Progressive Grocer - January 2011 - (Page 14)

Best Practices Identifying trends to boost productivity Are We There Yet? The sixth installment in SUPERVALU University’s organizational research series looks at trends in the survey results from 2003 to the present day. By Mark Wilkerson W hen it comes to the implementation of best practices, a fair question grocery retailers might ask is: “Where are we going, and where have we been?” In previous articles of this series, we’ve focused on both high and low scores in a variety of categories, and offered some insights into best practices. Now we’ll take a look at trends that the research shows to be happening since that time, as well as some of the causes that may be behind the numbers. Performance Management, Staffing, Morale riety of products, with minimal duplication. It’s important to note that with the merchandising category, stores are based on associate and manager perceptions — not actual financial results and consumer impact. All of these scores before and after 2008 suggest that even independents are following major retailers’ leads on price and promotions as well as some form of SKU rationalization. Operations and Profits The issue of labor, or staffing, presents some of the most obvious changes in direction over the past two years. Compensation and benefits have received poor scores, declining every year since 2003. In 2009 and 2010, however, these scores saw a significant increase in satisfaction levels. This is most likely due to the recessionary environment and high unemployment rates throughout the country, and increases prior to that could be the result of minimum-wage increases. While salary and benefit packages aren’t likely to have increased in the past two years, associates may be scoring these questions based more on job security than pay rates and benefit packages. The other survey item that saw a significantly higher score in the last two years concerns a heightened awareness of outside sources of potential candidates to draw from for management positions. Although this area is still rated relatively low, this again suggests that unemployment levels have increased the candidate pool. Customer Relations and Competition questions surrounding the organization’s competitive strategy and their awareness of all aspects of their competitors received higher scores. This most likely reflects the extremely competitive pricing and promotional strategies that retailers have shifted to since the recession. Customer relations scores have slowly improved year over year in all questions, making it the highestrated category of all. Independent retailers continue to focus on customer service as a competitive advantage against the larger chains and mass merchants. But the question asking employees about customer satisfaction with service levels at all times of the day is still the lowest-scoring question in the category, and remains a great opportunity for retailers to improve their customer relations. Merchandising In the competition category, all scores remained stagnant until 2009-10, when they increased. Both employee and management 14 • Progressive Grocer • January 2011 The merchandising categories suggest that retailers are still struggling to achieve the right mix of promotional, price and consumer-based tactics. On a question relating to customers recognizing their store for having competitive prices, scores had been slowly decreasing since 2003, but in 2009 began to increase again. Scores based on merchandising activities driven by consumer buying habits have slowly decreased every year, but in 2009-10, scores increased for retailers carrying the right vaA H E A D O F W H AT ’ S N E X T There are two major areas of change over the years in these categories. Scores for theft have been improving (the question asks whether the store has a theft problem) every year since 2003. Improvements in technology in the front end, as well as improvements in technology and procedures in receiving, have more than likely caused a decline in internal theft, although it still remains an issue. The second category centers on communication of store performance. Associates have started scoring questions higher about how well they’re informed about store performance and whether all associates are involved in maintaining store conditions. This is a positive trend suggesting that communication is improving throughout organizations, that employees are aware of their role in helping stores succeed, and that they recognize the value of communicating strategy and performance to all associates. ■ SUPERVALU University is a research, consulting, planning, facilitation, training, education and development organization that has been working with retail and supply chain professionals since 1957. For more information about SUPERVALU’s organizational survey, call Mark Wilkerson at (952) 294-7875.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Progressive Grocer - January 2011

Progressive Grocer - January 2011
Table of Contents
Nielsen’s Shelf Stoppers/ Spotlight: Medications and Remedies/antacids
Mintel Global New Products: Salty Snacks, Meat Snacks and Popcorn, Q2-Q3 2010
Best Practices: Are We There Yet?
Store of the Month Special Edition: My H-E-B
Marketing: Circular Paradox
Gma President’s Note: United We Stand
Pg Special Events: Pg Honors 2010 Top Women, Green Grocers at Gala Event
Retailer Spotlight: Winn-Dixie’s Awakening
Category Management: Mutual Benefi Ts
Special Section: Progressive Grocer Independent: For Retailers, by Retailers
Condiments: A Matter of Taste
Butter/margarine: Promise for the Future
Desserts: Sweet Solutions
Energy Drinks/shots: Energy Drinks Get a Jolt
Winter Produce: Season of Plenty
Meat Merchandising Study: Meat to Meals
Candles/Air Fresheners: Beyond Common Scents
Front End: The Front End Checkout: A Microeconomic Model of the Store
Cough and Cold: A Tissue Please?
Whole Health: Feeling Good in 2011
Futuretech: It’s a Mad, Mobile World
Progressive Voices: Retailers’ Value Equation = Customer-Benefit Costing
Ovens and Rotisseries: Heating Up
What’s Next: Editors’ Picks for Innovative Products

Progressive Grocer - January 2011