Holistic supplier, retailer partnerships discussed on final day of DSN Industry Issues Summit

The third and final panel of DSN’s annual Industry Issues Summit highlighted holistic supplier and retailer partnerships.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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Dan Mack, founder of Mack Elevation, moderating the virtual panel.

Drug Store News kicked off the final panel of its three-day annual Industry Issues Summit on Dec. 1 with a panel of retailers and suppliers sharing their views on how to create holistic partnerships.

Moderated by Dan Mack, founder of Mack Elevation, he addressed how in this day and age, the nature of partnerships is changing due to a variety of factors including increased costs, inflation and limited face-to-face interaction.

In order to innovate supplier relationships, Jacob Trombino, divisional merchandising manager of Health HUB at CVS Health, noted that a key in making a change was thinking about the met and unmet needs of consumers. 

I’ve been walking the store with brand and product development teams, whether small or large companies, looking for gaps and needs in the marketplace and ultimately watching those products grow and sell and deliver long-term value,” Trombino said during the panel. 

[Read More: Panel tackles pharmacies becoming healthcare destinations on 2nd day of DSN Industry Issues Summit]

Maya Bowie, vice president of health merchandising at Walmart, echoed the sentiments by stating that true innovation entails analyzing what the true problems are and figuring out just how consumers do their shopping. 

Shifting to the topic of ensuring profitability,  Jeff Mondelli, vice president of pharmacy, health and beauty at Wakefern, discussed how when it comes to working with certain partners, honesty is still the best policy. 

Delivering bad news, it’s part of the job and may not feel good at the moment but long term it's the only recipe for success,” Mondelli said. 

Mike Wolf, senior director, divisional merchandise manager of advanced care and home healthcare at Walgreens, agreed with Mondelli and highlighted another area of importance — finding areas of commonality and growth that can be latched onto. 

[Read More: Industry Issues Summit panel weighs in on how focusing on patients can improve outcomes]

Jessica Donati, vice president of consumer products at AmerisourceBergen, shifted the conversation to discuss how proactive innovation between partners is key, and how modifying expectations in a sustainable way can benefit both parties. 

When it came to addressing what is the future of health and wellness, Trombino noted that having a customer-first lens is extremely vital to figuring out the next steps. He also emphasized the importance of data and how it can ultimately help predict what categories will continue to see growth over the next three to five years.   

Lastly, on the subject of joint business planning, Mondelli shared that the willingness to be flexible and agile and not rigid makes a successful partnership and makes joint business planning work.