Rise Against Hunger Awarded Inaugural IISE Excellence in Sustainable Development

Rise Against Hunger is an international hunger relief nonprofit organization founded in 1998 that distributes food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable, mobilizing the necessary resources to end hunger by 2030. To date, they have packaged 450 million meals in 74 countries. Related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, RAH’s effort help impact Goal #2, Zero Hunger.

Based on their implementation of lean, Six Sigma, systems thinking and engineering principles, they have been named the inaugural winner of the IISE Excellence in Sustainable Development Award for 2019.

Challenge at RAH

RAH was growing, and looking to better serve their customers and manage their overhead costs. In 2017, they had 20 U.S. warehouse locations.

They were looking to change their operations to accomplish the following:

  • Centralize forecasting, purchasing & inventory storage
  • Allow for the growth of more locations
  • Standardize processes and procedures
  • Reduce cash spent on leased warehouse space, machines etc.

Each location manages community engagement activities, meal packaging events (MPEs), ingredient inventory, packaged meals and MPE equipment.

To address these efforts, RAH aggressively pursued the Central Distribution Warehouse (CDW) model, which intended to accomplish the following:

  • Centralized all meal packing event equipment and raw materials 
  • Created small satellite locations that operate out of 3PLs
  • Increased operational excellence
  • Increased time for community engagement for prospecting, relationship building, event planning and growth
  • Increased meal packing at satellite locations

Changes Implemented

Three locations implemented the CDW model in 2018, Florida, California and Indiana.

Implementing the new CDW model in California led to the creation of 4 new satellite locations: Orange County, San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley San Jose, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego. They also converted Southern and Northern California warehouses to satellites locations with no storage.

Implementing the new CDW model in Florida resulted in the conversion of the Orlando warehouse to a satellite warehouse, and the creation of 4 new satellite locations: Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.

Indiana has two satellite locations: Indianapolis, and Chicago (Illinois) area

Lean Implementation

In addition to the CDW model, the following lean tools were deployed in the warehouses to further improve efficiency and productivity.

  • SIPOC diagram
  • Value Stream Mapping (VSM)
  • 5S workplace organization
  • Facility layout changes
Example 5S before and after results in warehouse
Future State Value Stream Map

Results of efforts

After the CDW and lean improvements were implemented, RAH experienced the following results:

  • Brought Days of Supply (DOS) down from 82 to 52 in just 8 short months
  • 2nd most accurate soy ordering, forecasting and ordering for 6 separate markets and satellite locations
  • Created a safer work environment for staff and volunteers
  • Obtained compliance with FDA, CA law and OSHA
  • Effective operation model supported in the growth of 200% in satellite community engagement locations
  • 57% increase in productivity
  • Increased the number of meals packed for our recipients from 8,163,072 meals packed in CA to 11,751,472
  • Increased the longevity of our meals by ensuring FIFO is enforced, which gives our recipients a longer period to stretch the meals
  • Improved the data saving the company overhead costs on non-value added activities and processes
  • More streamlined processes allow for the receiving and sending out GIK (Gift-in-Kind) donations, such as protein powder

Congratulations to Courtney Hudson and the Rise Against Hunger team! Keep up the great work!


Brion Hurley from BPI and Courtney Hudson from Rise Against Hunger at the IISE Annual Conference in Orlando, FL

We would also like to congratulate the other organizations who submitted for the award: City of Fort Collins, World Vision Rwanda, and AbilityFirst.

We are accepting nominations for the 2020 award, to be presented at the IISE Annual Conference in New Orleans.

BPI is proud to be a sponsor of this award. Special thanks to IISE and the Sustainable Development Division for help in administering the award.

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