Editorial Comment — August 2017
120 Years of Semper Fi …
The Marine Corps Exchange will complete its 120th year of service to Marines next month, as it goes about its business in its customary exemplary manner, with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of energy and effort: integrally aligned with the Corps, attuned to the goals of the Commandant, and dedicated to understanding and supporting its entire customer base.
Amidst the distractions that abound in today’s fragmented, unpredictable, disrupted retail world, the MCX has quietly and determinedly gone about a business transformation of its own, with a discipline, concentration and commitment that is altogether quite rare. The acumen and focus applied by MCX to challenges as they arise is a testament to the poise and demeanor of its leaders and its staff from top to bottom.
The MCX is not only a highly efficient retail, service and tech-enabled marketing organization where knowledgeable merchants use expertise and analytics — even a geospatial database offering unprecedented understanding of the condition of facilities and how the 18-24 year-old demographic of “Core Marines” use them and flow through them — to ascertain what these Marines want out of it today and tomorrow as well. In addition, it continues a proud tradition of tailoring retail offerings and services to the often unique and distinctive needs and requirements of the Marine Corps: its bases, its unit commanders and above all, its Marines.
Like the Corps itself, MCX is “expeditionary” — not only in ensuring service overseas and downrange support in close coordination with its exchange partners, but also in searching out best-in-class and first-to-market product offerings from companies that go the extra mile in their understanding and appreciation of the Marine Corps and its members.
In the first decade of this century, responding to the 9/11 attack, the Marine Corps built up to a strength level not seen since Vietnam, with MCX beside the fighting forces every step of the way. Now, despite sharp cuts in Marine force size in the past few years, MCX somehow still manages to get the job done — with improving customer satisfaction, an increase in transactions, and its most profitable year in five years, with increases in gross margin and net profit.
Committed to “the long game,” Cindy Whitman Lacy and her team have sown the seeds of a sustainable and profitable growth with sights clearly set on value, convenience and meeting the needs of the next generation of Marines. Tomorrow’s MCX will see more Marine Marts, Troop Stores, prepared foods and food bars, and an evercloser communication and peer relationship with its customers — so they can shop on their own terms.
It’s no secret MCX has faced down some daunting challenges recently, hit with one of the sharpest drawdowns in all the military, with no rebound in sight in personnel numbers to perk up sales. In this tough fiscal climate, it has shifted strategy to align staffing to shopper traffic with demanding efficiency.
Through all this, the Marine Corps Exchange has still returned a dividend to MWR that is nothing short of astounding — and indispensable to Marine Corps Community Services.
Oorah, MCX! Way to get the job done in true Marine Corps style!