The MEAT and PRODUCE DIRECTORS, MERCHANDISERS and SUPERVISORS have a big impact depending on their CASE SCHEMATICS- CASE DISPLAY STANDARDS-PRICING-PROMOTIONS-DEPARTMENT STAFF SUPERVISION.

That’s a lot of fingers in the pie!!

The biggest improvement in SHRINK will only happen if they are ALL on the same page.
There has to be an absolute set of quality specifications for products.
Spreadsheets are a must for all phases of perishables, including SHRINK

Management must take an inter-department approach that brings all those issues together, getting a coherent plan to track and identify where the shrink comes from.
Supervision of ordering, processing and following a price book at department level by SUPERVISORS is essential.
Use of Spreadsheets to maintain records of DAILY SHRINK thru spoilage or markdowns.
Taking a VERY CLOSE look at the SIZE OF PERISHABLE DISPLAYS
No finger pointing-realize it has to be a team effort starting with PRODUCT SOURCING.
Time should be taken to implement SHRINK TRACKING, at least three months.
A meeting devoted to these tracking results should be held, to include a representative from the PRODUCT SOURCE/DISTRIBUTOR.

A PLAN of ACTION should be decided on and monitored by ONE PERSON.
In three months on another meeting should be held to discuss the results of the PLAN and tweaked if necessary.
THIS SHOULD BE AN ONGOING ACTION PLAN TO CONTROL SHRINK IN EVERY PERISHABLE DEPARTMENT!!!
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