WFIA Annual Golf Tournaments are here! View upcoming information and details.

WFIA Off the Shelf Podcast

< All Podcasts

WFIA Off the Shelf Podcast - Interview with John Ross on Nationwide Supply Chain Issues

February 18, 2022

This week WFIA President & CEO Tammi Hetrick spoke with John Ross, the CEO of IGA on the impact of the nationwide supply chain issues. John talks about his experience with the ripple effect of COVID since the beginning and how that pandemic has affected labor shortage and supply chain troubles.

Transcript of Podcast

1
00:00:01,600 --> 00:00:05,840
[tammie_hetrick]: Hello, thanking for joining the Washington food industry Associations Off

2
00:00:06,000 --> 00:00:11,600
[tammie_hetrick]: the shelf podcast this week, I' am excited to announce we have John Ross,

3
00:00:11,840 --> 00:00:15,520
[tammie_hetrick]: the president and C e o for I G. A. Incorporated.

4
00:00:16,640 --> 00:00:20,960
[tammie_hetrick]: John Ross is responsible for the domestic and global operations for I G, A,

5
00:00:21,280 --> 00:00:25,120
[tammie_hetrick]: the world's largest independent supermarket network with nearly six thousand

6
00:00:25,440 --> 00:00:28,880
[tammie_hetrick]: I G A supermarkets in more than thirty countries worldwide.

7
00:00:30,080 --> 00:00:35,360
[tammie_hetrick]: During his career, John has served as president Inmar Promotions Network C,

8
00:00:35,440 --> 00:00:42,320
[tammie_hetrick]: E O, I, P G, Shopper Sciences, and president I p G, Emerging Media Lab. He

9
00:00:42,400 --> 00:00:46,480
[tammie_hetrick]: has held leadership positions with smaller independence and larger retailers

10
00:00:46,560 --> 00:00:51,280
[tammie_hetrick]: like Home Depot, in roles ranging from C, M. O, store management,

11
00:00:51,680 --> 00:00:56,480
[tammie_hetrick]: merchandising, advertising, marketing and e commerce. John's experience

12
00:00:56,880 --> 00:01:00,960
[tammie_hetrick]: spans many industries in areas of focus. He has worked in operations,

13
00:01:01,200 --> 00:01:06,080
[tammie_hetrick]: merchandising and marketing new traditional and digital media, and analytics

14
00:01:06,160 --> 00:01:10,400
[tammie_hetrick]: and big data for some of the largest brands in the world, including Cooke, P

15
00:01:10,560 --> 00:01:18,240
[tammie_hetrick]: and G. Schwab, Publicxs, Walmart, Chrysler, Fiat, Sony Bos, Google A o, ▁l,

16
00:01:18,560 --> 00:01:22,480
[tammie_hetrick]: and so many more. He has also helped launch and grow some of the world's

17
00:01:22,560 --> 00:01:27,520
[tammie_hetrick]: largest proprietary brands at retail. He is a co author of the Google book

18
00:01:28,160 --> 00:01:33,520
[tammie_hetrick]: ▁z, m o t, ▁zero, Moment of truth, an author of Fire in the ▁zoo, a book

19
00:01:33,760 --> 00:01:38,640
[tammie_hetrick]: about shopper, influence marketing mania, retailer chaos, advertising

20
00:01:38,800 --> 00:01:44,320
[tammie_hetrick]: pitfalls consumer confidence, converting customers and how screaming up

21
00:01:44,480 --> 00:01:48,880
[tammie_hetrick]: people usually doesn't work. John is a champion of data driven decision

22
00:01:49,200 --> 00:01:52,080
[tammie_hetrick]: making, Shopper, focused marketing and active listening.

23
00:01:53,280 --> 00:01:58,880
[tammie_hetrick]: John has a B, A, A, B, S, and M, B, A degrees from Tullane University in New

24
00:01:58,960 --> 00:02:02,400
[tammie_hetrick]: Orleans, and serves on a number of retail industry boards including Food

25
00:02:02,560 --> 00:02:07,360
[tammie_hetrick]: Marketingse, National Groceries Association, Consumer Goods For

26
00:02:09,040 --> 00:02:13,200
[tammie_hetrick]: and the Coca Cola Retailing Research Council. He and Marie, his wife of

27
00:02:13,280 --> 00:02:17,440
[tammie_hetrick]: twenty five plus years, live in Atlanta, where they have three kids and too

28
00:02:17,600 --> 00:02:21,920
[tammie_hetrick]: many pets. John. I want to thank you for joining us And you just have such

29
00:02:22,080 --> 00:02:26,160
[tammie_hetrick]: an amazing history. And Um, it's always great to have you with us,

30
00:02:27,100 --> 00:02:28,100
[tammie_hetrick]: So thank you.

31
00:02:31,169 --> 00:02:34,129
[john_ross]: Well, I'm glad to be here. That is the longest intro ever.

32
00:02:35,249 --> 00:02:36,369
[john_ross]: I'm so sorry for that.

33
00:02:36,640 --> 00:02:41,440
[tammie_hetrick]: No, I think it's great because it really sets the standard for you're a

34
00:02:41,520 --> 00:02:46,640
[tammie_hetrick]: subject matter expert in a lot of areas that we want to talk about today and

35
00:02:46,720 --> 00:02:51,440
[tammie_hetrick]: I really want to cover supply chain and just talk about, know what's

36
00:02:51,680 --> 00:02:56,480
[tammie_hetrick]: happening globally. And you know when we look at Washington State, how are

37
00:02:56,560 --> 00:02:59,200
[tammie_hetrick]: we impacted differently than what you' seeing globally.

38
00:03:02,849 --> 00:03:07,809
[john_ross]: It is the really cool thing about the job that I have. Uh, I. G. A is the

39
00:03:07,889 --> 00:03:12,289
[john_ross]: association of independent grocers, with about twelve hundred stores in the

40
00:03:12,369 --> 00:03:18,689
[john_ross]: United States now and growing, but also stores in China and in Russia, and in Uh,

41
00:03:18,929 --> 00:03:22,689
[john_ross]: Australia and New, ▁zealand, and this Caribbean, and all over the world, And it

42
00:03:22,769 --> 00:03:24,529
[john_ross]: makes us uniquely positioned

43
00:03:25,569 --> 00:03:32,529
[john_ross]: to look at how a global phenomena like a like a pandemic. Um, is both common and

44
00:03:32,609 --> 00:03:35,169
[john_ross]: uncommon, you know in in different areas of the world,

45
00:03:36,209 --> 00:03:39,569
[john_ross]: and I would say that if you, if you could get on a plane if we could travel right

46
00:03:39,649 --> 00:03:44,529
[john_ross]: now, we mostly can't. But if we could, and we flew from country to country, we

47
00:03:44,689 --> 00:03:49,729
[john_ross]: visited different I g as across the world, I think what you'd find is the same

48
00:03:49,969 --> 00:03:53,889
[john_ross]: kinds of problems that we're seeing in our stores here, whether a nearfineed

49
00:03:54,049 --> 00:03:58,609
[john_ross]: state or in any state in the U S or North America, anywhere, that they very very

50
00:03:58,849 --> 00:04:04,289
[john_ross]: common problems, So our entrepreneurs would be complaining about episodic and

51
00:04:04,449 --> 00:04:05,969
[john_ross]: unpredictable out of stocks,

52
00:04:07,089 --> 00:04:12,449
[john_ross]: Uh, not just supply chain disruption, but also some odd shopper behavior, which

53
00:04:12,689 --> 00:04:17,169
[john_ross]: creates a very difficult experience for reordering and keeping in stock, they'd

54
00:04:17,249 --> 00:04:18,449
[john_ross]: be talking. About labor issues,

55
00:04:18,100 --> 00:04:19,100
[tammie_hetrick]: Mhm.

56
00:04:19,089 --> 00:04:23,969
[john_ross]: how difficult it is to retra uh, retain, and to attract new talent, and they

57
00:04:24,129 --> 00:04:28,129
[john_ross]: would be talking about, you know, pricing inflation in every single market,

58
00:04:29,249 --> 00:04:34,049
[john_ross]: Um, and uh, no matter what language they spoke, I think everybody. r. the room

59
00:04:34,609 --> 00:04:37,889
[john_ross]: would be nodding back and forth going. Yeah, we. yeah, we see that. Yeah, we see

60
00:04:37,889 --> 00:04:41,169
[john_ross]: that you got to see that. So the global issue, it's more alike than different

61
00:04:41,389 --> 00:04:42,389
[john_ross]: almost everywhere

62
00:04:43,280 --> 00:04:47,120
[tammie_hetrick]: That's very interesting and I know we've talked a few times about the labor

63
00:04:47,360 --> 00:04:52,640
[tammie_hetrick]: shortage, and um, you know we've We've tried to define different reasons for

64
00:04:52,800 --> 00:04:55,600
[tammie_hetrick]: that, but it sounds like this is a global issue

65
00:04:56,640 --> 00:05:00,640
[tammie_hetrick]: and the trends that we're seeing here in the Us. may be similar to other

66
00:05:00,880 --> 00:05:03,760
[tammie_hetrick]: countries as well. Is that an accurate statement?

67
00:05:06,609 --> 00:05:10,449
[john_ross]: it is. I mean, I think you know the the labor challenges we have here are

68
00:05:10,609 --> 00:05:12,049
[john_ross]: actually not a new phenomena

69
00:05:11,860 --> 00:05:12,860
[tammie_hetrick]: Mhm.

70
00:05:12,609 --> 00:05:15,969
[john_ross]: Like we were having problems hiring and attracting people you know before

71
00:05:16,209 --> 00:05:20,529
[john_ross]: covered. And that was a long standing issue. It's exaggerated coming out of

72
00:05:20,609 --> 00:05:23,649
[john_ross]: covet. I can tell you there are some really interesting things. So, if you really

73
00:05:23,809 --> 00:05:25,889
[john_ross]: look at sales performance across country,

74
00:05:26,929 --> 00:05:31,009
[john_ross]: because there's a lot of different issues in terms of Uh, products that retailers

75
00:05:31,089 --> 00:05:34,929
[john_ross]: sell, or you know their their labor models, union versus nonunion, or you know

76
00:05:35,009 --> 00:05:38,369
[john_ross]: their staffing models, But one thing's common. One metric we can all use is

77
00:05:38,449 --> 00:05:43,729
[john_ross]: sales. And if you were to look at cop sales today versus last year versus two

78
00:05:43,809 --> 00:05:48,769
[john_ross]: years ago versus pre coveed, you know you would see. Uh, you would see that

79
00:05:48,849 --> 00:05:52,929
[john_ross]: there's a pattern which is the countries that invested the most

80
00:05:53,589 --> 00:05:54,589
[john_ross]: in

81
00:05:55,169 --> 00:05:59,889
[john_ross]: Um in government in any, either their equivalent of federal or local subsidies.

82
00:06:01,329 --> 00:06:06,289
[john_ross]: Those chains tend to be doing better than the countries that made margal

83
00:06:06,529 --> 00:06:10,369
[john_ross]: investments in helping to you know, protect their economy. Let's come of

84
00:06:10,369 --> 00:06:14,529
[john_ross]: convoluted way of saying it, United States. We're doing much better here than say

85
00:06:14,669 --> 00:06:15,669
[john_ross]: in a country like China,

86
00:06:16,849 --> 00:06:21,329
[john_ross]: because uh, like it or not, we invested hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of

87
00:06:21,409 --> 00:06:26,289
[john_ross]: millions of dollars back in additional benefits in order to protect people. Um.

88
00:06:26,549 --> 00:06:27,549
[john_ross]: and

89
00:06:28,129 --> 00:06:32,769
[john_ross]: apparently that has paid off in a stronger economy than a country that did very

90
00:06:32,469 --> 00:06:33,469
[john_ross]: little.

91
00:06:33,460 --> 00:06:34,460
[tammie_hetrick]: Oh,

92
00:06:34,209 --> 00:06:38,529
[john_ross]: and of course that affects that that fis employment as well. So Um. you can see

93
00:06:34,400 --> 00:06:52,000
[tammie_hetrick]: interesting. interesting. I know, we've talked about China before. early on.

94
00:06:34,400 --> 00:06:52,000
[tammie_hetrick]: interesting. interesting. I know, we've talked about China before. early on.

95
00:06:38,689 --> 00:06:42,609
[john_ross]: some some common employment challenges across those countries based on the amount

96
00:06:42,769 --> 00:06:44,769
[john_ross]: of subsidies that were put into the marketplace.

97
00:06:45,869 --> 00:06:46,869
[john_ross]: Uh, but not all

98
00:06:52,640 --> 00:06:58,640
[tammie_hetrick]: You were on one of our webs, helping our members just prepare for Cove,

99
00:06:52,640 --> 00:06:58,640
[tammie_hetrick]: You were on one of our webs, helping our members just prepare for Cove,

100
00:06:59,760 --> 00:07:06,320
[tammie_hetrick]: because China was ahead of us in that and now as we talk, you've indicated

101
00:07:06,480 --> 00:07:10,960
[tammie_hetrick]: that China is kind of running parallel to the Us. in vaccination rates and

102
00:07:11,120 --> 00:07:16,000
[tammie_hetrick]: some of those other issues, So I think that's an interesting dynamic Just to

103
00:07:16,080 --> 00:07:20,880
[tammie_hetrick]: talk about how, Now it's more of a parallel, Although they were ahead of us

104
00:07:21,300 --> 00:07:22,300
[tammie_hetrick]: many months in this

105
00:07:25,249 --> 00:07:29,489
[john_ross]: right, So in the beginning it was absolutely, Um. it was absolutely a great

106
00:07:29,729 --> 00:07:33,969
[john_ross]: predictor. what we saw happening in our stores in China was a very accurate

107
00:07:34,129 --> 00:07:39,089
[john_ross]: predicctor. What we might see in sales or in it runs on product, or you know, or,

108
00:07:39,009 --> 00:07:43,729
[john_ross]: or, Um, you know, shopper behavior challenges, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve

109
00:07:43,969 --> 00:07:49,009
[john_ross]: weeks ahead of our stores here in the U. S. But you know, once we lapped it and

110
00:07:49,169 --> 00:07:53,889
[john_ross]: now that we're into you know. unfortunately you know multiple variants and all

111
00:07:53,969 --> 00:07:57,649
[john_ross]: the rest of it. I think I think most of the world is sort of learning at the same

112
00:07:57,889 --> 00:08:02,689
[john_ross]: speed. And so we. we can't. I've stopped trying to use China as a predictor about

113
00:08:02,849 --> 00:08:06,049
[john_ross]: what's going to happen. You know, the other thing that that that that makes China

114
00:08:06,449 --> 00:08:11,329
[john_ross]: a little bit more difficult to use as a predictor is the the, You know, their

115
00:08:11,489 --> 00:08:17,169
[john_ross]: response to the pandemics. So they're a much more authoritarian country than you

116
00:08:17,249 --> 00:08:20,689
[john_ross]: know you would find in Western Europe or the United States, and they have

117
00:08:20,929 --> 00:08:22,529
[john_ross]: implemented controls there,

118
00:08:23,569 --> 00:08:28,049
[john_ross]: and market shutdowns and community shutdowns in a way that we probably wouldn't

119
00:08:28,289 --> 00:08:32,129
[john_ross]: accept in a country like the United States. So if there's an outbreak of the

120
00:08:32,129 --> 00:08:35,809
[john_ross]: virus, they will swoop in, they'll shut businesses down. They'll close off it

121
00:08:35,969 --> 00:08:39,329
[john_ross]: you. We won't be able to travel between province. Can you imagine the United

122
00:08:39,409 --> 00:08:42,289
[john_ross]: States being told that you can't drive to Texas because there's an outbreak. I

123
00:08:42,289 --> 00:08:46,289
[john_ross]: mean, I don't think Americans would stand for that, but, but that, their, their,

124
00:08:46,529 --> 00:08:51,329
[john_ross]: Their response has meant that in some ways they're but much more Inc. They've

125
00:08:51,409 --> 00:08:55,409
[john_ross]: been much more in control of where outbreaks are taking place, and they've done a

126
00:08:55,409 --> 00:09:01,489
[john_ross]: pretty good job of keeping their infection rates Uh below a panic threshold for

127
00:09:01,569 --> 00:09:02,769
[john_ross]: their for their health system.

128
00:09:02,660 --> 00:09:03,660
[tammie_hetrick]: Mhm,

129
00:09:03,729 --> 00:09:07,809
[john_ross]: But then the bad side of that is you have these. You have these shutdowns that

130
00:09:07,889 --> 00:09:13,409
[john_ross]: will take place that will slam an entire sector, And we've seen that happen. It's

131
00:09:13,489 --> 00:09:16,369
[john_ross]: showing up here in the United States. If you're if you're worried about, we are

132
00:09:16,449 --> 00:09:19,809
[john_ross]: your Christmas goods going to arrive, or you know as a shopper, am I going to be

133
00:09:19,969 --> 00:09:23,009
[john_ross]: able to get all the things that I need for for our family? It's probably trapped

134
00:09:23,089 --> 00:09:27,089
[john_ross]: on a boat someplace and you trace that thread all the way back, and a lot of that

135
00:09:27,249 --> 00:09:31,409
[john_ross]: has to do with the fact that Shinzin and some of the other manufacturing hubs in

136
00:09:31,489 --> 00:09:36,769
[john_ross]: China all got hit by the viruses earlier in the year and it disrupted everything,

137
00:09:38,209 --> 00:09:41,969
[john_ross]: and so um, it's been. It's been fascinating, kind of looking at the different

138
00:09:42,129 --> 00:09:45,409
[john_ross]: government responses and trying to make a judgment about whether that's B been

139
00:09:45,569 --> 00:09:46,769
[john_ross]: good or bad for their economy.

140
00:09:47,840 --> 00:09:52,400
[tammie_hetrick]: Right, and that must be interesting, too. We've seen just subtle nuances of

141
00:09:52,560 --> 00:09:56,960
[tammie_hetrick]: that when we head a distribution plant shut down for just a short period of

142
00:09:57,040 --> 00:10:01,200
[tammie_hetrick]: time. You know, we have rural areas with no food on the she. so I can't

143
00:10:01,280 --> 00:10:06,400
[tammie_hetrick]: imagine what it would be like there. You know, how do you respond to that?

144
00:10:06,560 --> 00:10:11,120
[tammie_hetrick]: A. how do you get those stores back up and running to serve that community?

145
00:10:14,509 --> 00:10:15,509
[john_ross]: Yeah, you know,

146
00:10:16,289 --> 00:10:20,689
[john_ross]: the The, The, The, the availability, the complexity of the food distribution

147
00:10:20,849 --> 00:10:24,129
[john_ross]: model in the United States, he would be as just as complex there. right. you have

148
00:10:24,849 --> 00:10:28,209
[john_ross]: large distributors. Yeah, medium size. you have a lot of local product and local

149
00:10:28,849 --> 00:10:33,729
[john_ross]: supply, And I guess the good and the healthy thing about our industry compared to

150
00:10:33,729 --> 00:10:38,689
[john_ross]: some others is even it the worst of the crisis. We still kept our communities fed

151
00:10:39,009 --> 00:10:43,249
[john_ross]: right, we found a way, and whether we were buying out of the commissary side or

152
00:10:43,569 --> 00:10:48,529
[john_ross]: non non traditional supply chain that we were able to port over into grocery, or

153
00:10:48,689 --> 00:10:52,289
[john_ross]: whether we were able to switch between brands in order to make sure that there is

154
00:10:52,369 --> 00:10:58,209
[john_ross]: at least some choice in the shelf, Our industry globally did a heroic job of

155
00:10:58,449 --> 00:11:03,329
[john_ross]: keeping humanity fed, And that sound that sounds kind of arrogant. You know

156
00:11:03,409 --> 00:11:06,289
[john_ross]: someone from a different industry heard me say that. You know. they might kind of

157
00:11:06,369 --> 00:11:07,809
[john_ross]: squennch up their face, but really

158
00:11:07,980 --> 00:11:08,980
[tammie_hetrick]: That's true.

159
00:11:08,209 --> 00:11:11,729
[john_ross]: really, Last couple of years have bit has been our finest hour.

160
00:11:12,180 --> 00:11:13,180
[tammie_hetrick]: Yes,

161
00:11:13,089 --> 00:11:16,929
[john_ross]: Uh, right. I mean, we. we. We demonstrated that that. even when the technology

162
00:11:17,489 --> 00:11:21,649
[john_ross]: was not working for us, I mean a min max system means nothing in your inventory

163
00:11:21,809 --> 00:11:25,089
[john_ross]: controls When the demand all of a sudden goes to a three year high, right,

164
00:11:24,900 --> 00:11:25,900
[tammie_hetrick]: right,

165
00:11:25,809 --> 00:11:31,809
[john_ross]: Um, or, or are you, you're forced to deal with unprecedented consumer demand. Our

166
00:11:31,969 --> 00:11:36,689
[john_ross]: system was designed, our whole industry globally was designed for Comp step store

167
00:11:36,849 --> 00:11:42,209
[john_ross]: variations of like M, plus or minus five, and when you go to plus or mine is

168
00:11:42,289 --> 00:11:47,889
[john_ross]: forty, you know the entire core infrastructure system doesn't work.

169
00:11:48,260 --> 00:11:49,260
[tammie_hetrick]: right,

170
00:11:48,849 --> 00:11:52,449
[john_ross]: And so that that, the the fact that we were able to do it here in the U. S. With

171
00:11:52,769 --> 00:11:55,889
[john_ross]: you know very modern systems and we still were able to make it work in South

172
00:11:56,049 --> 00:11:59,889
[john_ross]: Africa. with perhaps not as modern systems is a testament to some really hero

173
00:12:00,449 --> 00:12:04,049
[john_ross]: individuals that came to work and decided they were going to make it all. All you

174
00:12:04,129 --> 00:12:05,729
[john_ross]: know. Goingnna, still feed their community.

175
00:12:06,240 --> 00:12:11,360
[tammie_hetrick]: Yeah, absolutely. now that leads me too. I think one of our big questions

176
00:12:11,520 --> 00:12:16,240
[tammie_hetrick]: here is you know our competition and that's really been a challenge on

177
00:12:16,400 --> 00:12:19,920
[tammie_hetrick]: supply chain. We've got large retailers competing with independent

178
00:12:19,820 --> 00:12:20,820
[tammie_hetrick]: grochures,

179
00:12:21,760 --> 00:12:25,520
[tammie_hetrick]: and I'd love to hear you share a little bit about that. Because of your

180
00:12:25,600 --> 00:12:28,960
[tammie_hetrick]: background, you just have such great insight on how that works.

181
00:12:32,449 --> 00:12:35,649
[john_ross]: Yeah, I mean it is demoralizing right there. You're in your store. Your

182
00:12:35,729 --> 00:12:40,049
[john_ross]: wholesaler Iss sending you everything you can. You're on allocation, and shops

183
00:12:40,209 --> 00:12:43,809
[john_ross]: are coming and disappointed because they can't complete their basket, And then

184
00:12:43,889 --> 00:12:49,409
[john_ross]: you go over to Uh, to A. You know a Walmart or to a? Um. You know a club, and you

185
00:12:49,569 --> 00:12:52,849
[john_ross]: see the products that you're out of stock there in Multipxs, and you just scratch

186
00:12:53,009 --> 00:12:55,809
[john_ross]: your head and go. How can this happen? It feels like it feels like a greatd

187
00:12:55,969 --> 00:13:00,689
[john_ross]: injustice. You know I don't. I don't really believe that any of our manufacturers

188
00:13:01,249 --> 00:13:05,889
[john_ross]: purposefully discriminated against our channel. It wouldd be kind of dumb because

189
00:13:06,049 --> 00:13:09,649
[john_ross]: you know the margins they make in those channels versus ours right then from a

190
00:13:09,729 --> 00:13:13,969
[john_ross]: portfolio strategy, and only supplying your lowest margin client doesn't make a

191
00:13:14,049 --> 00:13:16,449
[john_ross]: lot of sense. I don't think. I don't think there's an active intent,

192
00:13:17,489 --> 00:13:20,209
[john_ross]: but the mechanics of the way our industry works

193
00:13:21,569 --> 00:13:29,729
[john_ross]: tend to favor those supply chains in a way that does create the the effect of Um,

194
00:13:30,609 --> 00:13:34,369
[john_ross]: of non competitive practice. And I can tell you, you know when, when, when, when

195
00:13:34,369 --> 00:13:38,769
[john_ross]: I worked for the largest retailer in our channel, and I work for Home Depot, our

196
00:13:39,249 --> 00:13:44,929
[john_ross]: scale and our size, and our in in influence. If we made a decision, it could

197
00:13:45,089 --> 00:13:47,329
[john_ross]: cause a manufacturer to shut down a plant.

198
00:13:47,460 --> 00:13:48,460
[tammie_hetrick]: right.

199
00:13:48,369 --> 00:13:52,529
[john_ross]: If we dropped them as a A as a supplier. It might. It might affect you know their

200
00:13:52,769 --> 00:13:56,769
[john_ross]: their stock price, and you know they could put them in financial ruin. And and

201
00:13:56,929 --> 00:14:02,689
[john_ross]: that power, when you get that large it, the effect is that the people underneath

202
00:14:02,849 --> 00:14:05,649
[john_ross]: who are supplying you, they are afraid to say no.

203
00:14:06,769 --> 00:14:11,489
[john_ross]: And it cre it does, absolutely creates a bully. you know, negotiating

204
00:14:12,529 --> 00:14:17,569
[john_ross]: environment in which the big guys who say I need to be in supply of my customers.

205
00:14:17,729 --> 00:14:21,889
[john_ross]: Suddenly things start happening, which perhaps are not just now. If you were to

206
00:14:21,889 --> 00:14:26,129
[john_ross]: get a, you know, manufacture c e Os on this call and you were to say Hey, you

207
00:14:26,209 --> 00:14:30,129
[john_ross]: know, Did you know what's going on? They would tell you stories about you know,

208
00:14:30,289 --> 00:14:34,929
[john_ross]: opening up new lines and working triple shifts and all the heroic things they did

209
00:14:35,649 --> 00:14:39,489
[john_ross]: in order to stay, stay in stock. And and, and to make it happen, and you would

210
00:14:39,569 --> 00:14:43,089
[john_ross]: have you know coming out of the first year of Cove, And we all thought that those

211
00:14:43,169 --> 00:14:46,289
[john_ross]: problems were going to be behind us, And then then also sudden, we discovered

212
00:14:46,369 --> 00:14:50,769
[john_ross]: there's a much more fragile supply chain than Th that than you want. But I think

213
00:14:51,009 --> 00:14:55,089
[john_ross]: I think you know for any independent that wonders if if perhaps weren't fighting

214
00:14:55,169 --> 00:14:59,969
[john_ross]: with one on type behind their back. I think that it is. it is likely at many

215
00:15:00,129 --> 00:15:01,649
[john_ross]: times incoven. that was true.

216
00:15:03,360 --> 00:15:07,600
[tammie_hetrick]: Yeah, yeah, thanks, John. I appreciate that. So, as we look to the the

217
00:15:07,760 --> 00:15:09,280
[tammie_hetrick]: future of grocery,

218
00:15:10,560 --> 00:15:15,680
[tammie_hetrick]: I'm sure you know being in all these different areas and globally, what are

219
00:15:15,760 --> 00:15:19,920
[tammie_hetrick]: some of the dynamics you've seen changing? Um, you know more delivery.

220
00:15:21,280 --> 00:15:23,680
[tammie_hetrick]: What are you seen for the Us as we move forward,

221
00:15:27,409 --> 00:15:30,929
[john_ross]: Yes, it certainly being afraid to be in a store

222
00:15:31,300 --> 00:15:32,300
[tammie_hetrick]: Mhm,

223
00:15:32,129 --> 00:15:37,089
[john_ross]: accelerated the consumer's desire to have a digital relationship with their

224
00:15:37,149 --> 00:15:38,149
[john_ross]: favored retailers.

225
00:15:39,249 --> 00:15:43,969
[john_ross]: Right and how many years acceleration any commerce did we get? It's hard to tell,

226
00:15:44,289 --> 00:15:50,129
[john_ross]: but you know we went from probably low single digit to low double digit shopper

227
00:15:50,449 --> 00:15:54,609
[john_ross]: engagement with Uh with the commerce in the United States. I think the lesson

228
00:15:54,849 --> 00:16:01,329
[john_ross]: there isn't so much about ecommerce. I think it's this idea of a new kind of

229
00:16:01,409 --> 00:16:02,849
[john_ross]: relationship with the consumer

230
00:16:02,820 --> 00:16:03,820
[tammie_hetrick]: Mhm,

231
00:16:03,869 --> 00:16:04,869
[john_ross]: right, so

232
00:16:05,909 --> 00:16:06,909
[john_ross]: A A A A, a,

233
00:16:08,369 --> 00:16:13,169
[john_ross]: traditional relationship. You know I know my customer. I know their family. I

234
00:16:13,249 --> 00:16:17,649
[john_ross]: know what they buy and am able to provide customized service, right you? It's

235
00:16:18,289 --> 00:16:22,929
[john_ross]: that's so the cornerstone of what family businesses and smaller grocery chains.

236
00:16:23,009 --> 00:16:27,569
[john_ross]: we. We built our whole brand promise around that idea of that direct relationship

237
00:16:27,969 --> 00:16:32,209
[john_ross]: and it's easy to get into a trap. A thinking that you know a A, a digital

238
00:16:32,369 --> 00:16:33,889
[john_ross]: relationship would somehow be less,

239
00:16:35,009 --> 00:16:38,849
[john_ross]: and I think I think through this the process, what we've learned is that's not

240
00:16:39,009 --> 00:16:43,809
[john_ross]: true that you can have a digital relationship with your retailer. And and, and a

241
00:16:43,889 --> 00:16:47,169
[john_ross]: great example of this, I was just in one of our stores and know the team that

242
00:16:47,249 --> 00:16:51,089
[john_ross]: pulls and stages the product for their customer. You know they will go, take a

243
00:16:51,169 --> 00:16:54,849
[john_ross]: picture of the stakes that they picked and send them a taxxt, Going, Hey, I take

244
00:16:55,089 --> 00:16:56,689
[john_ross]: these for you. What do you think

245
00:16:57,729 --> 00:16:59,969
[john_ross]: now? The reality is that shopper,

246
00:17:01,009 --> 00:17:04,369
[john_ross]: y, if they were concerned about the quality of what was going to happen before,

247
00:17:04,609 --> 00:17:05,889
[john_ross]: now that they're not, and

248
00:17:05,540 --> 00:17:06,540
[tammie_hetrick]: right,

249
00:17:05,969 --> 00:17:09,249
[john_ross]: now they know the name of the person that's picking the product and now they can

250
00:17:09,329 --> 00:17:13,009
[john_ross]: have a dialogue about what's fresh in the store or really cool things. And pretty

251
00:17:13,249 --> 00:17:17,489
[john_ross]: soon the store and the shop are having a dialogue about supply chain, and they

252
00:17:17,569 --> 00:17:21,089
[john_ross]: would didn't before. Like Hey, these new blueberries just came in. You want me to

253
00:17:21,169 --> 00:17:24,769
[john_ross]: add them to your order, and all of a sudden you've got this new digital

254
00:17:24,929 --> 00:17:29,809
[john_ross]: relationship which is every bit is precious and special as the physical one in

255
00:17:29,889 --> 00:17:33,649
[john_ross]: our stores, and I, I think the big trend here is going to be as we go through.

256
00:17:34,049 --> 00:17:37,489
[john_ross]: You know, E commerce in the United States as a first generation experience in

257
00:17:37,569 --> 00:17:42,129
[john_ross]: grocery. As we go through our second and third, how are all the ways that we're

258
00:17:42,289 --> 00:17:43,729
[john_ross]: going to be able to use the technology

259
00:17:44,929 --> 00:17:49,969
[john_ross]: to strengthen our relationship with the consumer and make it more precious rather

260
00:17:49,869 --> 00:17:50,869
[john_ross]: than less

261
00:17:51,760 --> 00:17:56,160
[tammie_hetrick]: Yeah, that's a great example. Um, that's definitely excellent customer

262
00:17:55,860 --> 00:17:56,860
[tammie_hetrick]: service

263
00:17:57,440 --> 00:18:02,320
[tammie_hetrick]: in a totally different way, So yeah, I really appreciate that insight, Will,

264
00:18:02,560 --> 00:18:06,560
[tammie_hetrick]: John. Is there anything else you'd like to share with everyone before we

265
00:18:06,540 --> 00:18:07,540
[tammie_hetrick]: sign off?

266
00:18:10,689 --> 00:18:15,169
[john_ross]: well? I think I think we've been given we. We've been given an opportunity

267
00:18:16,449 --> 00:18:22,609
[john_ross]: in the beginning of covet. Shoppers had to shop our channel because they were not

268
00:18:22,769 --> 00:18:26,849
[john_ross]: allowed to fill their nutrition needs from other sources. So school lunches are

269
00:18:26,929 --> 00:18:31,249
[john_ross]: closed down. restaurants are shut down. It forced them into our channel, and we g

270
00:18:31,489 --> 00:18:33,729
[john_ross]: regrorew share. And if you look at the data

271
00:18:34,769 --> 00:18:40,849
[john_ross]: compared to Um, I don't know. the last five or six years we took back market

272
00:18:41,249 --> 00:18:46,449
[john_ross]: share from restaurants and de food delivery services, to you know, to probably

273
00:18:46,849 --> 00:18:48,529
[john_ross]: two thousand and thirteen levels,

274
00:18:49,889 --> 00:18:54,049
[john_ross]: where more Americans are eating food at home prepared at home than out in a

275
00:18:54,129 --> 00:18:57,969
[john_ross]: restaurant or something. That was that that was brought to them. Now that that's

276
00:18:58,129 --> 00:19:01,969
[john_ross]: a very. That's a very special thing. right. You don't often get that gift.

277
00:19:03,089 --> 00:19:06,689
[john_ross]: Now we have to figure out a way to keep those people in our stores, And when I

278
00:19:06,849 --> 00:19:10,529
[john_ross]: talk to our retailers, you know what they're worried about today is how do I

279
00:19:10,689 --> 00:19:14,929
[john_ross]: attract talent and keep my store stocked. And how do I? uh, you know how do I

280
00:19:15,169 --> 00:19:19,329
[john_ross]: keep keep in stock with a you know unpredict supply chain and all of that thing.

281
00:19:19,649 --> 00:19:24,209
[john_ross]: But the thing I, I think I would would hope they were also focused on 'cause you

282
00:19:24,229 --> 00:19:25,229
[john_ross]: have to focus on that.

283
00:19:24,980 --> 00:19:25,980
[tammie_hetrick]: Mhm,

284
00:19:25,809 --> 00:19:31,009
[john_ross]: The other thing is this idea of they were in my stores under deress. How do I

285
00:19:31,089 --> 00:19:33,649
[john_ross]: make sure they stay in my stores Because I've earned it.

286
00:19:34,240 --> 00:19:35,440
[tammie_hetrick]: right, Well said,

287
00:19:35,409 --> 00:19:40,049
[john_ross]: You know what? What are the things I need to do now in order to make sure that

288
00:19:40,689 --> 00:19:44,849
[john_ross]: keeping their dollars in my store and continuing to eat at home is something

289
00:19:45,169 --> 00:19:51,409
[john_ross]: that? Um, you? it, it it it that the benefit of that outweighs going back to

290
00:19:51,789 --> 00:19:52,789
[john_ross]: those those old patterns.

291
00:19:53,380 --> 00:19:54,380
[tammie_hetrick]: definitely,

292
00:19:54,129 --> 00:19:57,409
[john_ross]: And you know that may mean investing in our stores. It certain certainly means

293
00:19:57,489 --> 00:20:00,769
[john_ross]: digital. You have to upgrade your digital. It means you got to stay on top of

294
00:20:00,849 --> 00:20:03,969
[john_ross]: customer service, the quality and freshness and all the things that we do. great.

295
00:20:04,689 --> 00:20:08,769
[john_ross]: but um, there's probably been never been a better opportunity in an independent

296
00:20:08,929 --> 00:20:11,889
[john_ross]: grocer space to grow your market share than right now.

297
00:20:12,960 --> 00:20:16,560
[tammie_hetrick]: yeah. that's a great point. Certainly something we can help our members

298
00:20:16,720 --> 00:20:20,720
[tammie_hetrick]: with, too, because we've asked the governor in the past, Uh, to provoke

299
00:20:20,960 --> 00:20:25,040
[tammie_hetrick]: family Mills, and he did, And I, I think it's uh, something important that

300
00:20:25,120 --> 00:20:28,880
[tammie_hetrick]: we need to make sure every year we're doing that. and uh, maybe sending that

301
00:20:28,960 --> 00:20:31,200
[tammie_hetrick]: message a little bit more than once a once a year.

302
00:20:32,880 --> 00:20:36,720
[tammie_hetrick]: So John, I want to thank you so much for your time and and all your insight.

303
00:20:37,120 --> 00:20:41,440
[tammie_hetrick]: It's always great to have you, and and we welcome you any time you have

304
00:20:41,680 --> 00:20:43,440
[tammie_hetrick]: information you'd like to share with the group,

305
00:20:44,640 --> 00:20:47,840
[tammie_hetrick]: So I will sign off and I hope you have a wonderful day,

306
00:20:50,689 --> 00:20:52,529
[john_ross]: Well, thank you for inviting me was a lot of fun.

307
00:20:54,740 --> 00:20:55,740
[tammie_hetrick]: okay?