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    Giant Eagle Using Tech to Lessen Complexity of Retailing

    Retailer wants to do away with store PCs, go mobile.

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ

    NEW YORK — Convenience store and supermarket operator Giant Eagle Inc. is installing a suite of interconnected Reflexis systems to better handle the increasing complexity of retailing due to competitive forces, a company executive revealed at this week’s 2016 National Retail Federation (NRF) Convention & Expo, Retail's Big Show, which took place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center Jan. 17-20.

    In a session entitled “Real-Time Customers Require Real-Time Store Operations" hosted by IBM and partner Reflexis, Chris Kelly, senior director of operations, planning and organizing for Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, discussed the increasing pressures being felt at the store level.

    “We’re asking associates to do things they’ve never had to do before to grow the business,” Kelly said, noting that associates feel the brunt of these growth pressures as they’re faced with helping to execute new offerings, helm bigger stores and cope with changing federal regulations.

    To ease these pressures, Giant Eagle Project Blueprint is the retailer’s real-time task management system — a “team approach to working smart,” aimed at helping to better deliver on the company’s goals of operations efficiency, consistency among stores and a sustainable process, Kelly noted.

    The integrated system includes real-time alerts, a retail task manager that turns strategy into action, better compliance with safety regulations, and advanced analytics and reporting, which Kelly said is “going to give us insights into our business that we never had before.”

    The components are in various stages of rollout among Giant Eagle’s stores.

    “We want to remove PCs from our stores,” Kelly added. “We want our people completely mobile — it’s a real game-changer for us.”

    Giant Eagle Inc. is one of the nation’s largest food retailers and distributors, with approximately $9.7 billion in annual sales. The company has 229 supermarkets and 194 fuel and convenience stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, northern West Virginia and Maryland.

    The GetGo brand from Giant Eagle aims to redefine the fuel and convenience store shopping experience by bringing the same level of fresh, high-quality and delicious food and unmatched customer service associated with Giant Eagle supermarkets to the convenient GetGo setting.

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editorial director of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing. Follow him at www.twitter.com/JimDudlicek

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