Soccer team in a huddle

Dons Solidaires Connects Surplus to Need

Feature Article | October 4, 2016 by Rhoda Springer

Did you ever wonder what happens to non-perishable products that no longer have a commercial value and are just sitting in a company’s surplus stock?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to take this surplus of things such as hygiene products or school supplies, and get them to those in difficulty who really need them?

Enter Dons Solidaires, a French company that matches excess inventory with social need.

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Dons Solidares staff with some of their beneficiaries

In 2004, Dons Solidaires began partnering with donor companies to develop a catalog system. The idea was to provide an easy way for charitable organizations to see what was available, and place orders for the essential products needed by their beneficiaries. At that time, organizations already existed to ensure excess food items were put to good use, but nothing existed in France to distribute non-perishable essentials, such as soap and shampoo. Personal hygiene products and school supplies that otherwise may have just been destroyed, now get a new life, reducing environmental waste while providing essential benefits.

The member charities in Dons Solidaires’s network not only support beneficiaries concentrated in Paris, but also spread throughout France. But it doesn’t stop there. In addition to the ongoing needs in France, Dons Solidaires also responds to social issues such as the Syrian refugee crisis. According to In Kind Direct International, over €650,000 worth of goods were distributed to those that had to leave everything behind.

Growing Pains

Like all good ideas, popularity led to major logistics issues. Dons Solidaires found that its catalog was outdated within days of being published, causing frustration for the charities trying to place orders, and hours of follow-up work for staff and volunteers.  The company needed to move from tracking items via spreadsheets to an online system of ordering.

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Accurate and efficient warehouse processes aids in the distribution of goods to the needy

Don Solidaires reached out to SAP, which it had partnered with since 2010, for guidance on moving toward its goals. As Bethan Aumonier, Donor Relations Manager from Dons Solidaires, discussed with host David Trites in a recent #SAPTalks podcast, the company needed a way to handle the increasing volume from donors and charities while keeping to a very tight budget without further straining the 9 employees and 35 volunteers. With SAP Business One licenses, expertise, and advice, Dons Solidaires moved to a system to manage the whole scope of its business. In addition, it launched an e-catalog. The new e-catalog reflects the real time inventory, allowing charities to order with confidence and helping Dons Solidaires keep its administrative costs in check. Considering its admirable goals, this is a definite win-win.

@DonsSolidaires uses SAP Business One to manage the whole scope of its business

The Goal:  Help More

Dons Solidaires’s numbers for 2015 are pretty impressive. The company partnered with 100 donor companies and 320 member charities to help approximately 580,000 people in need. But it’s not stopping there (see more on its Customer Journey). Its goal is to reach 1 million people by 2018. And since innovations have decreased product delivery time by two to four weeks, that goal is closer to a reality.

By matching societal needs with a sustainable approach and a digital solution, Dons Solidaires has created a way to make the world a better place.

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Follow me on Twitter:  @rhodajspringer

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

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