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Home   About   Membership   Meetings   Government Affairs   Members Only April 23, 2010
Executive Briefing

President's Message

Congressional Hearings Postponed:
Due to a last minute change in congressional scheduling, the hearings scheduled for 23 April (Military Resale/MWR/ALA/AFMC) have been postponed. I will keep you informed as rescheduling actions mature…PBN

DeCA Director to Retire:
Just in case you did not hear, Phil Sakowitz, Director and CEO DeCA announced his intentions to retire effective 4 July 2010. Mr. Sakowitz has served in a variety of senior executive service positions accumulating over 35 years of total service to our Nation. There are no plans for a replacement at this time.

Patrick B. Nixon
President, ALA

From Mike Howard AAFES COO:

Operation ARROW (Automatic Replenishment Roll Out Worldwide) kicked off 22 February 2010 and involves a 24 week commitment of converting 1,200 Plan-o-grams (POGs) to RMS Auto Replenishment and targets 140 worldwide main stores. This program represents a major strategic shift in the AAFES operating mode by turning on the Oracle Retail Merchandising suite (formerly known as RETEK) to replenish our main store facilities. This initiative will also help us better execute defined POGs, improve sales, deliver a consistent merchandise image and introduce merchandise into our assortment. Over time we will take this functionality to all store formats.

POGs have been around AAFES for about 25 years; however, they have never taken on the importance they now represent. POGs now take on a huge role in how we drive the retail business, and the way AAFES will operate in the future. Now, more than ever, POGs drive replenishment and particularly the function of Operation ARROW. POGs are now used to determine assortments in every main store.

In FY ‘09, each store completed POG surveys identifying the POG size it carried. That information is literally what RMS Auto Replenishment uses to define the assortment and generate orders. Gone are the days when POGs loosely guided a store’s stock assortment and where operators could supplement category assortment with “cherry picking” SKUs for items on POGs. The stock assortment, as defined by the POG survey data, is literally what stores will carry, except in Direct Store Delivery (DSD) categories with undefined POGs.

With POGs determining stock assortments, the selections are standardized and will help predict item demand for better AAFES-vendor collaboration. The Sales Directorate (SD) has worked hard to make sure that established best sellers are included down to the lowest POG size, with gradually expanded assortments for each larger POG level. The determination of a best seller comes from worldwide statistical performance.

RMS Auto Replenishment is the right tool and this is the right time. POGs are now being defined for Shoppettes and will be completed for all troop stores by the end of 2011. AAFES is moving forward with this type of standardization even to the smallest retail store.

In addition to supporting Operation ARROW, Oracle Retail technologies include Centralized Inventory Management, to include DSD, Pricing, Allocation, Replenishment, RETEK Data Warehouse and Forecasting. These technologies will enable AAFES processes to improve sales, profit and inventory as we prepare for the future.

SD has also assumed additional responsibilities regarding retail product ordering and purchasing. By assuming these responsibilities, we are establishing defined inventory plans and formal processes that will continue to assist us with right sizing inventory while maintaining a high level of customer service.

So what do these changes mean for our vendor community? It means …
  • A renewed focus on efficiencies as AAFES continues to grow profitable sales.
  • Based on the Oracle Suite, new capabilities are available which will provide us with better support data that we can use for analysis and decision purposes. This will also allow us to leverage a variety of store formats as we introduce new product offerings, leading to increased sales and margins.
  • Increased vendor collaboration with the goal of improving on time and in full performance. This will support reducing expedited shipments and improve the effectiveness of cross balancing between stores.
  • We will seek out opportunities to take unnecessary costs out of our supply chain by optimizing ordering processes and order flows. We will continue to work closely with vendors to leverage vendor forecasting capabilities.
Collaboration is critical to running the business and developing strategies that meet our customer’s wants and needs. In order to remain competitive with industry, overall improvements to the AAFES supply chain are a must. One significant improvement involves our PAR division collaborating with our Logistics directorate to establish formal product flow decision criteria designed to optimize AAFES total cost solutions. Another significant improvement involves PAR’s collaboration with vendors to determine the timing of new products being introduced to our assortments, and our new POG models will be the vehicle that will allow us to better plan and manage sales forecasting and create improved order products.

As we move forward, AAFES is leading the charge on many cost-cutting changes that involve new functionalities and processes. As a valued vendor, we extend our hand to partner with you in an effort to ensure your success while building a culture of customer loyalty and continuous improvement.

Washington Update

U.S. scraps Rumsfeld-era budgeting
Defense News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama administration has scrapped the two-year budgeting cycle adopted under former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, while also scuttling a schedule that forced strategic planning and detailed programmatic decisions to be made simultaneously. More

New contractor picked to supply coalition troops in Mideast
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new contractor has been selected to supply billions of dollars worth of food and beverages to U.S. and other coalition troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan in coming years, replacing a Kuwait-based firm that was indicted in November on charges of overbilling the government for those services. More

Acquisition reform bill clears House panel
Government Executive    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The House Armed Services Committee Wednesday unanimously approved legislation intended to save the taxpayers billions of dollars by increasing efficiency and accountability on the Defense Department's massive acquisition process. More

Appropriator expects $4B fiscal 2011 discretionary cut
Government Executive    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said he expects the Senate's fiscal 2011 budget resolution to include a $4 billion cut in discretionary spending below the level recommended in President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget request. More

Experts suggest eight ways to fix the VA claims backlog
Government Executive    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama administration has made a priority of transitioning the Veterans Affairs Department into the new millennium, but a years-old backlog of claims remains. More

Murray introduces legislation to expand veteran assistance
The News Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With more than one in five veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan unemployed, Sen. Patty Murray introduced legislation Tuesday that would provide expanded training, job placement and small business assistance to them, calling the current situation unacceptable. More

As the battlefield changes, so is the Army's basic training
Kansas City Star    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Think "Army Strong" and Jeremy Winn, 22, looks the part: 6 feet 2, roughly 200 pounds, a basketball stud back in high school. But there he was, teetering through stretching exercises, struggling to balance on one knee and one hand. Left leg raised and pointing west, right arm extending east, back straight, head up — the profile of a dog spotting quail. More

Lawmakers announce initiative to increase diversity on Capitol Hill
Government Executive    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Lawmakers have launched an initiative to increase diversity among House staff after a recent report spotlighted the lack of minorities working on Capitol Hill. More

Commissary News

Poor pricing power poses problems for the U.S.
Business Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The attention of policymakers and economists is trained mostly on a looming inflation threat, the drawback you typically associate with enormous amounts of liquidity pumped into the financial system and an economy rebounding from a severe recession. A negligible 0.1 percent rise in the March consumer price index and comments from the Federal Reserve that interest rates will remain very low for an extended time don't appear to confirm that risk, however. More

PepsiCo to roll out recycling kiosks
Supermarket News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
Along with convenience stores and gas stations, supermarkets will get PepsiCo’s Dream Machine recycling kiosks. More

Natural Grocers ditches disposable grocery bags
Denver Westwood    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
No more feeling guilty, averting eye contact and mumbling excuses when you go to Natural Grocers. Unlike at Whole Foods, where forgetting your reusable totes is akin to a sin, if you forget to bring your own bags to the Natural Grocers, the worst that'll happen is you juggle your almond butter and Amy's products au naturale. More

Produce: Swinging springtime sales
Progressive Grocer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
While retail produce executives remain resolute on perfecting pricing strategies to enhance sales and convey excitement, a number of favorable trends that are hitting their stride should make the spring selling season fertile for sowing rewarding sales opportunities in a variety of fresh fruit and vegetable categories. More

PM Beef receives food safety certification
Progressive Grocer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For the second consecutive year, Windom, Minn.-based PM Beef has been named a Safe Quality Food (SQF) 2000 Level 3 Certified Supplier by the SQF Institute, a division of Food Marketing Institute (FMI). More

Pittsburgh's Right by Nature adds mainstream products to natural, organic offerings
The Gourmet    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Right by Nature, Pittsburgh's largest independent, locally owned organic and natural foods market, has expanded its product selection with a substantial lineup of mainstream supermarket products to augment its extensive local, natural and organic offerings. More

Big Y installing checkout mirrors to spot BOB items
Supermarket News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In an effort to curb bottom-of-the-basket (BOB) loss, Big Y here is installing a small mirror on a light pole above each checkout lane that allows cashiers to see the bottom of the basket. More

Unified Grocers tests order recovery app in 'the Cloud'
Supermarket News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Unified Grocers here is testing a disaster-recovery order collection application that runs "the cloud"— that is, an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), a web service that provides "resizable compute capacity," according to its website. More

New H-E-B concept is discount-minded
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Known for its diversity of concepts, H-E-B is about to launch another one called Joe V's Smart Shop, a discount grocery store. The store will have less assortment compared to a traditional supermarket while aiming to take on all competitors on price on many items. H-E-B's new concept is an example of a trade-down taking place in retail. More

Supervalu Pares Items on Shelves
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Supervalu Inc. says it has reduced items in 10 major food categories by 20 percent, a move intended to leverage lower costs with suppliers and free up shelf space for the grocer's private-label products. More

Commissary Web Posts

The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Web site as of 10 a.m., 22 April:

  • DP #14, Healthy Living Event
  • DP #11, Alaska Shipper & Promotion Quantities
  • DP #9, Update #2
  • Summer Club Pack Far East & Alaska July Quantities updated
  • 10-78, Frozen Pizza Category Review
  • 10-79, Industry Presentations for 2011 – 2012 Rack/Cooler Program
  • Adds/Changes/Deletes for week 10-16
  • Guard & Reserve On-Site Sale Schedule updates
  • 37-10, "Going Green" with organic fruits, vegetables
  • 39-10, Awareness month activities highlight commissary benefits
  • 40-10, Look for Earth-friendly items in Green commissaries year round, and a Go Green JPG
  • 41-10, Colors to Crunch & Munch

Exchange News

Consumers to spend more on mom this year
Birmingham Buisness Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Mother's Day is looking a little brighter than last year, as consumers are expected to spend $14.6 billion on gifts for Mom this year, according to recent study. More

The fastest-growing retailers
Forbes    Share    Share
on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Few industries have been hurt as badly by the recession as retail, the front lines of the battlefield where businesses try to separate consumers from their money. More

IPad poised to revolutionize retail industry
Advertising Age    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In the first weeks of the iPad launch, retailers have been largely left out of the conversation. But industry executives believe the device could have a major impact on everything from retailers' catalogs to e-commerce to enhancing the in-store experience. More

Beyond swoosh
Portfolio    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Nike's iconic symbol lifted the brand's revenues for years. But now it's the company's other verticals like Converse, Hurley, Umbro, and Cole Haan that are bringing in the customers—and a bigger share of the money. More

Retailers, restaurants offer deals as more of us pinch penniess
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
America has become a nation of penny pinchers. The economic meltdown was the 500-pound catalyst, but even amid signs the economy is picking up, many of us still are pinching away. It's a trend that analysts say reflects a seismic — and perhaps lasting — change in our spending habits, and retailers are responding. More

New York Times op-ed says swipe fee costs outweigh credit card benefits
NRF    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Retailers' battle with the credit card industry over constantly rising "interchange" fees charged to merchants every time a card is swiped to pay for a transaction is getting attention on multiple fronts. More

Retailers reach out on cellphones
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
Thanks to Internet-equipped smartphones, shoppers are increasingly using software applications to check prices at other stores without leaving the mall. Now retailers are trying to use technology to fight back. More

Social media: Build customer loyalty and evangelism
Open Forum    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Businesses are increasingly turning to social media to strengthen relationships with their customers. By engaging in a rich, ongoing dialogue with customers, companies can better understand their evolving needs, resolve service issues more effectively and gain true brand advocates. More

How much is customer loyalty worth?
BNET    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's a question that most brand teams will have asked themselves: how much is customer loyalty worth? It's a question that switched-on resellers of their products and services will be asking themselves, too. More

How the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act could forever change the supply chain
Supply Chain Brain    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In 2008, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). Manufacturers large and small immediately created an uproar, claiming the law required unreasonable and costly testing and that it could cost the U.S. economy millions, if not billions, of dollars. Nonetheless, new aspects of the CPSIA went in to effect as recently as February. The CPSIA may have created new challenges for the supply chain, but it also creates new opportunities. More

Retail: A pivot point for sustainability
Green Biz    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The recently released Wal-Mart sustainability scorecard may become the new baseline of information for all companies concerned with their environmental and social performance. The scorecard assesses Wal-Mart's suppliers on their performance in four key areas: energy and greenhouse gas emissions; waste and water use; natural resources; and responsible and ethical production. Although its development is a very significant move from the world's largest retailer, the score card is just an early sign of things to come. More

Washington Update

House OKs benefits for veterans' caregivers
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The House voted 419 to zero to approve new benefits and financial support for the primary live-in caregivers of seriously wounded veterans who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More

EFMP Promises Garrison-wide Standardized Service for Army Families

The EFMP Training Education sub-committee attending the EFMP Summit, are in the front from left: Cathy D. Jackman, Tresca Rampahal and Barbara Blount, and in the rear from left are: Megan Hill; Dr. Joni Johnson; Antonio Hill, Chairperson; Joann Hollandsworth and Isabel Hodge. (Photo by Claire Meany, Transformation Strategies)

The U.S. Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command (FMWRC) recently conducted the second Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Summit to enhance services for Family members with special needs, keeping the promise of the Army Family Covenant.

Active duty Soldiers enroll in the program when they have a Family member who has a physical, emotional, developmental, or intellectual disorder requiring specialized services so their needs can be considered in the military personnel assignment process.

"The Army EFMP leads the uniformed services and the nation through a model of support for Soldiers and Families with special needs by connecting and supplementing existing national networks of support and services with local military and civilian resources," Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, IMCOM commander, said.

A mandatory enrollment program, EFMP works with other military and civilian agencies to provide comprehensive and coordinated community support, housing, educational, medical, and personnel services to Families with special needs.

"The needs of EFMP are great, and much work remains to be done, particularly in the areas of communication and program standardization. We must have seamless program standardization from garrison to garrison," Sharon Fields, FMWRC EFMP manager, said.

This vision EFMP has been working on for the past year is scheduled for a July 2010 implementation.

With many of the garrisons becoming joint-based communities, this standardization should work seamlessly for all EFMP Families in every service.

Efforts are ongoing to help EFMP Families transition smoothly to communities where their special needs will be met with comprehensive and coordinated services. Soldiers can then focus on mission readiness, knowing their Families' needs are met.

"The command knows what's needed. When Lt. Gen. Lynch visits a garrison, he always pulls together a focus group of parents who are enrolled in EFMP because he wants to hear their concerns and suggestions to make the program better," Fields said.

According to one mother, EFMP is wasting no time in making good on its promise.

Sgt. 1st Class Fernice Morton, Fort Lewis, Washington. Equal Opportunity Advisor has a son enrolled in EFMP.

"I was selected to go to the EFMP Summit after attending an EFMP workshop at Fort Lewis, Wash. While there, I was in respite care transition between contractors and the Army Community Service (ACS) staff was always available to assist me every step of the way," Morton said.

Antoinette Hill is a volunteer who is the spouse of a retired Soldier with an EFMP daughter.

"I have witnessed the evolution of this program for more than 30 years, and the stars are aligned for great potential. While the nation is focused on the military, we are focused on collaborative EFMP partnerships and the partners are stepping up. Families, warriors and survivors are better served and EFMP better fulfills the promises of the Army Family Covenant," Hill said.

Families need to remember where to get the helpful information.

"Army Community Service (ACS) works hand in hand with the EFMP at the medical facility. While the medical services are responsible for the paperwork for enrollment, at ACS we provide everything (support, information and links) you need," Susan Moyer, Army Community Services EFMP Manager at Fort Carson, Colo., said.

According to Moyer, services that parents and individuals are searching for are right at their fingertips.

"ACS is like a 'yellow pages' for special needs information,” Moyer said.

As the EFMP Summit drew to a close, Lt. Gen. Lynch summed up the way ahead.

"Take care of our Soldiers and Families, one Family at a time. To do this, we’ve got to fix this program so it works better and we have to get the word out. When I was a young commander, no one told me about EFMP. I had to learn about it on my own," Lynch said.

In the near future, FMWRC EFMP will implement a system that fully supports Families with special needs at five pilot locations: Fort Belvoir, Va.; Fort Campbell, Tenn.; USAG Grafenwoehr, Germany; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; and Fort Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Also in the near future, the Army will identify what's required for joint services to participate in this program.

For more information, visit Family Programs at Army OneSource.

Army and Air Force MWR's Can Get Free Event Bibs from

Having a pet show? Bicycle Race? Marathon? 5K Walk?

All you have to do is go to to list your event. Click on the banner at the bottom of the page to complete the event submission.

After the MWR submits their event, they are given the opportunity to complete another request for numbered tyvek bibs with a tear off number for their specific event.


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