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E.W. James and Sons honored

E.W. James and Sons honored

Posted: Monday, May 10, 2010 1:06 pm

The Messenger 05.10.10
Supermarket News has selected Save Mart Supermarkets, Nature’s Best and E.W. James and Sons as the winners of its 2010 Technology Excellence Awards in the chain, wholesaler and independent categories, respectively.
Each company’s IT initiatives are profiled in SN’s May 3 print edition and are available online at www.supermarketnews.com.
Representatives of the three companies will publicly receive their awards at the Food Marketing Institute Show Tuesday in Las Vegas at a morning technology session, “Consumers Rule: The Changing Face of Retail. It’s a C2B World. Are You Ready?”
The winning companies were selected for using technology as a fundamental driver of business success.
According to Supermarket News’ profile of E.W. James and Sons, senior management support for IT projects is not a problem since the supermarket chain’s president, Kenneth Pink, is a former chief information officer who sets most of the IT strategy for the company.
So as the 76-year-old E.W. James company proceeds with an ambitious computer-assisted ordering (CAO) project at its 18 conventional supermarkets — a program requiring some major cultural shifts in store practices — “there is pretty good senior management support,” Pink said.
Prior to joining family-owned E.W. James in 2004 as chief operating officer and becoming president in 2008, Pink spent more than 20 years in IT as an executive with Tomax, a software provider based in Salt Lake City, and before that as the CIO of Harmons, a 13-store chain also based in Salt Lake City. He also worked in retail technology for wholesaler Fleming Companies.
Pink is applying his IT savvy now to the CAO project, which is already two years old but is entering the rollout stage. All 18 stores have implemented a perpetual inventory system — a necessary precursor to CAO — in the dairy, frozen and grocery departments.
Three of the 18 stores have gone live with CAO in dairy departments over the past two months and the rest will follow suit by the end of June, he said. A single-vendor specialty food section is also using CAO in one store and the bread section in all stores is next in line for CAO. E.W. James plans to roll out CAO to the grocery and frozen departments before the 2010 holiday season and the bakery, deli and meat sections next year.
Besides CAO, E.W. James has also embraced the possibilities of social media vehicles like Facebook, Twitter and blogging, all accessible through the company Web-site, www.ewjames.com.
E.W. James has made a mark over the past year with its aggressive social media program, which includes Facebook, Twitter and a blog. Thus far, the retailer has 800 fans on Facebook and 126 followers on Twitter, as well as an e-mail list of about 4,000 shoppers.
E.W. James uses Face-book, Twitter and e-mail to instantly alert shoppers to produce discounts in its Market Busters program, which features specials that occur too unexpectedly to be listed in the company’s regular advertisements. The blog and Facebook page also offer company news and events, recalls and customer questions with responses.
They key to making social media a successful venture is to give it constant attention, according to Pink.
“If you just stick it up there and hope for the best, it won’t do anything,” he said.

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