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Author Archives: Teresa Johansen

Software Allows Food Bank to Create More Efficiencies

We did it! After 13 years, we upgraded our inventory and financial system. It was a fairly huge task that involved a lot of effort from every department at the Food Bank.  The software upgrade also had the greatest impact on Food Bank operations and unlocked years of advancements in accurately maintaining our inventory. The timing for this upgraded inventory and financial system couldn’t have arrived sooner!  With the vast increase in the volume of our food distribution over the past few months this new software was a life saver for our staff.  Our old system was so outdated and antiquated there would have been no way we could have come close to keeping up in the warehouse with receiving, inventory control, and agency food orders. The new software system, called Ceres, allows us now to track inventory by the individual pallet to a specific individual location in the warehouse. Doesn’t sound like much to non-warehouse folks, but it gives us an entirely new way of viewing our inventory and counting product.  This new look at our inventory helps us tremendously to track each and every pallet location in our 155,000 square foot warehouse  Now, counting is as straightforward as running a list and then walking to each bin location.  We can then check to see if the correct pallet is there with the correct amount of cases on it.

Successful National Audit

In the midst of all our operational changes taking place this past year, we recently had a special visit from our national organization, Feeding America.  This visit is one that occurs every couple years for the purpose of monitoring our work. As a member of this nationwide network of more than 200 US food banks, the monitoring process serves as a compliance and evaluation tool. It allows us to bench mark and set standards and goals consistent with our peer food banks across the nation.  Staff from Feeding America spend several days with us measuring our compliance with a set of national standards.

Changing our Processes Leads to More Food for the Hungry – Ways You Can Help

We’ve been busy over the past several years. Very, very busy – all for the good of hungry people in our state. What am I talking about? I’m talking about tracking progress, tracking inventory, and in the end helping hungry clients. Since the mid 1990’s, we’ve been measuring how many pounds we receive and distribute with a formal inventory tracking system. For many years, our growth was steady until we hit a wall.  The size of our previous home, located near the airport in Albuquerque, limited our ability to continue growing.  By 2003, we had no room to expand. That changed with the move to our warehouse near Jefferson in the spring of 2009. A larger facility allowed us to grow at a time when our help was needed more than ever.  In 2008 and 2009, our network of agencies and programs were experiencing a 40% increase as more families, adults, seniors and children began seeking help with food, many for the very first time. The recession took hold of our economy as jobs began to disappear in many areas.  We needed to have the ability to respond to the huge increase and demand for help with food. A larger warehouse helped us with that and we began to grow again.

Operational Efficiencies at the Food Bank

Roadrunner operates out of a very large facility and has a large fleet of vehicles that it maintains and uses to transport food across New Mexico. These are needed in our fight against hunger but are expensive to maintain. We also greatly value our donations and grant support so we do everything we can to control our costs and stretch those donations further. Over the past few years, we’ve gone after every expense we could. Projects have included: Electric efficiencies in the form of new warehouse lighting and motion sensors throughout the building to keep the lights off when not in use.  We changed several of our freezer and cooler doors to high speed which keep the refrigerated air where it belongs. Last, we were lucky enough to receive a donated solar panel which helps to supply some of our electricity needs. We’ve focused on water use reduction both in the building with our clothing washers and by transforming our landscaping away from grass to native plants which should reduce our water usage about approximately 1/3.

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