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The Founding of Anthropoid Limited

Anthropoid was founded by Mr Nathan William Lee during his computer studies at university, having worked in many environments requiring inventory management of perishable and non-perishable stock, he could not help but notice the massive inefficiencies in stock regulation, leading to waste, damage, unnecessary labour, and costs. In America alone there is a 1.6 billion ton food loss and waste crisis creating a $700 billion opportunity see figure 1, this is a worldwide issue accumulating to trillions of pounds of waste each year, this problem continues to grow. The quantities of food waste throughout the worlds food supply chains has been massively debated because of the limitations of data and data handling. Assessments of waste have been taking place as early as 1945, which is when the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) become established to gain a better understanding of global waste. Parfitt et al (2010) explain that estimations suggest that between 15-50% of food is wasted before and after it reaches the consumer, further explaining that this is because there are varying definitions of ‘food waste’ throughout academic literature and that the methods used to track food waste are often either inaccurate or inconsistent. This as a whole results in limiting data sets which limits the effectiveness of algorithms on these data sets. The Pocketbook (2015) provides many statistics relating to food insecurities, however in 2014 the Food Insecurity Experience Scale showed that out of the world’s population, close to 10% had been exposed to food insecurities. This is what inspired Nathan to found a company to tackle this problem with modern technology using innovative solutions.

Figure 1: Food Waste Projections (Hegnsholt, 2018).

What does Anthropoid mean? Anthropoid is a classification of higher primates, such as human beings, a taxonomy used by biologists to organise data and information relating to groups of animals. Throughout biology there are calculations for such things as mortality rates in organisms, take plants for example, as they do not move, tracking the rate at which they perish is not a difficult task, surveys can be carried out on pieces of land every year. But what does this have to do with waste? through sampling and calculating, biologist are able to determine mortality rates in populations significantly closer than that of the calculations used to determine waste and manage stock, in some cases within a few percent, with causes identified. Nathan seen the opportunity to harness this data collection and apply it to inventories, but what is the difference? more often than not it comes down to data points and therefore traceability, meaning we do not follow the life cycle of our products as well as we do organisms. Radio frequency identification used to autonomously capture data of product movement with the use of algorithms has promising potential to close this gap.

Having worked for a variety of businesses in many industries Nathan noticed that the issues caused to management from handling and regulating stock often lead stress, which had potential to lead to a negative working environment, dependent on the severity of the situation. Nathan believes that human beings are the biggest commodity a business can have and with that a solution that creates an efficient inventory management system also reduces waste, damage, food insecurities, labour, costs and stress in the workplace. In addition to the taxonomy, choosing the name Anthropoid is respect to what humans can achieve when they work together and with that in mind Nathan’s ambitions is to create a business that benefits the employees, customers, and those that are at a disadvantage through no fault of their own.

HEGNSHOLT, E., UNNIKRISHNAN, S., POLLMANN-Larsen, M., ASKELSDOTTIR, B. and GERARD, M., 2018. Tackling the 1.6-billion-ton food loss and waste crisis. The Boston Consulting Group.

PARFITT, J., BARTHEL, M. and MACNAUGHTON, S., 2010. Food waste within food supply chains: quantification and potential for change to 2050. Philosophical transactions of the royal society B: biological sciences365(1554), pp.3065-3081.

POCKETBOOK, F.S., 2015. World food and agriculture. FAO: Rome, Italy.

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