Rite Aid Honors Top Suppliers, Category Manager and Assistant Category Manager
At its annual Supplier Conference held in Harrisburg, Pa., Rite Aid recognized several top supplier partners and category management associates for demonstrating outstanding performance, innovation and teamwork over the past year.
Awards included Supplier of the Year honors for five supplier partners, Category Manager of the Year, Associate Category Manager of the Year and the Collaborative Spirit Award, presented to a category management and supplier team demonstrating strong teamwork in creating innovative programs that drive significant incremental growth.
This year’s award winners are:
THE COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT AWARD
When sudden product recalls from a branded supplier created major out-of-stock problems, Rite Aid’s OTC category management team worked with LNK International and the Dowell Group to tackle the issue, which put significant sales and profits at risk in some of Rite Aid’s most important drugstore categories. “It put a seemingly insurmountable demand on our Rite Aid Brand suppliers to fill the void,” says Senior Vice President of Category Management Tony Montini.
The group worked together to overcome production hurdles so that customers could find Rite Aid Brand alternatives to the out-of-stock items. “Against all odds, the cross-functional teams of both organizations went to work and produced some amazing results,” Montini says.
ASSOCIATE CATEGORY MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Wildman, known for exemplifying the spirit of collaboration and approaching each day with a positive attitude, co-developed an internal focus group named WoW MoM, which utilizes the insight of working moms. The group meets weekly to review the circular and ensure it meets the needs of Rite Aid’s female customers. Although recalls and limited product availability have contributed to a difficult year for OTC categories, Wildman has never missed a deadline and has been instrumental in generating strong sales and margin results.
SUPPLIERS OF THE YEAR
One of Rite Aid’s most enthusiastic supporters, Scott Emerson has supported more than 100 freebates, including a record 16 this year. He also sponsors the Cleveland Marathon and is one of the company’s top Children’s Miracle Network supporters. “When presented with a challenge, Scott never refuses,” Montini says. “His passion and commitment to Rite Aid’s success is inspiring.”
Led by Ryan Reis, MillerCoors developed a “Best In Class” category review validation process allowing for data-driven decisions within all of its 34 local markets across the Rite Aid chain. MillerCoors also introduced a secure and web-based service that allows district managers and regional vice presidents access to store specific planograms, new and deleted item lists and store reset schedules.
In a slow economic environment when customers are careful about their spending on non-essential items like candy, Russell Stover and Rite Aid have seen significant growth in both dollars and units. Russell Stover has worked hard to lower Rite Aid’s need for larger case pack ordering for seasonal buys. Shayne Quinn has helped in developing seasonal planograms and future assortments, and the company can always be counted on to work closely with Rite Aid in developing Rite Aid specific items.
With the help of Lu Su, Toy Wonders’ die cast car rack produces tremendous sales and gross margin at Rite Aid. “Toy Wonders does a tremendous job at managing our assortment at the individual store level,” says Montini. “Their expertise in this area is a primary reason our assortments remain fresh and our sales continue to be strong. Their insightful leadership ensures we are at the forefront of nearly every hot trend in the toy category, including the frenzy surrounding Silly Bandz this past spring and summer.”
U.S. Nutrition’s aggressive support has paid off for both U.S. Nutrition and Rite Aid. The company has moved into first place in branded vitamin sales at Rite Aid and is also one of the company’s fastest growing suppliers. Company representatives such as Jim Stegman and Mike Galeshave provided vital support for just about every program Rite Aid offers, including wellness+, Single Check Rebates, TPRs and the diabetes, healthy heart and obesity health condition platforms.