Home » SpartanNash CEO Sarsam Praises Pause On ETS

SpartanNash CEO Sarsam Praises Pause On ETS

SpartanNash Sarsam

Last updated on February 22nd, 2022 at 02:09 pm

Tony Sarsam, president and CEO of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based SpartanNash, praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to pause the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Emergency Temporary Standard for COVID-19 vaccination and testing for private businesses.

Tony Sarsam

“We are happy that the Supreme Court of the United States sided with private enterprise to not enforce a federal mandate as we believe our associates should have the freedom to choose whether or not they receive the vaccine,” he said. 

Sarsam said the company was prepared to comply with the ETS mandate and will continue to “strongly” encourage vaccination and administer them throughout its pharmacies. 

“However, we agree with the ruling since we felt the ETS placed a burden on businesses that are already battling the most challenging labor market and supply chain environment we have ever faced,” he said. “The ETS could have led to disastrous consequences impacting millions of people by crippling our supply chain and increasing food insecurity for Americans.”

Sarsam said SpartanNash saw the ETS as originally written was overreaching, impractical and burdensome. 

SpartanNash has offered free COVID-19 vaccines at all company-owned pharmacies, and walk-up appointments are available as well as on-site vaccine clinics at company locations.

“We also incentivized associates with $100 once fully vaccinated through our ‘Shot and Score’ campaign and continue to pay associates for the time needed to get vaccinated or in the event they experience side effects from vaccination,” he said. “In addition, we offer a $5/week COVID-19 vaccine premium discount on our medical benefits plan. As a result, SpartanNash associates have taken advantage of our vaccine incentive program and our locations have some of the highest vaccination numbers in the communities we serve.”

Supply chain transformation

SpartanNash operates 146 supermarkets – primarily under the banners of Family Fare, Martin’s Super Markets, D&W Fresh Market, VG’s Grocery and Dan’s Supermarket – across nine states, along with a partnership with 2,500 independent retailers.

Sarsam said the company’s supply chain is fundamentally strong. Although it is affected by disruptions, it continues to remain open and stocked. 

“Last year, we kicked off a massive supply chain transformation project to take footsteps and fingerprints out of our network so that we can more efficiently and effectively serve our customers,” he said. “We are leveraging data and insights to give us the agility to navigate the ever-changing constraints we’re seeing – whether it’s vendor outages, weather-related highway closings or labor pressurizing operations. 

“Now more than ever, demand and S&OP (sales and operations planning) capabilities are make-or-breaks for success, and we rely on real-time data to make the right decisions so that we can continue to deliver for our customers and communities.”

Sarsam noted the grocery industry has seen inbound service from vendors decline by more than 10 percent since the start of 2021, with some top suppliers falling by more than 20 percent. 

“Today, over 30 percent of the U.S. workforce is unvaccinated; if just one in 10 of those people exits the workforce – doubling the rate of ‘the great resignation’ – there will be crippling effects to the U.S. supply chain,” Sarsam said. “This is not a political issue. It’s a national economic challenge that will further damage the critical food industry.”

As a retailer, wholesaler and distributor, SpartanNash has the advantage of looking at the supply chain from multiple viewpoints. “This allows us to bring valuable insights and an industry advantage that not many can claim,” he said. 

“We are actively creating solutions for our customers and retail stores. We have Our Family brand of products readily available, which is a great option for shoppers looking for products that are in stock and competitively priced. We also continue to work closely with manufacturers to ensure we get as much product variety on shelves as possible for our store guests.”

For more information, visit spartannash.com

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