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GMA Honors Kroger's Pichler, Presents Kraft With Inaugural AMC CPG Award

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - Joseph A. Pichler, who will retire later this month as chairman of The Kroger Co., was the recipient of the 2004 Hall of Achievement Award by the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA).

Pichler accepted the award, which recognizes extraordinary contributions to the food, beverage, and consumer products industry, at GMA's annual Executive Conference at The Greenbrier, where he was honored for his lifetime of leadership to his company, his industry, and his community.

"Beyond his extraordinary business career, Joe has achieved great success as a writer, teacher and mentor," said James M. Kilts, GMA chairman and chairman and c.e.o. of the Gillette Co., who presented the award. "He has also been outstanding in his commitment to charitable and community activities. Joe is clearly one-of-a-kind."

Pichler earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and taught for 15 years at the University of Kansas School of Business, serving as dean from 1974 to 1980. He joined Dillon Cos. in Kansas as e.v.p. in 1980, three years before its merger with Kroger. Pichler, who was elected chairman and c.e.o. of Kroger in 1990, turned over his executive duties to David B. Dillon last year.

In related news the GMA's Associate Member Council (AMC) presented its first AMC CPG award, which honors innovation through creativity, product innovation, and industry collaboration, to Kraft Foods during the conference.

Kraft Foods was chosen from among seven finalists (in alphabetical order, with nominated project category): Bird's Eye Foods (trade promotion management), Campbell Soup (data synchronization), E&J Gallo Winery (category business intelligence), Heinz (trade promotion management), PepsiCo (global manufacturing and logistics capital procurement), and Welch's (trade promotion management).

Kraft and Safeway formed a cross functional team to improve Safeway's retail stock position via a project that sought to improve the level of collaboration and alignment between the two companies, to build a more effective and efficient supply chain, drive increased sales, and reduce expenses.

As a result Kraft experienced a 162 percent sales increase in one featured category by improving supply chain processes. According to Ron Volpe, supply chain director for Kraft, "a true partnership" with Safeway was created through the adoption of new tools for collaboration and innovation.

"The cross-training that has occurred between companies has raised the level of awareness of the business implications of decisions," Volpe said. "What started as a way to approach supply chain issues has rapidly become a 'best practice' throughout and across both organizations."
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