A group of my colleagues in the Perficient Denver office took on an extremely rewarding pro-bono project in October 2017 with We Don’t Waste (WDW). The local non-profit collects excess food from venues, caterers, restaurants, and other outlets and redistributes quality items to underserved populations in Denver.
How We Got Involved
One of our Management Consulting directors, Allison Fries, is on the WDW board and shared some of their opportunities for growth. As soon as we heard about it, we volunteered and got to work. My fellow team members involved in the project so far include Chris Coffin, lead business consultant; Kaitlyn McIntyre, lead business consultant; Bob Vanek, director; Dean Dormady, lead business consultant; Audra Johnson, lead business consultant; and Steve Storer, project manager.
What We Bring to the Table
The project has been an opportunity to help WDW grow in their ability to serve the community. Our goal has been to help them successfully and independently set up and operate a facility that makes their day-to-day operations scalable.
“WDW was able to lease a new warehouse facility allowing them to take in larger quantities of available food and subsequently better fit the distribution of the food to the food banks and pantries across the Denver metro area,” Bob said. “What WDW didn’t know was how to set up and operate this new facility.”
Our First Steps
After joining the WDW team for a ride-along to get familiar with their day-to-day operations, our group took about a week to design their new warehouse, identify required materials for optimal warehouse production, and generate various processes for staging goods, validating expiration, breaking down pallets and managing outbound shipments. Most recently, we met with Arlan Preblud, WDW’s executive founder; Tim Sanford, director of operations; and Kyle Endres, Director of Development; to continue our efforts.
We decided we will begin by supporting some initial Salesforce improvements and looking at process designs for volunteer-related initiatives. For instance, Kaitlyn and Chris are working to help WDW gain visibility into their inventory and donation tracking by defining the current state Salesforce capabilities and developing requirements around what is needed to provide additional functionality. They are expanding on the WDW process flows to incorporate the Salesforce use into the overall warehouse process map, providing visibility where improvements are made and highlighting where additional opportunities can be found.
“Most Collaborative Effort I’ve Experienced”
The WDW team is an incredibly hard-working group of people and working with them has been one of the most collaborative efforts I’ve experienced. To know we’re helping an organization that provides so much to our community makes this effort not only rewarding, but also a fun and educational experience. My colleagues have certainly echoed that sentiment.
Kaitlyn said she’s been excited by the opportunity to contribute to the project. “WDW has been extremely helpful in providing access to everything needed to understand their processes, and I’m looking forward to the continued work with them.”
“An Empty Canvas”
Dean has realized opportunities to try new approaches. “Since I’m working with an empty canvas, it’s fun to see what kind of options we can come up with,” he said.
Bob finds the ability to apply our business skills to an effort like WDW especially rewarding. “The time spent on this effort was both educational and rewarding for the team,” he said. “The excitement on the team’s faces when we walked into the new warehouse was great to see. Even more, the additional product that WDW will be able to distribute to the needy in the community is inspiring.”
“Partnering with organizations such as WDW is the perfect opportunity for Perficient to utilize our skillsets to give back to the community in meaningful, impactful ways,” Audra added.
Chris believes companies like Perficient have helped propel significant growth in the Denver area during the past several years.
He hopes the momentum continues. “Companies need to be committed to ensuring those who live in the markets they serve are not left out of this tremendous growth that is being realized by the city and Perficient,” he said. “Community projects such as this are vital.”
As our work with WDW continues, we’ve received great feedback from Arlan:
“The assistance We Don’t Waste has received from the Perficient team has been invaluable. We have a new Distribution Center and know how to recover food; however, when it comes to strategically and logistically setting up our Distribution Center, they’ve helped us get the new facility up and running so much faster and more efficiently than we could have done on our own. Plus, the team is a delight to work with. Hunger is a pressing issue, and with Perficient’s help we look forward to efficiently and effectively feeding more people than ever before.”
Read more about how our colleagues across all of our Perficient locations make an impact in their communities.