"Come grow with us," could have been the title of the presentation Sam’s Club EVP of merchandising Charles Redfield gave earlier this week at the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s annual executive conference.
Redfield, only three months into his role as Sam’s top merchant, appeared as part of a panel discussion on the topic of joint business planning that included key trading partners such as Dave Dudick, SVP of General Mills, Melvin Landis, chief retail sales officer with Coca-Cola Refreshments and Sean Fallman, president of Georgia-Pacific’s North American consumer business.
It was the second consecutive year GMA conference organizers included on their agenda the topic of Sam’s Club joint business planning. Last year, it was former head merchant Linda Hefner who weighed in on the subject and this year it was Redfield espousing the benefits of a system his predecessor spearheaded while at Sam’s.
"JBP is a great way of developing trust," Redfield told an audience that included Sam’s merchants such as SVP of grocery and beverages, Todd Matherly, and SVP of health and wellness, Jill Turner-Mitchael.
Trust is key to the entire process, according to Redfield, because it fuels collaboration and the ability to have an honest dialogue. It also enables companies to challenge one another and be open to new approaches to doing business that foster the type of risk-taking that drives growth
"Suppliers are not the enemy. We have plenty of competitors to compete with," Redfield said referring to the importance of being open to new ways of doing business that form a cornerstone of Sam’s JBP process. "Where trust becomes broken is when companies treat JBP as an exercise or piece of paper."
He went on to detail how JBP requires a high level of commitment from senior executives because it is a top down process designed to deliver long-term growth.
"This is not a quick win philosophy," Redfield said.
Sean Fallman with Georgia-Pacific reinforced that notion, noting that, "JBP should not be about things that salespeople and buyers can do on an everyday basis."
According to Melvin Landis with Coke, real change and results only come when companies change the conversation and that is what JBP enables because it creates a framework for tough conversations.
"I give a lot of