How Price Chopper Achieves Gold Standards across 130 Locations
Pat Iannotti is what we might call a company man. He’s been with Price Chopper for 35 years, currently as director of retail operations for stores in the northeastern United States. His job revolves around shrink mitigation and fresh item management but he also assists the SVP of operations in ensuring that execution at the store level happens according to the company’s standards. Iannotti knows what it takes to succeed in the retail grocery market, and he’s dedicated to seeing Price Chopper thrive. Regular assessments are key.
The company has been routinely assessing readiness and identifying improvement opportunities for decades, but Price Chopper’s old way of conducting audits posed challenges. Then Iannotti discovered MeazureUp. For the past year, Price Chopper’s 130 stores have been using MeazureUp’s AuditApp to manage operational assessments, and Iannotti is happy with the results.
Making the Most of Each Walk
Site inspection visits are called “walks” at Price Chopper. While managers vary their goals and tailor each walk to the points that they want to assess that day, the purpose remains the same: cultivating customer loyalty by ensuring consistency across multiple locations.
“We always used a homegrown system,” Iannotti says. “There were a couple of issues with it. First, we weren’t sure that every manager was looking at the same things on each walk. There was a concern that we were comparing apples and oranges, and that made it hard to measure effectiveness.” He goes on to point out a lack of reporting options. “We had very little to no reporting, unless it was developed internally,” he says. “We used to have to manufacture them in house, and we did not always capture the necessary information every time.”
Now, MeazureUp’s dashboard and built-in reporting features help Price Chopper capture and assess data from all necessary points, making sure that nothing is missed and that all stakeholders have access to the information they need.
Reducing Shrink to Grow Profits
FMI — The Food Industry Association recently reported that 75% of shoppers’ top driver is high-quality fruits and vegetables, but any grocer knows that those beautiful bananas ripen quickly and throwing them out eats into already lower-than-average margins. Knowing how many to order and display at one time is key.
Price Chopper managers conduct frequent shrink walks, looking for ways to reduce loss, especially in the produce department. According to Iannotti, AuditApp’s photo and video capabilities are critical to shrink walks. They show management what’s working well and also reveal areas for improvement; then his team members “use the app’s action-planning process to close the loop and ensure that corrective actions are completed and issues are resolved.”
Upgrades in the Back Room
Iannotti has noticed a real change since his managers have been using AuditApp on their back-room walks. He says that not only has there been a noticeable improvement in back-room conditions, but also that inventory levels have dropped to more appropriate levels, critical to profits.
Iannotti also points out that using AuditApp on back-room walks has also had an effect on trade partners like major soft-drink companies. He says, “Using AuditApp helps us ensure that our trade partners are following our processes and adhering to the parameters that we’ve defined so that we have the right amount of product and that stock is neatly organized and ready for the customers.”
Going for Gold
Price Chopper has a “Gold Standard” process to recognize superior execution, service and conditions. It means that the store is meeting or exceeding all expectations laid out in the company’s merchandising, signage, service and sanitation systems. Before using AuditApp, Iannotti had no way to ensure that all of his team’s Gold Standard walks were the same.
Now he’s confident that all of his Gold Standard store walks are meeting expectations and serving as role models for other locations. “When you have a tool like this that helps take some of the guesswork out and build consistency across the chain, and you have a reporting mechanism built into the process along with the dashboard, it just makes the whole process more consistent and easier to execute,” Iannotti says. “Ultimately, it delivers us better results.”
Although the relationship is just a year old, Price Chopper is already realizing benefits from its collaboration with MeazureUp. Shrink is down. Noting that “it really helps deliver fresher products to the customers when the customers are looking for it,” Iannotti attributes much of that success to MeazureUp. He goes on to observe that Price Chopper’s back rooms are “standing tall, the way we want them to be.”
He’s thrilled with the impact that MeazureUp is having on his Gold Standard process and, ultimately, his bottom line, concluding, “When you get better execution of the attributes you’re looking for, you’re going to see positive ROI from that process.”