Uploading files onto SharePoint took too long, so the Feeding Forward team turned to Huddle.

Feeding Forward is a unique startup that tackles two major problems at once: food waste and hunger. Using their online platforms, Feeding Forward recovers excess food from businesses (caterers, restaurants, grocers, companies, etc.) and redistributes it to feed those in need, simultaneously eliminating both hunger and food waste in the Bay Area. But it doesn’t stop there. According to Komal Ahmad, founder and CEO, they have received over 6,000 requests to extend their reach, and they project a rapid expansion across the country and worldwide. However, scaling up requires the ability to keep track of multiple cross-organizational functions – no easy feat given the number of employees, partners and volunteers involved.

Running an organization that interacts with businesses, community centers and schools, as well as handling food products on a regular basis, means that Feeding Forward contends with managing a lot of documents and schedules that have to be shared in real time across the organization.

Given the variety of projects, the large number of tasks and the widespread distribution of its workforce, Feeding Forward sought a highly efficient, universally accessible and easy to use collaboration tool to help streamline their organization. They found Huddle.

“When you’re expanding fast, building a fast-growing team, dealing with legal paperwork and performing a logistics-heavy service on top of everything else, things get complicated,” said Reece Soltani, head of strategic initiatives at Feeding Forward. “We needed a system that would streamline our processes as tightly and cohesively as possible, so we could focus on maintaining our forward momentum with so many moving parts. We wanted something intuitive, reliable and easy to use. When we found Huddle, we found the perfect solution.”

 

"We wanted something intuitive, reliable and easy to use. When we found Huddle, we found the perfect solution.”

 

Before Huddle, the company experimented with various combinations of products to address its different needs. Feeding Forward employees had previously experienced both SharePoint for collaboration and Asana for task management, but found both products ineffective and difficult to use. They also experimented with Trello, which was too cluttered for effective use on complicated, multi-dimensional projects. 

“Uploading files onto SharePoint took too long, and more often than not there was an issue in accessing some files,” continued Soltani. Uploading files with SharePoint was a drag and it didn't provide calendar or newsfeed capabilities – two things I’ve come to rely on with Huddle. Using Huddle we can see who did what at a glance and we love that. We can also make some docs private to particular people, but still share with others – an important capability that SharePoint lacks.” 

Feeding Forward took advantage of the free Huddle demo to test its capabilities and within 2 weeks they found that they couldn’t work without it.  “My staff told me that I had to get Huddle,” said Ahmad.  “As a start-up we have to be careful about what we spend our money on, but after only two weeks my team was hooked.”  

With a core team of eight, Feeding Forward has enlisted 650 businesses and 200 recipient organizations, and redistributed over 723K pounds of food that has fed over 603K people since officially launching in 2012.

“Levi’s stadium is one of our largest food donors,” Ahmad explained. “They’ve been incredibly generous with their donations. On one occasion, they hosted an event with enough food for an anticipated crowd of 1,400 attendees, but had enough food leftover to feed an additional 5,300 people. This meant a huge surplus of perishable food that needed to move quickly. Feeding Forward was able to facilitate the distribution of all that extra food to those in need. And while this was incredibly rewarding you can imagine that the distribution of over 6,300 pounds of food required extensive planning across a number of individuals and organizations, both internally at Feeding Forward, and externally as well. Huddle enabled us to make it happen. The ability to coordinate details in real-time and collaborate on strategy lets us move projects forward quickly in a way that would be next to impossible without Huddle.”

 

"Huddle makes it easy to see which projects are moving forward quickly and which are stalling, what’s working and what isn’t, and how all the different pieces fit together."

 

Today, Feeding Forward uses Huddle to centralize workflow around content and manage tasks so that employees can easily collaborate on projects and the leadership team can oversee the flow of work.

“One of the most valuable Huddle features for our team is the dashboard,” said Soltani. “It’s a fantastic way to get a quick, overarching perspective about everything that’s going on. Huddle makes it easy to see which projects are moving forward quickly and which are stalling, what’s working and what isn’t, and how all the different pieces fit together. It’s this kind of insight that helps us shape our growth and management strategies.”

Amongst other considerations, the Feeding Forward leadership team uses Huddle to keep tabs on employee workload and bandwidth, so they can make more informed decisions about managing new assignments. Feeding Forward also monitors the quality of each employee’s work in real-time, allowing them to step in with support or feedback wherever it’s needed before any potential challenges become a greater issue.

“Our employees love Huddle because they can pick it up in an instant,” Soltani said. “It’s clean, it’s sleek, it’s simple. We can get new team members up and running on Huddle in minutes – it’s just that easy to use. Huddle has saved us a significant amount of time. We no longer waste time digging through different channels – email, hard drive, various personal cloud storage accounts – trying to find the information we need. Huddle significantly speeds our entire work process.”

As a rapidly-growing startup, Feeding Forward has to move quickly without letting any details slip through the cracks. Huddle’s ability to track all updates and maintain consistent version control means that Feeding Forward doesn’t have to worry about outdated information or missing content.

“Huddle is the safety net that assures me that my documents will always be fresh and always be available,” said Soltani. “It’s about both convenience and assurance. I know that I’ll never forget to save a change or share an update with my team, and I also know that I can check on the status of any project any time I want, from anywhere. In a fast-paced environment with so many simultaneous developments, Huddle gives me the ultimate confidence.”

 


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