Can MRP help you restock your fridge?
It’s Friday night, and we’re going shopping tomorrow morning.
Here, we propose a scientific method that will allow you to efficiently determine what you need and optimize your supplies!
1. Make reliable forecasts
- Determine your menus for morning, noon, and evening meals, starting tomorrow (Saturday) at noon, and ending Saturday morning next week.
- Be sure to plan the number of guests for each day and adjust consumption according to their hunger. Do you have a teenager in the house? Is Uncle Alfred coming over this weekend?
- Consider the exogenous factors. In the middle of a heat wave, we drink more and eat less. Check the weather!
- Allow for a possible variation in demand — a little night-time craving, for example.
2. Calculate your gross needs
- For each of your daily menus, calculate your needs according to each recipe. It’s simple — just multiply your consumption forecasts for each dish by the quantities of ingredients in the recipe.
- Make sure your recipes are reliable — ingredient quantities must be correct.
3. Calculate your net needs
- Check the state of your stock in your cupboards and fridge. Make sure the count is reliable. If you’re not sure how much rice is in the box you started with, use a kitchen scale. Recent models allow for excellent accuracy — possibly with a Bluetooth connection, if you have a 4.0 kitchen — you’ll find this type of scale online for as little as $40.
- Should you aim to have some stock left next Saturday before the next shopping, just in case? If so, note this amount of safety stock.
- If you have leftovers, take them into account! If, for example, you have two portions left over from Friday’s mixed salad, and you plan to eat them Saturday night, there’s no need to restock the ingredients for this mixed salad!
- Check the expiration dates! Your stock should be good to go for the day you plan to eat it. If it is not the case, either consider this stock as unavailable, or reschedule your menus and go back to step 1.
- Calculating your requirements is simple: (projected gross requirements) – (starting stock) + (safety stock for Saturday next week).
- Round up your needs to the purchase lot. Let’s take an example:
- You have 1 liter of milk left
- Your gross requirement for this week’s recipes is 1.8 liters
- You want to aim for ½ liter of remaining stock next Saturday
- Your net requirement is therefore 1.3 liters
- You buy your milk by the 1-liter brick, so you supply 2 liters
- Note that this week the store is doing a special operation, with a 30% discount on the 6-pack of UHT bricks — your spouse, a buyer in the industry, thinks it’s a good deal, so you decide…
4. Shop accordingly
Warning: avoid the compulsive buying of ingredients that are not required for your recipes!
5. Control your execution
- Each day of the week, stick closely to the menus you determined in Step 1.
- Make sure you’re sticking to the right amount of ingredients. Your connected precision scale can help.
- Attention: don’t fail your recipes! If you burn the casserole, it could generate shortages!
- Monitor your guests’ consumption, and don’t hesitate to influence it by being discreetly persuasive if you see a drift. “Are you sure you want that extra piece of pie?” Professionals call this “demand shaping.”
- Wednesday night, your teenager shows up for dinner with his basketball buddies. Ouch. Did you plan for that in your safety stock of pasta? Is it too late to order pizzas? If you decide to go with pizzas, what will you do with the ingredients you’d planned to use that night?
- Measure the reliability of your forecasts accordingly, as you will be able to use this measure to improve next week forecast and safety stocks.
6. We’re coming up on Friday night — time to return to Step 1
You can consider computerizing your process if it seems too laborious.
Wait… Isn’t that how you do your shopping? Or do you restock based on your actual consumption, possibly with a Wednesday top-up at the local grocer?