‘Digitization is an unstoppable trend’: Why PepsiCo is digitalising food banks across Spain

‘Digitization is an unstoppable trend’: Why PepsiCo is digitalising food banks across Spain

The reasons are threefold. Its involvement has improved productivity at the food bank, meaning it can help feed more vulnerable families in the Spanish capital. The initiative has provided a rewarding experience for PepsiCo employee volunteers; and, with digitization rapidly transforming the food and beverage industry, the learnings from the project will provide the company with solutions and efficiencies that better prepare it for the future.

PepsiCo began using its digital tools to support the Fundación Banco de Alimentos de Madrid in November 2021 in response to the increased demand after the pandemic, aiming to ensure access to food for more than 170,000 people.


Boosting productivity with enterprise resource planning (ERP)

The food, snack and beverage giant’s involvement has both helped improve operations at the food bank and provided a rewarding experience for PepsiCo employee volunteers. The company now plans to expand to other food banks in other parts of Spain, PepsiCo Europe Chief Information Officer Nigel Richardson told us.

“The implementation of new digital tools has facilitated a very profound cultural change within the organisation and allows the NGO to manage its operations more efficiently and reach more volunteers,”​ Richardson revealed. Volunteer applications have increased by 18% in just under a year. These volunteers have been encouraged by improved productivity methods and tasks made simpler using digital means, he explained.

“The largest project has been the implementation of a business management platform called SAGE, which optimizes the financial and purchasing processes of the food bank, ranging from the management of product and supplier data to the purchase of food itself.”

SAGE has meant the reduction of 40 hours of monthly work in management of the purchasing process.

“We have also implemented a new data analysis tool, POWERBI, which gives daily access to all logistics information,”​ explained Richardson.​ “As a result, the food bank can more easily track things like expiration dates and stock and carry out very detailed monitoring of which products each social organization receives in order to ensure consistency and fairness between them.

“Finally, we have also launched a new website, which is much more accessible, efficient and easy to use, and makes it easier for the food bank to recruit new volunteers.”

One of the key benefits for the bank has been reducing the time spent by volunteers through the digitalization of manual activities. This has been cut to five hours a thanks for the implementation of a new web form in place of emails,” said Richardson. “This means three volunteers can devote their time to other more valuable work.”

Invoice processing has also been simplified significantly thanks to SAGE, which allows for better automatic budgetary control. “This has increased the productivity of volunteers, who can much more quickly assess levels of stock, demand and volunteers in the food banks,”​ said Richardson. The procedures have allowed for improvement of control and immediacy of processes, in particular: calculation of food needs and control of our charities and number of beneficiaries (registrations, cancellations and regularizations month by month). There has also been improved speed in decision making, especially in volatile environments, we were told. The new processes have further allowed a “rewarding experience for PepsiCo employee volunteers, increasing our sense of Purpose and Pride for the labour PepsiCo Foundation is doing to support our communities”,​ said Richardson.


“We’re always searching for ways to use new digital tools as a force for good.” PepsiCo Europe Chief Information Officer Nigel Richardson 

Solutions and efficiencies that better prepare us for the future

He also noted that digitization is an “unstoppable trend”​ which has accelerated since the pandemic. The food bank project therefore helps provide the company “with solutions and efficiencies that better prepare us for the future,” ​he revealed. “At PepsiCo we’re always searching for ways to use new digital tools as a force for good​.

“It is a tremendous satisfaction to have helped to digitally prepare the Banco de Alimentos de Madrid so that it can continue helping the people who need it most and to avoid food waste. This type of collaboration between private companies and NGOs is necessary to build a more sustainable and equitable food system.

“The PepsiCo Foundation seeks solutions that transform the communities where we live and work. Thanks to this project, we can have a positive impact by contributing to a more innovative and sustainable food system and a more equitable world.

“This new agreement reinforces our links with food banks throughout Spain, with which we have been collaborating for more than 15 years. As one of the world’s largest food and drink companies, we know we have a responsibility to drive positive action for the planet and people. We’re bringing together the lessons learned from successful programs all over the world and raising our voice — and those of our partners — to fight for food for good.”

Implementing the digital tools needed for the food bank to thrive in the long-term

In the short term, PepsiCo plans to lift and adapt the work it has done in Madrid as much as possible to take the learnings to food banks across Spain.

“In Madrid, our funds were used to create a Systems Plan that can be replicated by other Food Banks in Spain. This will be the starting point. From there, we’ll work with other food banks to gain a better understanding on where the gaps are compared with our pilot project in Madrid. Ultimately, the objective is for other food banks to define their own Digitalization Roadmap in line with their main priorities – to track and implement the digital tools needed for the food bank to thrive in the long-term.”

“Key to expanding this project across Spain and globally is our people. Our team of volunteers from IT, the Digital Hub and the logistics centre participated in the project in Madrid, acting as consultants to guide the food banks throughout the entire implementation process of the programs. Thanks to their expertise and the time they dedicate, we are able to share our learnings and improve the digital capabilities of other food banks and organisations – collaborating together to make large-scale change and ultimately work towards a more equitable world and food system.”

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