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Second Harvest marquee
Second Harvest uses WSD

Second Harvest builds a hunger-free community


Faster MTTR for warehouse service tickets


Daily digital health screenings


People served every month

Helping families make ends meet
A large segment of Silicon Valley was finding it hard to make ends meet even before COVID-19. Low-wage earners and their families struggled to be self-sufficient in one of the costliest areas of the United States. Since the onset of the pandemic and record inflation, households are struggling to afford necessities. Second Harvest of Silicon Valley (Second Harvest) provides nutritious food to 450,000 people every month to ensure that no one in the community needs to choose between paying rent or putting food on the table.

“Many people are living on the edge and we saw demand for food assistance double during the pandemic. It hasn’t dropped much since—we are still serving near-peak pandemic highs”, says Elizabeth Whamond, Director of Information Technology, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, “During our last fiscal year, we distributed 130 million pounds of food, or the equivalent of more than 108 million meals”. 

Second Harvest is the centre of the charitable food distribution system in Silicon Valley, supplying fresh food through nearly 400 community-based partners at more than 900 sites across Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Whenever people in Silicon Valley receive groceries from a drive-through distribution centre or delivery to an affordable housing centre, eat a hot meal at church or receive snacks at a free afterschool programme, the food likely originated from a Second Harvest warehouse.

Because food is the foundation for a healthy, active life, Second Harvest provides people with a mix of fresh produce, lean protein, dairy items and whole grains. “We pride ourselves on providing clients with a consistent, nutritious mix of items; more than half of the food we distribute is fresh produce and at least 25% is protein or dairy”, Whamond adds.

Second Harvest operates four warehouses where food is sorted and boxed before being distributed to the community. To function efficiently, warehouse infrastructure and equipment such as pallet decks, dock levellers, tractor trailers and forklifts must be kept in excellent condition despite continuous and heavy use. This requires work crews to rapidly respond to and resolve a variety of warehouse maintenance requests.

“Over the past few years, ServiceNow has donated generously to Second Harvest and supported our vision of a hunger-free community”, explains Whamond, “When COVID-19 hit, ServiceNow provided the digital tools we needed to significantly accelerate and increase food distribution while keeping our employees safe. Our warehouses operate six days a week—at almost 24 hours a day—to ensure that we can continue to meet the incredible need we’re seeing”.

Streamlining maintenance requests 
With the increasing demand for food assistance, Second Harvest needed to efficiently manage warehouse maintenance and operations requests for food storage and distribution. Before using ServiceNow, Second Harvest contended with hundreds of open warehouse maintenance tickets, making it difficult for work crews to effectively triage critical issues.

“We tracked everything in a spreadsheet, which made it hard to manage a large volume of requests”, says Whamond, “People had limited visibility into what happened after they submitted requests, or where they sat in the queue”. 

With Workplace Service Delivery, Second Harvest staff cost-effectively streamline warehouse ticketing and operations by submitting requests on an intuitive self-service portal via a desktop browser or mobile app. The food bank has vastly improved the employee experience with the portal, and now averages seven to ten open tickets and rarely exceeds 20, even though the overall number of service requests remain unchanged. “Workplace Service Delivery allows us to close tickets 60% faster and resolve warehouse maintenance issues in days instead of weeks”, says Whamond, “ServiceNow helps us track the health and safety of our employees and positively impacts our ability to sort food, pack the lorries and get them out on time. Plus, we’re saving money that can now be reallocated elsewhere”. 

Workplace Service Delivery also helps Second Harvest manage warehouse workflows more efficiently with seamless in-app communication. Previously, staff spent a lot of time writing emails and talking on the phone to move their requests through the queue. “ServiceNow ensures that there is clear communication and accountability for follow-up and completing requests”, states Whamond, “All tickets in the pipeline are trackable, with Workplace Service Delivery automatically updating status requests on intuitive dashboards”. 

Second Harvest logo right
Second Harvest of Silicon Valley
Second Harvest of Silicon Valley
San Jose, California

ServiceNow helps us track the health and safety of our employees and positively impacts our ability to sort food, pack the lorries and get them out on time.

Elizabeth Whamond

Director of IT

Accelerating administrative work 
Prior to COVID-19, Second Harvest relied on a legacy paper-based system to register and process on-site visitors. With Workplace Service Delivery, the food bank significantly improved registration processes by enabling visitors and volunteers to schedule their visits online, digitally sign paperwork and easily communicate with staff. Visitor information seamlessly syncs with staff calendars in Microsoft Outlook, allowing front desk administrators to prepare conference rooms in advance and quickly check in guests when they arrive.

Whamond estimates digitising and automating the visitor and volunteer sign-in process with ServiceNow has eliminated hours of manual administrative work. “This frees up important staff time, helping our team focus on the vital work of feeding 450,000 people every month.” 

Second Harvest also uses Workplace Service Delivery to efficiently verify employees meet workplace entry requirements with mobile self-service and on-site screenings. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the food bank manually collected daily health information on a spreadsheet. “It was time-consuming”, recalls Whamond, “Staff had to go to a new form each day and fill it out with their name, date, location and health information”. 

With Workplace Service Delivery, employees simply click a button to validate their health status, while sending mobile and email alerts in the event of potential exposure. “Previously, HR wasn’t automatically notified about COVID exposures, so they had to check periodically and email each other about every incident”, explains Whamond, “Workplace Service Delivery significantly accelerated the process. Staff now have valuable time back thanks to proactive ServiceNow alerts”. 

ServiceNow, says Whamond, implemented a solution that helped eliminate hours of manual effort which had gone into on-site monitoring, tracking down employee health questionnaires and assigning follow-ups. “ServiceNow automatically takes care of all of this, which allows HR to focus on contacting the people they really need to talk to.” 

Distributing double the food
ServiceNow’s support helped Second Harvest optimise key parts of its day-to-day operations during a time of critical need in the community that saw the food bank double the amount of food it sources—while distributing and expanding its home delivery programme to serve 4,900 households on average every month. In the future, the food bank plans to expand its use of ServiceNow to manage vehicles used for community outreach and travel between buildings. Bringing these vehicles onto the ServiceNow platform will allow employees and volunteers to easily reserve the cars and lorries they need with a single, centralised tool.

“ServiceNow’s partnership enables us to offer people more than just food”, concludes Whamond, “We’re helping families and individuals feel more secure and find joy in the pleasure of cooking and sharing a meal with loved ones”.

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