Every Meal Case Study

Every Meal, a Minnesota-based hunger relief organization, has been providing food to local children for over 13 years. Knowing that implementing new technology could help increase their impact, they turned to NetSuite and RF-SMART to improve their inventory management processes. In 2020, Every Meal faced the uncertainty of the COVID-19 Pandemic; however, with the proper supply chain technology in place, they were able to  overcome insurmountable odds. 

Since 2010, the Every Meal team has served over 8 million meals to students in their area. “Our mission is to fight child hunger through community and school partnerships,” said Nate Youngblood, Vice President of Every Meal. “We see ourselves as the logistical supply chain hub of the process. We buy all the food and pack it in our warehouse to prepare it for delivery.” To continue serving more students, Every Meal needed business and warehouse technology that could optimize their supply chain processes and expand their reach. They decided to implement RF-SMART to ensure all inventory data was being captured accurately and instantly transmitted back to NetSuite.

Every Meal Bags

Leveraging Technology

Every Meal determined that implementing updated software and hardware solutions was a necessary step in getting food into the hands of more children. “We were looking for a solution that was robust enough to streamline our financial processes while also improving the logistics of our supply chain,” said Nicole Price, Every Meal’s Senior Technical Project Manager. “We found that NetSuite has the capacity to grow with us.”  

As they went live on NetSuite as their ERP, they chose to evaluate various software to determine which warehouse management system (WMS) would work best for their team - RF-SMART was the clear choice. “Our vendors are part of what makes fulfilling our mission possible,” said Nate. “If we can’t use best-in-class infrastructure on our system side to make connections happen on the back end, we can’t leverage those tools to provide the variety and the quality we want to for these kids.”

Reliable Partnership

Every Meal’s implementation finished at just the right time. Shortly after their NetSuite and RF-SMART go-live, Every Meal faced one of their greatest challenges yet – fulfilling their mission while transitioning to meet a world that changed overnight. In early 2020, Every Meal saw an increased community need for meals in the wake of COVID-19, which required them to quickly adapt their processes to meet the demand. “Through demand planning and RF-SMART, we were able to create a purchase list in 15 minutes, ordering 70,000 bags of food,” said Nicole.  

“When we saw the high need and high demand, we had to purchase additional food that required onboarding an additional location,” said Nicole. RF-SMART was able to help them tackle this challenge in record time. “We were able to receive inventory at that location, and quickly get things moved over both physically and in the system because of RF-SMART,” said Nicole. RF-SMART’s ease of use and flexibility was vital in keeping their operations running and getting food out the door. “For six months straight, we quadrupled our output. I shudder to think of what would have happened if we hadn’t been able to have RF-SMART in place prior to COVID.” 

Real-Time Inventory Visibility 

RF-SMART allowed Every Meal to replace their manual processes with fast, easy-to-use data capture through barcode scanning. “Before RF-SMART, we were manually tracking everything,” said Nicole. “All of our deliveries were being marked on Excel spreadsheets, which meant the information wasn’t getting updated in real-time.” This process was slow and opened the door to many inaccuracies from user error. 

Now, they are using RF-SMART at every step of their inventory process. Their users scan in pallets with a barcode scanner, and then use the scanner to put items away to the correct location. Lastly, they assemble and pack the sales orders, all guided by their RF-SMART handheld. “We provide around 
14,000 bags of food a week using sales orders,” said Nicole, “RF-SMART has been able to make the movements in our warehouse more methodical and efficient. It has helped us zero-in on our inventory components.” 

Every Meal has seen huge improvements in their inventory control and accuracy by utilizing real-time updates to their data. To further improve their visibility, they utilize RF-SMART’s lot tracking to document all individual components at the bag and raw component levels, giving them true insight into all movement in their stock.

They now have full traceability, making product expirations a key part of their planning. “We don’t want to deliver food to kids and give them something that has expired. That was a big challenge prior to RF-SMART,” said Nicole. Now, they can properly label each bag with this real-time information. “This helps us better serve the students by giving them and the school all of the information they need.

Listen Now: Every Meal joins the RF-SMART Podcast to discuss their journey with RF-SMART.

Smooth User Onboarding 

The Every Meal team leans on the help of community volunteers to prepare meal bags for delivery. “We utilize a team of donors, vendors, professional staff, and volunteers to make our meals,” said Nate. The ease-of-use RF-SMART brings has been a game-changer for their team. “Our volunteers are able to quickly pick up and use RF-SMART.”

RF-SMART’s easy-to-use software allowed the Every Meal staff to better use their resources, saving additional time and money when training new volunteers. “Our team can simply plug in a sales order, move to our build stations, and walk palette to palette to secure the right bags,” said Nicole. From there, they scan and pick the bag, and move those on a delivery cart to the warehouse dock. “As a nonprofit, it’s so awesome that our volunteers can come in and use industry-leading technology to make their time as efficient as possible,” said Nate.

As they continue to offer more resources to their local children in need, they lean on the support RF-SMART gives them to continue fulfilling their mission. “RF-SMART allows us to pivot adjust to meet our changing needs,” said Nicole.

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“[During COVID] we quadrupled our output. I shudder to think of what would have happened if we hadn’t been able to have RF-SMART in place prior to COVID.”

Learn how RF-SMART supported Every Meal's hunger relief efforts through COVID and beyond.

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Download the Every Meal Case Study