The Foodbank Inc. Dayton
The Foodbank Inc. in Dayton has increased its food distribution by over 26 percent by incorporating new data-driven production and management processes.
The Foodbank Inc.’s Intentional Self-Evaluation Produced Significant Improvements
The Foodbank Inc. in Dayton has been in existence as a non-profit since 2004. Two years ago organization leaders decided to undergo an intentional assessment of their internal practices and culture. Through the help of a supportive Board of Directors and a well-written strategic plan, The FoodBank Inc. has improved its organizational culture by encouraging greater collaboration, teamwork, and a sense of ownership in the mission and vision. Executive Director Michelle Riley reports that the organizational chart at The Foodbank has become much more “circular.” The efforts of the staff, board, and volunteers have resulted in the distinction of earning a Baldridge Spirit Award. Ms. Riley says that “data has really driven the change; the metrics we can turn to really helps us value the system.”
Willingness to examine and innovate has not only strengthened The Foodbank organizationally. It has also helped the nonprofit to make significant strides programmatically. The Foodbank’s main role is to provide logistics and transportation to distribute food to 85 member agencies that represent over 100 programs that provide food to communities in the area. Two years ago the organization distributed 5.7 million pounds of food; as of July 2013 it had distributed 7.2 million pounds, of which 1.2 million was fresh food and vegetables.
The key to this success, reports Ms. Riley, was the incorporation of Toyota Production Systems and Lean Manufacturing principles to streamline their warehouse and distribution processes. In order to achieve this kind of growth The Foodbank Inc. really took their data seriously. For instance, they updated their inventory system and reporting methods in order to get baseline metrics and comparable statistics to better define what success looks like and to track the best practices needed to drive the change.