ECN CoverE and C Commissary News

Highlights of April 2013 Issue



DeCA Named Top Produce Retailer By PBH Foundation


• HOCKESSIN, Del. — For the first time, the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) was named a produce “champion” by the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation for its work in supporting PBH's “Fruits & Veggies — More Matters” national campaign. In 2012, DeCA was among 15 retailers — nine “champions” and six “role models” — chosen as leaders in the produce world. Others honored included Ahold, King Kullen and Associated Wholesale Grocers. ...


AAFES Trims Capital Investment, Redraws Europe Headquarters
And Store Footprint Plans


• DALLAS —  As the military continues to transform its force structure in Europe, and as some units continue to return Stateside, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is also updating its plans for its Europe store and headquarters footprint, to reflect shifts in the military and family population on the continent. At the same time, it is also reducing its capital investment program, from $86 million in 2012 to a projected $45 million in 2013.

In 2012, according to Chief Operating Officer (COO) Mike Howard, AAFES facility updates contributed a 14 percent combined sales lift. ...


PepsiCo Donates $500K To Disabled Veterans' Employment Initiative


• SYRACUSE, N.Y. — PepsiCo Inc., in association with its Dream Machine Recycling Initiative, presented a $500,000 donation to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) during halftime of a March 6, 2013, men's college basketball game at Syracuse University.

EBV is a national non-profit organization founded at Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management and operated by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, which offers career training, education and job creation for post-9/11 U.S. veterans with disabilities. ...


NEXCOM Opens Norfolk Mini-Mart


• NNSY PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) Mini-Mart at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard cut the ribbon March 14 on its new renovation. The 2,000-square-foot venue added a new food and beverage bar, additional sandwich options, Navy Pride merchandise, energy-efficient coolers and LED lighting. ...


CGX Adjusts Region Structure, Makes Personnel Changes;
CGX Regions, Stores and Managers, Revised


• CHESAPEAKE — The Coast Guard Exchange (CGX) announced a new regional structure for its network of stores, and also made several personnel changes related to this new configuration. All changes took effect on March 18. ...


Hormel Foods Makes Easter Donation to Fisher House


• MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — During a March 26 event at the Fisher House here, Hormel Foods' Cure 81 ham brand donated $50,000 and food for Easter meals to help families who spent the Easter holiday at Fisher Houses across the country. ...


Vetshouse's Upcoming Stars and Stripes Affair to Assist Homeless Veterans
in Hampton Roads Area


• VIRGINIA BEACH — Vetshouse Inc. is making plans for its Third Annual Stars and Stripes Affair to benefit homeless veterans in the Hampton Roads area. This year's black-tie event is scheduled for Saturday, June 29, here, at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 1900 Pavilion Drive.

Cocktails and a silent auction will commence at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and dancing. Rep. Thelma Drake (R-Va.) will deliver the keynote. This year's affair will honor graduates of the Vetshouse program. ...


Read more IN THE NEWS ...

DeCA Q&A: 'Relevant, Reliable And Responsive'

DeCA Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph H. Jeu, SES

Adapting to unprecedented budget constraints and changes in patron grocery shopping expectations, the Defense Commissary Agency has long earned patrons' trust as a valued non-pay benefit that puts quality in patrons' shopping carts and dollars back in the pockets of servicemembers and their families.

DeCA Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph H. Jeu, however, takes none of that for granted as he navigates the agency's path forward amidst a maze of challenges — embracing risk, innovation, and grocery retail evolution on one side, with refining processes, responsiveness and structure, and attaining the highest level of fiscal stewardship in government, on the other.

In this exclusive in-depth interview, the DeCA director explained to E and C News the thinking that guides the decisions and direction the agency is now taking toward forging the most relevant and cost-effective benefit it can envision. ...

'The bottom line is we must remain relevant, reliable and responsive to the needs of our shoppers — now and in the future — regardless of when, where or how they shop. To succeed, we must manage our business and base our decisions on real-time data and analytics, taking calculated risks with a sense of urgency, in providing consistent, standardized service — whether that service is delivered in a “brick-and-mortar” facility or a preorder/prepay module for curbside pickup or on-site sale. And we must do it all within a climate of shrinking budgets as we pave our course forward.'
— DeCA Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph H. Jeu, SES


Read the complete JOSEPH H. JEU Q&A ...

DeCA INTERVIEW: 'Re-imagining' The Benefit, Building Patron Awareness

DeCA Executive Director, Sales, Marketing and Policy Group, Rogers E. Campbell, SES

In this exclusive interview with E and C News, Rogers E. Campbell, SES, executive director of the agency's Sales, Marketing and Policy Group, looks ahead to a new raft of sales and marketing initiatives, including the shift to facing-specific planograms, and “re-imagining” the chill and dairy areas.

New ways of doing business are also picking up considerable steam with fresh club-pack/bundle opportunities, new store formats, curb-side pickup and mobile and online ordering.

Meanwhile, for Guard and reserves who live farther from the gate, Campbell — a former Army captain — is excited to roll out an enhanced Internet ordering system to bring improved savings to these patrons at their more remote duty stations.

To capitalize on all these efforts, and tie them together with an identity that reinforces the perception of DeCA as military patrons' first choice for groceries, Campbell also discusses a fresh DeCA branding program, and the close partnership with industry needed to build a better benefit for 21st-century commissary patrons. ...

'We are also working to understand our customers' perception of the DeCA brand. We expect to develop and create a definitive awareness of the commissary benefit in our patrons' minds. We want to establish a clear understanding of what we are and what we stand for as a non-pay compensation benefit, and then compare the value association to other grocery shopping alternatives.'
— DeCA Executive Director, Sales, Marketing and Policy Group, Rogers E. Campbell, SES


Read the complete ROGERS E. CAMPBELL INTERVIEW ...

Driving Consistencies And Efficiencies Toward a 'CLASS' Agency

DeCA Store Operations Group Executive Director Keith Hagenbuch, SES

Since taking over as Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) Store Operations Group executive director, Keith Hagenbuch has been tasked with refining store operations systemwide as part of the agency's transformation into what it calls the Commissary Benefit 2020.

No other initiative has been more expansive or arduous, perhaps, than Commissary Levels of Authorized Standardized Services (CLASS), which was implemented and deployed by Hagenbuch's group with the collaborative efforts of multiple DeCA branches and divisions.

In this exclusive interview with Exchange and Commissary News, Hagenbuch talks about his goal of full deployment of the CLASS concept across all 247 commissaries, transformational change, sharing best practices, and identifying potential opportunities to improve, as well as other efforts and initiatives to drive efficiencies in the ways DeCA does business. ...

'“CLASS,” Job Aids — the visual aids that break down each process and task into simple to understand steps — and “Communities of Practice,” have eliminated redundancies, driven unprecedented levels of consistency and efficiencies, and truly polished and refined each and every task we perform at store level.'
— DeCA Store Operations Group Executive Director Keith Hagenbuch, SES


Read the complete KEITH HAGENBUCH Q&A ...

DeCA INTERVIEW: Taking the Commissary Benefit To the Next Level

DeCA Business Development Directorate Director Tracie Russ

The full gamut of commissary positions she has held — from cashier to store director, to commissary management specialist, to executive assistant and business development director — have all in some manner shaped and prepared Tracie Russ for her present role as director of the Defense Commissary Agency's (DeCA) Business Development Directorate.

According to Russ, these experiences have given her “unique opportunities and insight” into leading the Business Development Directorate and its e-Commerce and Shopper Insights divisions — headed by Gordon Jones and Mark Simpson, respectively — as they seek to identify the changes, and provide the solutions that will ensure the commissary benefit remains relevant to its patrons in the future. ...

'With respect to challenges, we expect the usual challenges associated with the rollout of a new project. Our intent is to use a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software package; our goal is not to “DeCA-tize” or change the COTS product, but instead use processes and practices already being used in retail. By doing this, we can deploy the package faster and more economically than anything we'd have to spend man hours and funds to customize. We know there are many pieces and parts of the project, and it's worth navigating through a measure of the unknown to take our delivery of the commissary benefit to the next level that our patrons deserve.'
— DeCA Business Development Directorate Director Tracie Russ


Read the complete TRACIE RUSS INTERVIEW ...

NEXCOM INTERVIEW: 'There is No Customer More Deserving'

Vice President Merchandising Group 2 (MG2) Pat Igoe

Pat Igoe, vice president of the Navy Exchange Service Command's (NEXCOM) Merchandising Group 2 (MG2), oversees a number of the exchange service's highest-velocity categories, including beer and soda, pet food and supplies, Sight & Sound and health and beauty care (HBC). The military resale veteran prides herself on delivering value and superior service to Navy servicemembers and families, saying “there is no customer more deserving.”

As NEXCOM embarks on its new 'A Better You' program, Igoe outlined to E and C News the programs and initiatives that will help keep MG2 on the road to success in fiscal 2013. ...

'No one achieves greatness alone. I believe teamwork is the key to success. I communicate our goals and my vision with my team regularly and seek their input on how to reach these goals together. I place great emphasis on developing and maintaining strong relationships with all our partners, both internal and external.'
— Vice President Merchandising Group 2 (MG2) Pat Igoe


Read the complete PAT IGOE INTERVIEW ...

Hot Category Embraces Steamy Weather


In response to an oppressively hot summer — which the National Climatic Data Center characterized as the third warmest on record — non-alcoholic beverage sales in Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) venues were generally outstanding during this season in 2012.

And with another summer scorcher in the forecast, the Exchange is focused on being its customers' top beverage destination during the hot months ahead.

According to Vicki Venables, senior buyer responsible for nonalcoholic beverages in the exchange service's Sales Directorate (SD), sales of these beverages refused to remain bottled up last year due to the rising temperatures.

“It was an unusually hot summer in 2012 across the country, and people tend to buy more beverages to keep hydrated,” she noted, although soda sales continued to slide. ...




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