In 2017, a global food retailer partnered with Spoiler Alert to deploy a standardized approach for recovering value from its unsold inventory and reducing landfill-bound waste from its fulfillment centers.

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Realized Value

Over a six month timeframe, the company:

  • Achieved a 55% reduction in volume sent to landfill
  • Observed a 44% reduction in waste hauling pickups
  • Nearly doubled the donation rate, from 36% to 69% of total unsold inventory volume
  • Unlocked over $100,000 in previously unrealized enhanced tax deductions
  • Donated more than 500,000 meals to local communities
  • Expanded the program to all of its U.S. based fulfillment centers

The Opportunity

Prior to partnering with Spoiler Alert, this fast-growing e-commerce company utilized spreadsheets to monitor inventory losses and share shrink data across departments. This made it difficult to accurately assess shrink levels and trends, and maximize use of alternative outlets - such as hunger relief organizations - for high-quality, excess product. The company sought a scalable tracking solution for managing process improvement and its communications strategy as it ramped up operations in other parts of the country.


The Solution

In less than a two-week period, Spoiler Alert worked with the company to deploy its platform and train the company’s operations and supply chain teams - as well as their third party partners - on how to leverage its dashboards and item-level capabilities to quickly track product volumes, categories, and reason codes for its surplus product and organic waste streams. Spoiler Alert then guided the company through a customized process improvement program over a 3-month period. This included:

  • Week-over-week trend analysis
  • Shifting of donation pickup schedules to accommodate for volume increases and storage constraints
  • Improved communication channels with nonprofit partners around the availability of food donations
  • New reporting for operations and management
  • Analysis of organic waste streams to improve recovery rate
  • Improved donation documentation to enable significant tax savings.

The company's desire to have greater visibility into its community initiatives and sustainability activities were easily provided by Spoiler Alert's dashboards and automated email reports. These snapshots provided management with weekly and monthly insights that highlight key successes and areas for improvement using key performance indicators - most notably, product volumes, donation rates, top community partners, and landfill diversion success. The impact metrics provided helped facilitate engagement and buy-in to the initiative, and encouraged the company to highlight its progress publicly. Most recently, the company has engaged its category management team to use data generated within the platform to inform purchasing and procurement decisions to ultimately drive reductions in generation of unsold inventory.

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