This week, the Associated Food Stores’ (AFS) team launched a major new process for retailers at the Annual Meeting and FoodShow called New Vistas. New Vistas was developed by April Rice, Javier Tapia, the Retail Counselors and Retail Specialist teams, with support of many from the Executive Team, including Bob Obray, Roger White, Travis Boman, Wade Judd and Jason Sokol.

“New Vistas is based on processes we first introduced at Associated Food Stores,” said Bob. “Early in 2021, our Executive Team read The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) together and then adopted many of the principles introduced in the book. Our teams embraced the concepts and are utilizing them to great success across the entire organization.”

With the success AFS teams experienced at the Distribution Center, ARO Retail and the Corporate Office, April and Javier then took on the challenge of how to take what the company was learning and introduce it to member retailers.

New Vistas, at its core, is a catalyst for process improvement and innovation. AFS counselors and specialists have a formal process for member retailer stores to help them 1) identify key areas of opportunity in their business, 2) narrow their focus to the most important one or two items they should work on first, 3) engage their teams as part of the process, 4) build scorecards to help measure progress and success, and 5) meaningfully celebrate wins.

“The last couple of years have been a true whirlwind.” said Tyson Stewart. “We were asked by AFS to help pilot and test New Vistas and this process has allowed us to be far more focused than we ever have been. My team is truly engaged, taking ownership and actively helping us be a better grocery store for our local community. The truth is that we do not know when things will settle down within the grocery industry; however, with the many opportunities we have today, we must find ways to focus now and take advantage of the moment in order to maintain and grow our overall market share moving forward.”

The initial rollout of New Vistas is focused mainly on the store process improvement and training that April and Javier’s teams have developed. But this is only the start. During their New Vistas presentation, Javier laid out a bold vision for future enhancements. With the help of several other AFS teams, they will add an annual shopper survey and team survey allowing participating stores to better understand their shopper and team needs. Soon, they will add the New Vistas online scorecard, a tool that will allow retailers to better analyze their success and compare themselves to anonymized results from other participating New Vistas retailers. Finally, they are exploring ways to offer retailers better education and training opportunities, first focused on New Vistas online training with a goal to expand training in coming years.

“I could not be prouder of the work that April, Javier, the Retail Counselors and Specialists Teams have put into developing New Vistas. They are off to an amazing start,” said Bob. “They have paved an amazing path for our retailers to follow and I cannot wait to see the new heights they are able to help our retailers reach in coming years.”