- Hershey is launching a crowdsourcing contest through NineSigma that will help the company find a better way to ship chocolate during the warmer months so the products don't melt.
- The contest encourages innovators to develop a "lightweight, affordable cool shipping system that will keep chocolate close to the temperature at which it was packed for at least 48 hours."
- Hershey is looking for a method that doesn't use gel packs, which add to shipping costs. The company wants a method that is affordable enough to use year round.
Crowdsourcing for capital is nothing new to the food and beverage industry, though it is still in its early stages as compared to categories like technology. But crowdsourcing for supply chain innovations is a new way for food manufacturers to find and adopt ideas outside of their R&D departments.
For major manufacturers, these types of innovations can come from smaller companies that the larger company acquires. But crowdsourcing is another strategy to look outward for fresh ideas that can be applied to products and throughout the supply chain. Plus, smaller companies can use a similar crowdsourcing strategy if they don't have the capital to fund an expansive R&D department or make acquisitions themselves.
Such a supply chain innovation will also be critical as Hershey, like other manufacturers, expands its e-commerce efforts and serves consumers directly.