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Mack Elevation Forum: How to achieve best value

BY DSN STAFF

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — “Sixty percent of all buying decisions have already been completed prior to ever speaking with a supplier. And most of us struggle with undervaluing our competitors and overvaluing our company assets. That is a deadly combination that makes you vulnerable.” That was one of the key messages Mack Elevation Forum founder and leader Dan Mack had for attendees of Friday morning’s Elevation Forum meeting. Mack created the program in 2008 for senior sales and marketing leaders, and today the group totals more than 30 companies who meet to discuss cutting-edge ideas and strategies emerging in the industry.

Family Dollar president and COO Mike Bloom served as a special guest keynote speaker for the April 19 Mack Elevation Forum. Bloom passionately shared with Elevation Forum members how to create a winning business with Family Dollar, how to help the chain achieve its vision of offering the best value in the market and emotionally connecting with its consumers. Bloom, who was joined by Family Dollar EVP Paul White and VP Jim Trappani, shared “one of our top priorities is to become more relevant and create meaningful value propositions for our consumers who aspire to be more and have more.”

Bloom has been leading the organization for the last two years, as the company’s transformation continues. “We are enhancing our perishables and frozen foods, reinventing our private-brand offerings, remodeling older stores and trying to understand the deepest needs of our consumers.” Bloom added, “The philosophy [and DNA] of the founding family led by Howard Levine is passionate about our employees and who we serve. We take pride in ‘serving the underserved,’ and most suppliers really don’t appreciate the financial challenges of this consumer. They live paycheck to paycheck, aspiring to buy brands that offer outstanding value. We will continue to innovate everything in our business to meet this larger need.”

The forum started with a robust presentation and discussion of the “top 10 sales strategy and leadership ideas” that executives need to “unlearn” because of the challenges of the new economy and the changing needs of business. “Playing safe is risky, hiring sales leaders who are not critical thinkers will hinder you and not understanding emerging fringe trends limits your category leadership. Hiring talent can transform your organization, while bringing in outsiders helps you stay rooted in reality,” Mack noted.

TABS Group CEO and founder Kurt Jetta shared some very provocative new shopper research on the role of “active promotional tactics” in developing a brand and creating incremental consumption. According to Jetta, “the most preferred means of gaining value, as defined by the consumer panel, showed that [everyday low price] and store brand were the most highly mentioned tactics for deriving value. Traditional vehicles [e.g., coupons, circulars, bonus sizes] were still more preferred than more recent forms of deal delivery [e.g., loyalty, online and rebate].”

The next Elevation Forum is in San Antonio on May 30 with keynote speaker Bill Anderson of 
H-E-B. The executive forum team will continue the vision of uncovering unique insights and discussing the best practices engaging the industry.

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Anda welcomes MLB star, pro golfers

BY Michael Johnsen

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — More than 350 executives who participated in Anda’s Sixth Annual Supply Chain Symposium here Friday evening were treated to a keynote address from Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s EVP baseball operations. Torre is a nine-time MLB All-Star and managed the New York Yankees to four World Series championships.

Anda also introduced a surprise guest. “We surprised everybody this year with Jack Nicklaus coming out as our special guest on Thursday night,” said Bill Versosky, Anda VP sales and marketing. The legendary golfer — and son of pharmacist Charlie Nicklaus — serves as “the spokesperson for TrueScience, our partner who is bringing pet medication VetIQ to retail pharmacies,” said Versosky.

Early on Friday Johnny Miller, former professional golfer and winner of 25 PGA Tour events and lead golf analyst for NBC, joined symposium participants on the golf course. And during lunch, pharmaceutical analyst Charles Haisch of IPD Analytics provided an update to the “patent cliff” as a market force, as well as key legal case updates across the industry.

“When we started a few years ago, we had about 80 people, and this year we’re going to be more than 350 people,” added Marc Falkin, Anda VP purchasing. “One of the things that is most important to us is as Anda expands its portfolio of products, we’re happy to have so many new companies join us. Our goal is to continue to add those products to our portfolio and look forward to hosting many more people over the coming years.”

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GPhA welcomes Bipartisan Policy Center proposal to save billions through increased use of generics

BY Jason Owen

WASHINGTON — A report released yesterday by the Bipartisan Policy Center, entitled “A Bipartisan Rx for Patient-Centered Care and System-Wide Cost Containment,” contains a smart, forward-looking and no-cost recommendation that could save the government billions, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association said today.

According to GPhA, the report focused on finding practical solutions and incentives for a more sustainable health care system, calls for the greater use of generic drugs, which are a safe, affordable and proven method for lowering health costs. The BPC proposal calls for stronger incentives for Medicare low-income subsidy beneficiaries to use lower-cost drugs, along with incentives for Part D plans to provide generic alternatives. The Center estimates the savings from this provision for FY2013-2023 at $44.3 billion. GPhA included a similar provision in its “Prescription for Sequestration Pain” letter in March, calling on Congress to use generic drugs to help lower health costs, which are a contributor to the federal deficit.

“This proposal highlights the dramatic cost savings that policies encouraging generic use can have. When the government takes full advantage of generic drugs, it results in major savings. This is evident in the Veteran’s Administration, in TRICARE, and others. The Medicare low-income subsidy population can benefit similarly, saving billions by employing these measures,” said Ralph G. Neas, president and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.

In addition to reimbursement shifts that could save billions, the BPC also highlights the need to close the loophole in the current REMS policy, a regulatory program designed to reduce consumer misuse of high-risk drugs that is being taken advantage of by brand companies seeking to prevent generic competition. BPC estimates this small change would result in more than $753 million from FY2013-2022.

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