Toyota helps increase efficiency and reach of VNA Meals on Wheels with new mobile app

The company is supporting the organization’s processes with technology that includes a mobile app, volunteer portal and scheduling system.

Did you know that close to 10,000 senior citizens throughout Dallas County experience hunger or food insecurity each day? Many of these members of our community are living alone with limited financial resources oradisability that prevents them from leaving the house without assistance. For cases such as these, the Visiting Nurse Association ofTexas (VNA) is determined to help.

Its Meals on Wheels program —which last year celebrated its 50th anniversary serving Dallas County —manages the delivery of hot, nutritious meals freshly prepared inits commercial kitchen to5,000 homebound seniors each weekday. It’s all part of its mission to help people age with dignity and independence at home. But it’s abig job, with numerous logistical concerns. Enter the Toyota Production System Support Center team (TSSC).

In 2017, the TSSC began working withVNA Meals on Wheels. Utilizing the basic concepts of theToyota Production System (TPS), the TSSC team works with other businesses and nonprofit organizations to find ways to enhance and streamline processes.

Shortly after reviewing the scheduling and routing process at Meals on Wheels, the TSSC team recommended focusing on ways to distribute meals faster and more efficiently. But that was taken astep further in 2018 when asmartphone application was developed byCredera, aDallas-based consulting firm focused on strategy, transformation, data and technology.

With support from Lyda Hill Philanthropies andToyota North America, the app became areality. Close to150 Toyota volunteers test-drove the new app, using it to provide food, conversation and adaily safety check toseniors inDallas County.

“We knew when we moved our headquarters to North Texas that we wanted to make an impact in our community,” says Frank Noel, general manager, Toyota Enterprise Strategy. “Meals on Wheels was a logical area of focus because one of our big focuses at Toyota is mobility for all.”

He explains that according to Toyota, mobility extends beyond developing great products for transportation. “It means any kind of mobility at all. Like getting meals to seniors. So, we looked at all the great work of Meals on Wheels and decided to look at how we could get more meals distributed,” Noel says.

Prior to the app development, a lot of time and paperwork was devoted to helping volunteers figure out the best delivery routes and recording details of each day’s deliveries, such as who received meals and who didn’t answer their door. All those pieces of paper were taken back to VNA where someone else entered all that data into a computer. It was a system that got the job done, but one with tremendous potential for streamlining and improvement.

Read The Full Article Here