Innovation and Best Practices for the North Atlantic Region

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Luke SandNorth AtlanticWhole BodyInnovations, Best Practices& Planning for growth

Strategic VisionDefine the direction and vision for the North Atlantic Whole Body ProgramExceed Financial Targets in a highly diverse, competitive environmentStream Line and increase Communication to create the strongest and most passionate Whole Body Team possibleDevelop solid, lasting bench strength to fulfill the regions growth planDrive innovation and efficiencies at the program, store, department, and product levelBack to Basics focus on customer service, training, standards, and team development to continually improve operations and executionStrengthen Cross Merchandizing and Communication between regional teams to drive sales

Define the Direction and Vision for North Atlantic Whole Body

Work together to Actively Map out where we want to be in 1year, 2years and The FutureSet goals for Bench strength, Cross Merchandizing, Technological efficiencies, Training, Customer Service, Marketing, Differentiation, Plan-o-gram implementation, Vendor partnerships and initiatives, Promo planning, Communication, and Store/regional relationship, Department design/dcorDefine the programs we have currently and how we can improve them, ie. clothing, housewares, cross merchandising, promos, marketing, allocations, holidaysDefine the programs we are implementing in FY2016 and beyond, and communicate the strategic vision for them to the STL, and WB teamsWork with the STL group to show how vital and profitable Whole Body is and where it can be integrated into the store.

Exceed Financial TargetsExceed forecast sales and margin within each Whole body Sub-team for FY 2016Drive differentiation to create and retain customersStrengthen Partnerships:Teams: reach out to the teams and help make them feel included, challenge the teams to greatness, help to teach and develop retail executionStore Leadership: communicate and work together with the STL group to help execute our programs, and achieve the highest standardsVendors: reach out to the vendors for increased support with training, social media content, and plan-o-gram assistance to foster win/win partnershipGlobal: collaborate and execute effectively on global initiatives, and continually give feedbackMarketing: Have vendors create content for our social media streams, partner with regional and national marketing to highlight our differentiators

Stream line and increase CommunicationQuestion everything: It is crucial to foster communication between the Regional team, Store Leadership, and the Whole Body teams to increase efficiency, stream line store operations, and foster a team mentalityPlan further out so we can communicate ahead of time so both regional and store teams can best executeBetter not More: Find new ways to communicate to the teams so we can most effectively disseminate promos, allocations, standards, best practices and resourcesRedesign regional share point so that the teams can quickly and easily find information. Catalog all documents sent out to the teams on the share point.Work with Regional Grocery, Produce, and Specialty teams to better plan-o-gram, promote and cross merchandize Housewares to best benefit the customer and increase sales.Look at Promo ordering and scale selection to reflect multiple store sizes. Create A,B,C selections for promo pre-orders. Reflect this in the sign request to maximize efficiencyPromo Calendar: a monthly calendar with all major regional and national promos, displays and flyer items mapped out in color blocks

Develop solid, lasting bench strengthWe need to increase the passion, knowledge, and education of all team members to increase bench strength by improving the inclusionary processHave three qualified candidates for each open position: Buyer, ATL, TLWhole Body team members need to be engaged, knowledgeable and passionate, and part time work does not foster this. We need to look at full the time part time ratio for whole body and potentially change it. We have the smallest teams in the store and a change will not statistically change the store ratio.This is a subject larger than Whole Body and needs to be tackled with a concerted effort by Whole Foods LeadershipCome up with new and innovative ways to train team members in product knowledge, store operations and merchandizing utilize technologyFind and capitalize on efficiencies to free up time and energy to devote to Customer service

Drive innovation and EfficienciesQuestion everything we do:Challenge leadership to find more efficient and innovative process at store levelCommunication, how do we do it better?Look at programs from the store operations perspective to create the most efficient and impactful programs before roll out, ie fixture options for clothing, a singular supplier for hangers rolled out with the clothing programScale all programs so that all stores can participate if possible, potentially A,B,C, size allotmentsSurface pro or similar tablet for all teams:Increase efficiency by having all necessary technology on the floorUse for ordering, email, and trainingHave Vendors produce content for training, 5-10 minute webinars/videos, or PowerPoint presentations either seasonally or ideally to be rolled out with new product placement as part of the plan-o-gram processTraining can take place at anytime of the day on a schedule or when work slows.Create a well cataloged library (one resource) of trainings for both product knowledge and store operations knowledgePartner with our suppliers to create and supply content for our social media streams to coincide with seasonality and new product roll outPartner with our suppliers to provide samples for passive sampling to coincide with new product roll outsCreate a bulk DIY program that is easily scalable for store size, but can be merchandised on our existing display units. Bees wax beads, shea, cocoa, and coconut oils, Epsom salt, jars and bottlesRedesign departments with Body care 2.0 front and center, Create our departments to reflect our luxury productsModular shelving to facilitate seasonal resetsBetter lighting in Whole Body to show off the beautiful packagingUse efficiencies to free up resources for training and customer serviceLook for local products that are scalable

Back to BasicsCustomer service is a huge differentiator and needs to be fostered through trainingIncrease training of product knowledge, department operations, merchandising and standards to capitalize on this differentiators and to develop bench strengthWork with Store Leadership and WB teams to maximize the impact of merchandising and standardsMarket our differentiators such as Local, our baseline standards, exclusive product, Premium, and Organic standards more effectivelyLook at Promo ordering and scale selection to reflect multiple store sizes. Create A,B,C selections for promo pre-orders. Reflect this in the sign request to maximize efficiencyLook to Synergy between regional programs and store operations to find efficienciesGet Whole Body out of the department and into the stores utilizing key staple items

Strengthen Cross Merchandising Work with STL group to create buy in for an expanded Whole Body cross merchandizing programUse key items such as, protein, chia, flax, commodity and sale items to drive sales outside of the department. High margin, high ring itemsFind new and innovative fixtures to facilitate cross merchandisingWork with Regional Grocery, Produce and Specialty teams to place product where it makes the most sense and will have the most impact for the customer.Add Housewares into Regional Grocery, Produce and Specialty promo plans and plan-o-grams to drive sales

Luke Sand BioI have fond memories of growing up with the Natural Products industry in the 80s, going to mom and pop health food stores and Coops and I am very happy to say that many of the brands of my childhood are thriving. I grew up vegetarian in the woods of NH, the son of a glass artist and a stay at home mother. My childhood was filled with woodland adventures, horses, home made whole wheat bread, many of the best artist and craftsmen in the country and a whole lot of hippies. It was a wonderful, creative upbringing that fostered health, sport and learning of all manner. That upbringing informed my choice to look for employment at Bread and Circus while my wife pursued her Masters in Civil Engineering (which I also studied at Tufts), and I am happy to say that I have worked my way around the store since, indulging my curiosity and love of food, entrepreneurship, and operations all the way. I started in the Bakery, moving to Specialty (and gaining 15 Lbs, we could still find true Brillat-Savarin). My next food adventure was helping to kick off the regions first in-store roasting program. From there I saw an opportunity and took it as Grocery buyer. I learned a great deal in Grocery and brought those skills to Whole Body as an Atl in a one off Non-Perishable department comprised of a combined Grocery/Whole Body team. We turned around several years of negative comps, revitalizing Whole Body in the process. It was a wild couple of years, and a wonderful ride, learning to lead, all while absorbing the vast knowledge held within WB. Six months before our 2007 expansion, I convinced my Store Leader and Regional Leadership that it was time to split WB from Grocery and I appreciatively have been the Whole Body Team Leader since. I currently use my sports nutrition knowledge to help drive my running, skiing, biking and sports of all sorts. Im very happy to say I set a post high school PR in the 5K (17:47) and the half marathon (1:28) this fall. I also love problem solving of all sorts, wood working, furniture design, architecture and interior design.