3 ways the right in-store execution app can bolster fresh item management

According to a recent study by FMI, 41% of grocery retailer sales are derived from fresh foods. Clearly, grocers must prioritize freshness. 

Yet many companies find fresh item management daunting, with maintaining balanced availability proving a particular challenge. Too much product on hand leads to increased spoilage, which eats (pun intended) into revenue. But under-ordering is also problematic, with a staggering 58.6% of grocers grappling with out-of-stock issues weekly.  

Then there’s managing the people who are managing fresh items — a time- and money-consuming endeavor unto itself.  

All is not lost for grocery retailers struggling to balance the sometimes-competing priorities of fresher foods, happier customers, and healthier bottom lines. The right in-store execution app can work wonders in streamlining fresh item management — and RELEX Mobile Pro is tailor-made to address fresh item management challenges head-on.  

1. RELEX Mobile Pro uncomplicates fresh ordering and replenishment 

The act of ordering and stocking fresh items can lead to costly bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Take data integrity. Maintaining accurate and up-to-date information regarding inventory, demand, and product shelf life is a constant battle. Inaccurate data leads to misinformed decisions which then result in spoilage, stock-outs, or a combination of both. 

Additionally, the persistent threat of product shrink and spoilage looms over every fresh department. Variations in temperature, handling, and storage conditions can cause product shrinkage, leading to financial losses. Unclear expiration dates and the uneven spoilage rates of fresh items further complicate the matter. 

The persistent threat of product shrink and spoilage looms over every fresh department. 

If that wasn’t enough, there’s the consumer to consider. Consumer demand and preferences change suddenly and can vary widely, even within the same product category. It can be a challenge to cater to such dynamic preferences while ensuring product freshness — and a small misstep almost certainly will result in adverse business outcomes. 

An effective in-store execution app must be designed with these fresh concerns in mind — which is why RELEX Mobile Pro comes equipped with features such as: 

  • Optimized ordering and inventory management. RELEX Mobile Pro addresses the issue of data integrity head-on. The app generates order suggestions based on machine learning-powered predictive inventory, ensuring that teams order the precise number of products — no more, no less.  
  • Spoilage projections and real-time stock alerts. No clear expiration dates? No problem. RELEX Mobile Pro comes equipped with spoilage projections based on current data. The app continuously monitors product conditions and issues proactive alerts that empower staff to take swift action to minimize waste, ensuring quality and freshness. 
  • Purchase behavior modeling. The app uses purchase behavior modeling powered by up-to-date data to take the guesswork out of anticipating consumer preferences. These insights into consumer behavior allow fresh teams to maintain the flexibility needed to cater to diverse preferences modeling without risking stock imbalances. 
An illustration depicting how RELEX can identify batch-specific spoilage projections to reduce food waste.
Fig. 1. RELEX Mobile Pro allows grocers to project spoilage based on up-to-date data. 

What works well in fresh also works for center store item management. Center-store items don’t expire as quickly as fresh ones. Because spoilage is rarely a concern for center-store items, teams often rely on guesswork when placing orders. However, this guesswork can lead to overstocking and costly capacity issues. 

Luckily, RELEX Mobile Pro is a holistic solution. The app covers both fresh and center store management within a single platform, removing the need for businesses to spend extra time, money, or resources on additional tools. 

2. Tackles labor management pain points 

Fresh items don’t just appear on store shelves magically. It takes dedicated people to make it happen. It’s as critical to manage the individuals involved in the process as it is to manage the items themselves, particularly for grocers aiming to optimize cost savings. 

Many grocers heavily rely on experienced managers to run their fresh departments efficiently. These seasoned professionals often have decades of industry expertise, which typically translates into more effective management. They can intuitively anticipate fluctuations in demand based on upcoming weather patterns or annual events and adjust their orders accordingly — the kind of insight a newcomer would not inherently possess. 

Companies find it challenging to retain top-tier talent, and finding suitable replacements can prove even tougher. 

But today’s labor market poses a considerable challenge. It’s more difficult than ever to retain top-tier talent, and finding suitable replacements can prove even tougher. Grocers must find ways to support their experienced managers so they can perform their roles effectively and facilitate the onboarding of new staff. This ensures that customer satisfaction remains consistent even in the face of workforce turnover. 

This is where RELEX Mobile Pro shines, as it addresses two labor-related pain points: 

  1. The experience gap. Newcomers to the fresh item management team often struggle to get up to speed quickly. RELEX Mobile Pro provides a guided experience that simplifies the onboarding process. In-app suggestions guide new hires through back-of-house and sales floor stock counting, ordering, and more. These features are especially beneficial for new employees who lack the same amount of experience as those who have worked in fresh item management for years. 
  2. Operational complexity. RELEX Mobile Pro optimizes processes and offers easy access to inventory information. Employees can rely on the app to answer inventory questions to free up time for employees to focus on exceptions and on ensuring customer satisfaction. 

Simply put, RELEX Mobile Pro makes labor management less labor-intensive for every stakeholder involved. 

3. RELEX Mobile Pro optimizes and simplifies workforce task management 

Robust task management is the secret ingredient to fresh item management success. The intricacies of fresh item management are amplified with the scale of a grocery store and the multitude of product SKUs involved. Fresh departments often grapple with inadequate communication between back-of-house, sales floor, and administrators. And those manning the floors often have limited access to critical historical data — especially when they are forced to rely on pen-and-paper methods. 

The intricacies of fresh item management are amplified with the scale of a grocery store and the multitude of product SKUs involved. 

Uncertainty regarding task assignments and the inability to validate the correct execution of tasks further compound matters. Employees who are unsure who should perform specific tasks or the sequence in which those tasks should be executed can inadvertently create inefficiencies, delays, and misaligned priorities.  

Then there’s task tracking. Most grocers cannot validate task completion accurately and swiftly. Suboptimal execution of task completion and validation can lead to the big fresh item management no-nos: product spoilage, stock-outs, and customer dissatisfaction.  

RELEX Mobile Pro comes to the rescue by offering a comprehensive solution that streamlines workforce task management through: 

  • Workflow creation. RELEX Mobile Pro allows fresh departments to create customized workflows on the go, assign tasks with priority levels, and receive timely alerts when tasks become overdue. The app also automates the generation of new tasks upon completing preceding ones, ensuring a seamless flow of work. 
  • Progress tracking. The app makes it easy to monitor the status and correctness of tasks. Store workers can provide evidence of task completion through submitted photos, digital signatures, time logs, and location check-ins. This tracking system ensures that work is done — and done correctly

RELEX Mobile Pro also simplifies task management by including it alongside its other fresh item management capabilities. Many grocers believe they need a task management solution as well as a separate tool that addresses inventory and ordering execution. Combining both functions into a single app prevents users from requiring extra training or switching between tools throughout their workday. 

An image of RELEX Mobile Pro’s UI, which demonstrates its combined task and fresh item management capabilities within a clean, simple UI.
Fig 2. RELEX Mobile Pro seamlessly combines task and fresh item management capabilities into a single, easy-to-use application. 

Some grocers may wish to start task management by focusing exclusively on the most important tasks. But a company’s needs will likely scale along with the business itself — an eventuality for which RELEX Mobile Pro was built. The app digitizes processes to maintain efficiency even as a company grows, allowing grocers to continue using a single comprehensive tool over time — without needing alternatives. 

Join the fight for fresher grocery stores 

An efficient fresh department is critical to grocery retail success. Most grocery retail executives agree, with 64% considering fresh food the most strategically essential department for growth in the next 1-3 years.  

With such a focus being placed on improving fresh offerings, retailers can’t afford to fall behind in fresh item management efficiency. Grocers must use every tool at their disposal to stay ahead of the competition — and it helps when a tool like RELEX Mobile Pro checks so many boxes.  

Perhaps the most important box of all? The company behind the app. RELEX has made its name in fresh food forecasting and replenishment, and we’ve helped our grocery retail customers across the globe achieve unparalleled efficiency and profitability. We understand the razor-thin margins for success in fresh food management better than anyone, and the capabilities we’ve built into RELEX Mobile Pro reflect this.  

Don’t let fresh item management hurdles spoil your profitability. 

Unlock fresh success with RELEX 

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