Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) came into being more than eight decades ago when several independent retailers decided that the power of a cooperative far outweighed the influence of any one individual retail grocer. AWG provides distributor services to independent grocers in over 30 states with nine distribution centers throughout the South and Southeast regions of the country. In addition to their wholesale foods department, AWG offers a myriad of services from new store design, construction, marketing, product placement and “world class” logistical consultation (cite 11). AWG faces many of the same logistical challenges that other similar wholesalers face to include rising fuel costs, inclement weather, stringent timelines and an ever evolving need for stringent quality. One method to exploit a business’s positive and negative attributes is through the use of a Strength-Weakness-Opportunity-Threat analysis, or SWOT analysis (Cite 11). If used correctly, the analysis results can give insight into potential market areas of expansion and expose vulnerabilities to senior leadership so that they can be mitigated. AWG looks at its Supply Chain Management (SCM) as an integral part of its core business offering multiple services such as logistics to new co-op members. The team members of AWG are positioning themselves for sustainable success, now and in the future.
AWG is faced with logistical challenges similar to others in the industry. The largest logistical challenge on a daily basis at AWG is their finite timeline between restocking and outgoing shipments to retailers. Any deviation from the schedule due to an extenuating circumstance (labor strike, weather event, ...
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...Middle East continues to play a major factor in fluctuating fuel prices which directly impact the cost of doing business. “Throughput” should be based on the customer’s demand in the order fulfillment process with an overarching focus on quality (SCM, 2014).
Increasing revenue is the main focus of business in a capitalistic venture. The most profitable items for AWG are their fresh produce line which carries an approximate 5% profit margin, but requires an inventory turn time of three days to guarantee freshness and overall customer satisfaction. The application of a SWOT analysis demonstrates that AWG’s attributes far outweigh its limitations. At the end of 2012, AWG amassed sales reaching approximately $8 Billion (AWG, 2014). Walmart leads the retail grocery market, but as AWG erodes that ranking it will emerge as a logistics leviathan in the future.
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