If you shop at MANNA, you're going to want to read this.
As you may or may not be aware, MANNA embarked on a project last fall called “Serving You”. We wanted to take a closer look at some of the processes and challenges of shopping the distribution floor here at MANNA. We enlisted one of our board members to conduct focus groups with our partner agencies to get their feedback and recommended changes. Here are some of the suggestions you made, followed by what MANNA can do in response:
Move hard-to-get (popular) items from shop floor into pre-ordering. This includes:
1) Meals, Entrée, Soups
2) Canned Vegetables
3) Canned Fruits
4) Rice and rice side dishes
IMPORTANT: Starting July 2013, these items will be available ONLY through online ordering; They will NOT be available to shop. These new codes will be replacing the “salvage food” code.
Ensure guidelines regarding out of date products are known:
We will attach a link to the newsletter (see left) and our website.
Place banana boxes and small packing bags in the “varies” room for shoppers.
We will have banana boxes available at all times.
Provide Name tags for push carts so other agencies don’t inadvertently take products off carts.
We will create “cart in use” signs available to put on your cart.
Review quality of certain canned soups (vendor-Southgate) and consider elimination or substituting.
We taste tested in-house and got mixed reviews: some liked it, others didn’t. We will eliminate from SNAP. It may be available at different times of year in Co-op.
Consider more aggressive shared maintenance fee mark-downs to move products.
This is constantly being evaluated. It’s based on movement and the quantity we get in. We’ve implemented a weekly review process and will continue to develop a product movement plan. More to come.
Create pre-sorted boxes of popular items (vegetables, fruits, entrees, canned meats).
Refer to first recommendation. We will be moving these items to pre-order only.
Develop remote distribution locations for certain products, like produce.
This is being discussed. It’s a challenge to be able to staff and maintain satellite locations. If any agency has the capacity to do this, please let us know. In the meantime, we’ve conducted multiple produce market trainings at MANNA. If you missed them and are interested, contact us.
Enlarge signage on products and update white board outside cooler.
We are working with staff to update the white board more often. Signage on the distribution floor is being designed and budgeted for, look for changes later this year.
Increase pre-screening of produce by volunteer staff, as well as pre-bagging of products.
We will continue to maximize our volunteer resources to keep this going.
Consider elimination of packaged, cut fruit due to quality.
We have eliminated this from distribution.
Continue seeking co-op food sources for products that MANNA is now unable to provide cost-competitively.
We will continue to use all of our resources to get the best prices we can find. The market is constantly changing – pricing fluctuate- so this will always be a challenge.
Improve communications around SNAP and TEFAP product availability schedules.
We will look for new ways to communicate this. Please continue to watch for information in the newsletter, on our website, on the online order screen, and through handouts in distribution.
Consider Saturday and evening shopping hours.
We will be taking a poll on this to determine how much interest there is. Will consider once we get feedback.
Expand the "Varies" Room.
We are looking at this in our facility redesign project. More to come.
Lower highest shelving for improved visibility and access.
This will require expanded floor space which we don’t currently have. We will continue to look at this and make any adjustments we can.
Eliminate use of current large carts on shopping floor.
We currently don’t have the budget to purchase new carts. This is something we’ll look at again in the facility redesign project.
Create a second checkout line.
This will be built into the new facility redesign.
Thanks to all who participated - we appreciate and respect all your input! We appreciate each of you and value our partnership to serve WNC.