MSU Alumnus Optimizes Supply Chains to Reduce Food Insecurity
Andrew Kimpel is working to reduce food insecurity by eliminating the bottleneck issues in food pantry and school lunch program networks.
Andrew Kimpel has been involved in global supply chains for over 42 years. He has designed supply chain management tools and techniques for everything from Kleenex to high-tech electronics. He has worked with union and non-union operations, custom job shops, and continuous flow manufacturing. His supply chain expertise gave Kimpel the background needed for an area critical to everyone – food.
For the past 15 years, Kimpel has spent his time adapting his supply chain skills to the special challenges involved in linking people with food. While working with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) 10 years ago, he built a consulting business, Food Supply Chain (FSC) Concepts to advise nonprofit food banks and school districts on how efficiently to deliver food to people in need.
On March 22, MSU alumnus Kimpel (B.S. in Business, 1980) came back to campus to share with Dr. David Ortega’s graduate class in Food Policy (AFRE 817) his ideas on how supply chain concepts can improve the efficiency of food banks and food assistance programs.
“Data is everything,” Kimpel says. “Everything I do is based on data. I have a database of millions of records of every food distribution in the state that goes back to 2017, just watching where does the food go? What's the pattern of food? Where is it being distributed? What kind of food is it? How do we make the best decisions on where the food should go?”
FSC Concepts arose to make food logistics more cost efficient. Whether it is a food bank or a school district or the USDA or a soup kitchen, everyone is under a tight budget. Based on trends in pricing, crops, and geography, Kimpel works to optimize the supply chain and find the best prices for his clients. However, he explains that pricing is only part of the challenge.
“The real problem is there's a known bottleneck in the whole pipeline of the food bank network. This is at the food pantry level which is the last step before it goes to a person. Part of what I'm trying to do is find better ways to get it out.”
FSC Concepts uses the meal deficit metric (MDM) to show where there are missing meals. The MDM was created by Mari Gallagher who developed a methodology for analyzing thousands, millions of records of census data to come up with where there are missing meals around the state.
Whether Kimpel is working with an existing client or project or takes on something new, he approaches each situation the same way: starting with the end game.
“The end game is reducing food insecurity,” Kimpel explains. “That is the whole game for me right now -- reducing food insecurity. The food is there, we're just not getting it to people. It is a classic supply chain case study. We have the food, we have hungry people, we've got to connect that. My goal is to reduce those food insecurity numbers as much as I possibly can.”
Kimpel continues to expand his food supply chain repertoire. FSC has worked with Feeding America, Feeding Florida, Florida Department of Emergency Management, FEMA and FDACS. All of FSC projects involve that basic concept of linking people with food - something that Kimpel takes very seriously every day.
To learn more about FSC and Kimpel’s work visit his website here.