Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) has made some changes to its business structure and key leadership for 2019.
Among those changes, AWG is creating what it says is a “more cohesive supply chain alignment within the company” in an effort to provide its members a stronger wholesale supply offering. AWG plans to accomplish this by bringing together its division operations, merchandising, and distribution/logistics functions.
“The overarching mission of this supply chain function is to provide (our) members what they need, when they need it, at the best possible cost,” says AWG.
In support of this reorganization, Dan Funk has been promoted to the new role of chief supply chain and merchandising officer. Funk will have accountability for all merchandising and operations, bringing the entire supply chain under one leader.
Funk joined AWG in 2012 to lead its Valu Merchandisers subsidiary as president. He later was promoted to SVP of grocery for AWG and in 2015 assumed the role of EVP, merchandising and marketing. Prior to joining AWG, Funk worked his way up through the business in various retail and wholesale roles, ranging from bag boy at a small-town independent supermarket in North Dakota all the way to leadership roles of increasing responsibility with leading retail chains and wholesalers.
Additionally, Jeff Pedersen will lead sales, services, support, and solutions for AWG as EVP and chief sales and support officer. Pedersen is a 21 year veteran of AWG and has worked in a variety of increasingly impactful roles from specialist all the way to EVP of division operations.
Pedersen started his career in an independently owned supermarket and worked his way through multiple retail positions, eventually taking on management responsibilities for leading Midwest chains.
Under Pedersen’s leadership, this new retailer-facing organization will be segregated into the primary disciplines of sales, services, support and solutions.
The sales team will be the primary point of contact for AWG members and will lead the communication as well as the retail execution of sales building strategies.
The services team will be the combined functions of AWG’s store engineering, store design, store décor, décor manufacturing, lighting and design departments. The services team also will the manage and administer third-party services that serve AWG members’ facility design, construction, maintenance, remodeling and other related needs.
The support team will be a centrally managed group of functional areas and departments focused on delivering sales support to division teams and its members. These support functions encompass advertising and marketing support, creative marketing services, digital, in-store marketing and social media services, customer loyalty programs, shelf space optimization strategies and Plan-o-gram support, and more.
The solutions team currently encompasses retail technology, business solutions, and retail pricing. This new area will be expanded in the future to be the go-to for various member needs which are best fulfilled by AWG or by third-party providers, especially in the areas of technology.
AWG says “these changes are being made to better seize opportunities, provide the very best supply performance and provide its members with a significantly enhanced retail-level service, support, and solutions. The changes will better clarify roles and responsibilities throughout the organization, improve internal collaboration, and position its retail-facing teammates as a united force for positive change.”
In a letter to its members announcing the changes, David Smith, AWG’s president and CEO said, “As our business and the challenges facing our members are ever-changing, we must constantly evaluate our performance against our mission objective. As we measure that performance, from time to time, it becomes necessary for us to realign and adjust our resources with current and emerging member needs and priorities.”
“The supermarket industry is both challenging and rewarding,” added Barry Queen, AWG’s chairman of the board. “AWG continues to stay positioned and focused to be the best wholesale partner a retailer needs to meet the challenges of today and the future.”