CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 21, 2018
Forward Thinking

There must be (almost) 50 ways to reduce your unsaleables

A panel discussion at the CSCMP EDGE 2017 conference addressed how consumer goods companies can reduce product damage and expiration.

Every year the consumer goods sector in the United States loses $15 billion to unsaleables, or products that cannot be sold due to their condition. To address this massive source of waste in the supply chain, the Trading Partner Alliance (TPA) and pallet company CHEP released a new report titled "Collaborative Strategies to Reduce Unsaleables" at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) EDGE 2017 conference on Tuesday.

A panel of experts discussed the report during an educational session at the conference. The report identifies 48 best-in-class practices for reducing the number of products that are damaged or expire before they can be sold. The practices encompass all of the main players in the consumer goods market including manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. Practices include such things as: using FIFO (first-in, first-out) when scheduling shipments; having an agreed-upon strategy and schedule for communicating information about discontinued items; testing packaging, unit loads, and handling systems throughout the supply chain; and clearly marking "best if used by" dates on all product packaging. The report also provides a system to help companies prioritize which best practices they should focus on and offers suggestions for how to implement them.

Even though the report is based on surveys and interviews with supply chain managers specifically in the consumer goods market, Daniel Triot, senior director at TPA, believes many of the practices can be applied to other industries. Triot is actively looking to work with other industries on further developing these best practices.

TPA previously published "Unsaleables 101," which covers the history of the movement to reduce unsaleables. The organization plans to develop an online educational program on reducing unsaleables and is looking to develop recommendations for reducing unsaleable fresh produce and meat.

The Trading Partner Alliance (TPA) is a joint group formed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) to develop a shared retailer-manufacturer agenda on supply chain efficiency issues.

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