Joseph “Ray” Tober, VCS Executive Director
Joseph “Ray” Tober, the executive director of the Veterans Canteen Service (VCS), has seen the organization steadily transform itself into a 21st-centry retailer, but acknowledges that work still needs to be done. In this interview, Tober talks about the strides the VCS has made to reach and exceed its sales and operating goals, and how it hopes to continue to offer the level of services that Veterans, their caregivers and VA employees expect, today and into the future..
E and C News: Where do you think VCS stands today in its quest to become a 21st century retailer and benefit?
Joseph “Ray” Tober: Our focus every day is to “enhance the customer experience,” ensuring we exceed the customers’ shopping and dining expectations.
We have introduced a wide variety of name-brand products, expanded our retail offerings to include a larger scope of categories and items while executing best-selling planograms on high-demand, key basics across the nation.
We have introduced technology that has served to enhance our inventory management and replenishment programs, allowing for better and consistent in-stocks of high-volume key items. Our technology and business strategies are indeed working, as evident by our more than 50-percent sales increase over the last 10 years.
Lastly, the one contributing factor that will sustain our success is a motivated and knowledgeable management cadre possessing the right skills and leadership qualities which can execute the strategies of moving the business to the next level in sales, earnings, and services.
These initiatives are just a small part of the overall strategies that place VCS in a great position to move forward into the future. For us, it’s about vision, understanding the direction the business is going, leveraging technology, introducing sound business strategies, and securing a stable and well-trained management workforce. ...
Read more VCS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JOSEPH "RAY" TOBER INTERVIEW ...
Carey Filer, Chief Merchandising Officer (CMO)
During his nearly four years as the Veterans Canteen Service’s (VCS) chief merchandising officer (CMO), Carey Filer has guided the canteen service’s retail activities as it has consistently put up strong sales growth, year after year, even through challenging economic times. In this interview, Filer reveals how a strong foundation and focus on the VCS mission — supported by empowered staff, fine-tuned processes and a modern approach to planograms and replenishment — has helped improve the shopping experience for PatriotStore customers.
E and C News: What do you think has been the secret to the VCS’s continued sales growth?
Carey Filer: VCS has a strong foundation in place that is focused on our mission, to enhance the lives of Veterans. That foundation begins with enabling our people, enhancing the customer experience, maintaining stewardship and financial strength, and delivering strategic internal processes that put VCS in a position to grow.
With that strong foundation in place, the team has the tools to execute a forward-looking vision that includes incorporating industry best practices to continually improve assortments and drive sales....