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Supplier Advisory Board Improves Business Practices Through Collaboration

Against the backdrop of scenic Las Vegas, members of the Rite Aid Supplier Advisory Board convened for their bi-annual meeting. Rite Aid’s Chairman and CEO John Standley and President and COO Ken Martindale kicked off the late-March meeting with a company update that started with a round of applause as Standley told the audience that the company’s turnaround is complete.

Supplier Advisory Board logo-72dpi“We took full advantage of the opportunities that came our way, and because of these efforts, we’ve delivered two of the best years we’ve ever had,” said Standley. “That’s why fiscal 2014 was far more than just another great year for our company. It was not only one of the most dramatic turnarounds in drugstore history, but it was also one of the best turnarounds in retail history.”

Standley and Martindale went on to share with supplier partners the company’s strategic plan for fiscal 2015, which includes seven key initiatives, or “Big Plays.” The Big Plays include building new Wellness stores, expanding Rite Aid Health Alliance, adding clinics, enhancing wellness+, expanding the McKesson partnership, strengthening pharmacy services and delivering a consistently outstanding experience.

The supplier advisory board also heard from Senior Vice President of Marketing John Learish as he discussed Rite Aid’s fiscal 2015 marketing strategy. Learish expanded on the company’s three- dimensional approach to customer relationship marketing which results in refined targeted marketing across all marketing channels. Learish also discussed Rite Aid’s upcoming releases in the mobile app arena and an evolving ecommerce presence. Another exciting program scheduled to pilot in the spring is a senior screening program. Learish says the company is partnering with Vatica Health and HealthFair to offer free Medicare Annual Wellness Visits. Services will be provided on 40-foot Rite Aid branded vans, which will visit select Rite Aid pharmacies on designated days.

The recently announced Rite Aid Health Alliance was a major topic of discussion during the general session, and also one of the key topics for discussion in the pharmacy breakout session. Vice President of Healthcare Initiatives Jocelyn Konrad told the pharmacy suppliers that the Rite Aid Health Alliance is a first-of-its-kind program that positions Rite Aid to play a more active role on the patient’s health care team. Rite Aid has partnered with local physicians and medical practices to identify poly-chronic patients and create a personalized care plan to help drive positive health outcomes for each patient. The initial results of this program in Greensboro, N.C., Buffalo, N.Y. and Los Angeles have been very positive.

Several project teams, including the Planogram Process Committee, the 1010 Data Committee and the Retailer Best Practices Committee, gave detailed updates during the SAB meeting.

The Planogram Process Committee proposed several recommendations, including development of an enhanced reporting suite for category planogram reviews and structured planogram strategy meetings. The goal of this committee is to build a planogram process that is “best in class” and maximizes total store sales.

The goal of the 1010 Data Committee is to empower supplier partners and Rite Aid associates to make better business decisions using the 1010 data. By harnessing the 1010 data to make data-driven decisions, suppliers and Rite Aid can improve business results and offer a more personalized experience for consumers.

The Retailer Best Practices Committee is focused on the best practices in three key areas that include education navigation, planning and presentation of end caps and holiday circulars. The team has spent considerable time evaluating best practices in these three areas and comparing the results to Rite Aid’s practices. The research results and recommendations were presented to SAB members.

New projects introduced at the meeting included Store Segmentation and Micro-Marketing, led by Category Management Division Vice President Bill Bergin; and Circular and Profit Plan Optimization, led by Category Management Division Vice President Ted Williams.

The next meeting of the Supplier Advisory Board is scheduled for September 11, 2014 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pa.