Singapore Management University and FairPrice Group partner to reduce food waste

Monitoring dashboard using predictive analysis created to help monitor and reduce food waste
By the SMU Corporate Communications team

As part of the Singapore Management University’s (SMU) SMU-X initiative, students from SMU’s School of Accountancy and Lee Kong Chian School of Business worked together with FairPrice Group (FPG) to come up with a Food Waste Management Monitoring Dashboard to better visualise and analyse data to help with food waste management at the supermarket chain.

This was achieved through the implementation of a write-off monitoring dashboard and the application of predictive analytics. From August to November 2022, the project team leveraged on Tableau dashboarding and Python predictive analytics to identify which were the outlets with the most write-off and which products contribute the most write-off.

Jolin Goh, Year 4 Student from the SMU School of Accountancy said, “In the course of working on this project, my group members and I went through the gruelling process of building dashboards and predictive analysis models from scratch over a period of 13 weeks. Seeing them come to fruition is a huge milestone for me. The journey was challenging but rewarding as I was able to put to the test various analytical skills which I had learnt from courses such as Data Modelling and Visualisation, Statistical Programming and Introduction to Programming. Through this experience, I also learnt the importance of embracing uncertainty and communicating effectively with stakeholders and peers. As we live in a volatile world where change is the only constant, it is important to be adaptable to thrive in the face of uncertainty. Being able to communicate effectively will also reduce the likelihood of errors and ensure that tasks are completed efficiently."

After months of consulting and analysing data, the result was a dashboard created to allow FairPrice Group to monitor and analyse food wastage by food categories and at different time periods. This breakdown enabled FPG to zoom in to specific areas and better identify opportunities to reduce food waste. Products were also further analysed down to individual items and this enabled the FPG to adjust and optimise inventory levels for their essentials, groceries, snacks, and beverages categories.

The partnership between SMU and FPG is a long-standing one, with the two organisations having collaborated on several SMU-X projects in the areas of Internal Audit and Finance. With FPG's focus on building its sustainability reporting efforts and SMU's commitment to developing graduates who have the knowledge and skills to implement sustainable practices in business, this joint initiative allows SMU and FPG to achieve their objectives and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Benjamin Lee, Lecturer of Accounting and Director (Student Matters), SMU SOA, who led the project said, "We are grateful to the FairPrice group for giving us the opportunity to work on this Food Waste Management Project.  Our students had two key takeaways – stakeholder management and reflections with an inquisitive mind. Stakeholder management is vital so that we can better manage our client’s expectations and cater to their needs, thus achieving a high level of client satisfaction and enabling them to achieve their targets. Also, by continuously reflecting on whether we are on the right track and if there are any areas where improvements can be made, we can exceed expectations and deliver a project that encompasses all the needs that the clients may want. These skills and lessons learnt will certainly be valuable as we take on more projects, be it in school or in our careers.”

The FairPrice project is now part of SMU School of Accountancy’s Capstone showcase. More details can be found in here.