Strella Biotechnology Provides Insights and Prevents Shrink; Co-Founders Katherine Sizov and Jay Jordan Discuss
EWING, NJ - As opportunities in cost saving aligned with growth become increasingly crucial, an innovative company is delivering a technology to enable smarter inventory decisions, reduce shrink, and improve quality.
Strella Biotech’s proprietary approach predicts and communicates the maturity of an increasing number of fresh categories, expanding possibilities on both the buy- and supply-sides.
“Our impact is both immediate in reducing bottom line shrink but also presents an opportunity to grow the whole category,” Katherine Sizov, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, shares. “At the end of the day, we as an industry aren’t competing against each other, we are competing against other categories in the grocery store, and fast food. If we can provide high-quality, consistent produce with minimal shrink, we can grow the total produce opportunity.”
Already established in apples and pears, Strella Biotech presents growers and packers the ability to better make million-dollar decisions on controlled atmosphere storage rooms. The company uses its technology to measure room maturity in real-time, helping determine correct packing order.
“We install sensors inside these rooms and give packers a proactive view of a room’s maturity, allowing them to open more mature rooms first and keep less mature rooms in storage. This enables the packer to consistently keep high-quality produce and reduce shrink in storage,” Jay Jordan, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, explains.
For importers, both Jay and Katherine point out this segment of our industry typically receives a “black box” of produce in the form of a container at port that uses limited data to make inventory decisions.
“This area is generally using the first-in-first-out method of inventory distribution,” Katherine says. “Strella’s sensors can be placed in a shipping container at origin to monitor produce maturity during transit. This information can be used by QA teams to pinpoint potential issues and slotting/sales teams to determine inventory order in a way that minimizes shrink and maintains consistent quality.”
At the end of the logistics route, retailers handle produce toward the latter half of its shelf-life.
“Retailers incur top-line losses when quality isn’t consistent for the consumer. Strella partners with upstream suppliers and integrates into retailer warehouse management software to help retailers receive and distribute high-quality, low-shrink produce,” Jay shares.
Because, as Jay and Katherine each point out, growers, packers, distributors, and retailers all do an incredible job with the data they have to move produce in the most waste- and quality-efficient way possible, and this step gives number-driven pieces of information about produce quality that actually travel with the product through the supply chain.
“There’s not always enough information to make the best inventory decision. Jay and I saw this problem and were motivated to think of a solution that encompassed the whole chain. We started our work in the apple and pear packing market, where we monitor controlled atmosphere storage rooms and predict packout orders. The technology has since evolved into work with importers and retailers to help sequence inventory and gain visibility into produce perishability,” Katherine tells me.
With the supply chain and production costs as impacted as they are today, the ROI in addressing the needs of suppliers and retailers to save where possible is swift with this technology. And, with advantages and benefits for the domestic supplier, importer, and retailer, there are few in the industry the growth of this product wouldn’t pose benefits for.
I, for one, will certainly have an eye out for the next category Strella Biotech might add insights to along the supply chain.