Panzer points to NACDS’ ability to drive partnership, engagement

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Panzer points to NACDS’ ability to drive partnership, engagement

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As retail undergoes a revolution, the key to delivering what consumers want is agility from retailers and suppliers, as well as maintaining a personal connection with shoppers, Albertsons’ Mark Panzer said in his first remarks as chairman of NACDS. He also highlighted NACDS’ ability to help retailers engage with each other to reach success through such events as NACDS Annual and Total Store Expo.

Panzer’s remarks were informed by his current role as senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness of Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons, which is leveraging digital tools to reach customers and is in the midst of an acquisition of Rite Aid, as well as by his more than 40-year career in retail that began at Osco Drug in the early 1970s. Throughout his career, Panzer said, he has seen the value of customer relationships shine through, even as the ways retailers build them have shifted.

“We have better tools, better data, better analytical skill,” Panzer said in his remarks that followed him receiving the chairman’s gavel from outgoing chairman and Walgreens Boots Alliance co-COO Alex Gourlay. “We need to utilize all of these things in this rapidly changing retail environment. But native intelligence, gained through frontline experience and face-to-face customer interaction, is invaluable and must still play a critical role at the decision-making table.”

He highlighted NACDS as a crucial facilitator of the conversations where retailers and suppliers decide their strategies in a changing environment — both through events and the organization’s Retail Advisory Board. “NACDS is doing a lot to bring retailers and suppliers together, to really tackle the issues of today and tomorrow.” Panzer said.

He also noted the way that NACDS maintains a focus on public policy measures that can help further members’ role in the lives of patients and customer through its Access Agenda’s focus on such issues as pharmacy provider status, direct and indirect remuneration fees and fighting the opioid epidemic. “When you look at all of the business challenges we are facing, I cannot emphasize enough, just how important it is to have NACDS representing all of us, and taking on these public policy issues,” he said.

Panzer’s speech Tuesday was preceded by remarks from Johnson &n Johnson U.S. chief customer officer David Pothast and Panzer presenting Gourlay with a plaque commemorating his time as chairman. His remarks were followed by educator Jim Collins, who spoke to attendees about what distinguishes great companies. As part of his talk, Collins discussed how companies that achieve greatness do so through large, ambitious goals that attract the best and brightest. His framework could also easily apply to such organizations as NACDS, whose membership Panzer noted comprises the best of the industry from companies of all sizes.

“If you’re not doing the hardest things, you’re not going to get the best people,” Collins said.