Andrew Hoeft   |   April 14, 2022

The Labor Advantage of Prompted Expiry Date Software

Food waste is an undoubtedly global problem—one that affects grocers in particular. Exact causation of waste in the retail industry varies depending on place and practice, but a common root remains: The challenge of managing expiry dates. Historically, expiry date management has been manual; relying on impractical and time-consuming spot-checking that runs retailers dry of time —and results, indiscriminately, in unwanted food waste. Annual waste at UK supermarkets alone surpasses £2.4 billion. Retailers are honing in on this massive impact on waste and labor productivity—and are beginning to search for solutions.

Automated date checking software is not new to the industry, but is slowly becoming mainstream among best practices for reducing waste and labor while ensuring the freshest products for customers.  What does this mean for retailers grappling with the negative effect of poor expiry date management on labor productivity and food waste?

Intuitive expiry date management tech:

  • Prevents expired products through smart forecasting
  • Increases labor productivity & employee adoption rates
  • Fits snugly into pre-existing systemic solutions

Don’t Just Reduce Expired Products: Prevent Them

Prompted expiry date applications guide the markdown process with smart, predictive software. An automated system allows for the consistency and accuracy a manual system could never provide.  Alongside the key benefit of reliable date checking, forecasting becomes a critical feature. Accumulating data drives important ordering decisions—in turn, making sure that inventory replenishment is accurate to demand and eliminating over-ordering that inevitably results in unnecessary waste.

Data is the future of grocery. Expiry date management can provide retailers data which will create educated forecasting practices and ordering decisions that directly impact waste. And not to mention labor worries: Using tech to prevent food waste through date checking means less labor exerted on disposal or donation decisions, and less time spent shuffling through the laborious spot-checking tasks of yesterday.

Keeping on top of expiry date checking through automated processes also means less employees spending less time—because once the data catches up to the application, stores can gain confidence in knowing there are no expired items on the shelf. And if there are, they’ll be caught before they end up in an order.

Focus on Streamlining Labor & Protocol 

Process efficiency is critical to a global industry facing labor shortages. Manually checking expiry dates is labor intensive, time-consuming, and often inaccurate, causing more work than necessary. Hand checking a store full of SKUs—often exceeding 20,000—every day not only sounds exhausting: it takes away vital exertion employees could spend improving the in-store experience for shoppers or performing other critical tasks. Eliminating arduous daily front/middle/back checks adopted by many UK grocers, expiry date management can establish an automated protocol that improves store freshness and employee productivity/morale.

It’s no surprise that an intuitive, user-friendly software experience means a happier user. When relying upon floor workers to establish a reliable and accurate system for checking expiry dates, providing an easy-to-use application is the keystone of high adoption rates. With prompted checks, the task of expiry date management becomes an easy, guided process: one that reduces stress and exertion on the part of the employee, so long as the system is consistent. Entering net shortest expiry or out of stock for items that are close-dated or off-shelf establishes a data-driven process that provides educated inventory and does away with the labor-intensive task of targeting which items to return to each day. When the application provides this information, time spent guessing goes out the window; allowing higher productivity rates and the great relief of foregoing manual checks.

More important still to retail management is the ability to achieve visibility of completion as well as task accuracy when it comes to date checking. Tracking performance and compliance allows a grocer to gather impact data and really see the system at work.

Connecting Pre-Existing Systems: Upshop Expiration Date Management

Cutting waste and streamlining labor with expiry date management shouldn’t mean adding one more incongruous system to the complicated ecosystem of retail management. Intuitive systems should allow for easy connection: Achieving smart expiry date management through straightforward API / FTP compatibility; integration of data across key enterprise systems; and effortless planogram compliance maintenance.

Connecting retail management structures is simple with Upshop’s expiration date management solution.  Not to mention experiencing an 87% reduction in on-shelf expired items, an 171% average ROI, and a 44-69% reduction in expired shrink. Focus on what matters more: Ridding your store of expired food, reducing unnecessary food waste, and making the shopping experience easy and delightful for consumers.

Expiration date management provides expired shrink breakdown in real time—giving your stores the capability to cut food waste before it happens, turning former loss into gain. Expiry date management should be intuitive when it comes to saving on labor and reducing waste.

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Andrew Hoeft