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CEO Vivek Sankaran says that Albertsons plans to "elevate its distinctiveness" by enhancing product offerings in the center store to address customers’ changing needs and preferences.

Sankaran offers a few examples of how Albertsons is integrating sustainability into day-to-day operations. “Our entire private truck fleet is certified by the EPA’s SmartWay program as we work to reduce our carbon footprint,” he says, “and earlier this year, we announced we are using an AI-powered platform to better manage our inventory and fresh product supply. This helps reduce food waste, lower greenhouse-gas emissions and save water while making sure our customers have access to the freshest products when shopping with us.” Another part of the grocer’s Recipe for Change is making the company a better place to work and overcoming the sustained labor crunch. “The most important part of my job is supporting and empowering our front-line associates,” Sankaran notes. “One thing we’re focused on right now is how we can make it easier for our store associates to serve our customers. For example, we’re looking at what the small things, or ‘pain points,’ are that create unnecessary work for our front-line associates each day and how we can remove those things. Simplifying the way work gets done will allow our associates to focus on what they do best, which is interacting with the customer.” 138

He adds that Albertsons associates completed more than 6 million hours of training through various programs, including on-the-job training, mentoring programs, e-learning and classroom-style events, in 2020. “One training program we’re particularly proud of is our Leading with Inclusion workshops,” Sankaran says. “More than 10,000 leaders have participated in these interactive sessions designed to heighten awareness around bias and provide tools to support associates’ ability to create a more inclusive work environment.” As the grocery world waits for the outcome of the company’s strategic review, the grocer is clearly investing in its workforce and in technology to transform itself for a future rife with disruption and competition. Sankaran is confident that the company is up to the challenge. “Being a leader means we have a responsibility to continue to provide the highest level of service to our customers and communities,” he says. “We will continue to earn our leadership position by placing the customer at the center of everything that we do by serving, supporting and caring for them every day, every week and for a lifetime.”

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