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Rite Aid Supplier Advisory Board Holds Biannual Meeting  

SAB logoRite Aid’s category management team and Supplier Advisory Board members gathered on September 11 in Hershey, Pa., for the biannual Supplier Advisory Board (SAB) meeting.

After a warm welcome from Rite Aid Executive Vice President of Merchandising Tony Montini, who provided an overview of the meeting’s objectives, he and Rite Aid Chairman and CEO John Standley fielded questions from the attendees.

Next, Group Vice President of Consumables and Photo Bill Renz provided a final committee update on Harnessing Big Data. He communicated the importance of 1010Data and how it can be utilized to provide enhanced insights for business decisions and turned the discussion over to the supplier partner committee.

Geoff Betrus from Johnson & Johnson discussed the different levels of supplier access in 1010Data and the types of reporting available at each tier and also demonstrated the practical uses for ad hoc reporting with interaction from the audience.

An update on the new 1010Data system navigation and training tools that will be available later this year was provided by Gwen Andrews from Hershey Company. These tools will allow for better understanding and communication between Rite Aid and supplier partners.

Then Steve Mura from PepsiCo provided key takeaways and insights, focusing on how suppliers can use 1010Data to collaborate with Category Managers to drive ideas and improve customer engagement.

Following a mid-morning break, Vice President of Seasonal and General Merchandise Ted Williams kicked off the discussion of the Profit Plan and Circular Optimization project. He defined their key objectives as a way to “develop tools and processes that optimize the item selection by helping guide Rite Aid to identify and place the ‘Best’ Items/Blocks/Events to achieve Rite Aid’s sales and financial goals for the circular and profit plan” before turning the discussion over to the supplier partner committee.

Doug Rhoads from Daymon Worldwide inspired the audience to break through the status quo and think creatively to improve current Profit Plan and Circular evaluation processes and Pia Heine from Mars Chocolate explained Rite Aid’s current Profit Plan process and covered ways in which the process could be improved, while stressing the need for both Rite Aid and its supplier partners to redefine value and put the consumers’ needs first.

The discussion continued, as Denise Jordan from SC Johnson gave an overview of the Circular process, stressing that the objectives for this group are to achieve sales and financial goals, drive loyalty and acquire new, high value customers.

Williams wrapped up the committee’s presentation by concentrating on the importance of defining key metrics for success.

After a break for lunch, Group Vice President of Health and Beauty Bill Bergin and his team wrapped up the committee presentations with an update on the Store Segmentation and Micromarketing project. Gary Mullin from Pharmavite gave an overview of the objectives for the committee, whose primary goal is to “create a structured and cross-functionally aligned process that drives forward action, capitalizing on business opportunities discovered by utilizing the data exported from the new segmentation tool.”

The process and key segments that will be implemented to create this new tool were explained by Jack O’Malley from Bayer, who described their focus on geographic, demographic, behavioral and store characteristics.

Dave Doyle of Kimberly Clark concentrated on the activation of the tool and how it can be used to realize meaningful results and Matt Boyer, category manager of beverages, batteries and prepaids, elaborated on how the tool can be used between category managers and supplier partners to identify opportunities for business growth.

In concluding the meeting, Montini thanked everyone for their active participation and input throughout the day, indicating that it was clearly one of the best overall sessions, ever! He introduced a new project to begin in October as identifying retail best practices for in-store informational signage.

Rite Aid’s next Supplier Advisory Board meeting will be held on March 31, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nev.