Convenience Is Transforming Faster Than Ever

“It’s the right moment for McLane to truly transform,” said Eric Hildenbrand, chief strategy officer for McLane Company. “We want to use the past to drive us forward.”

When it comes to McLane, that can be taken both figuratively and literally. With an origin story dating back to 1894, there are a lot of learnings to apply, and with one of the largest private fleets delivering to almost every U.S. ZIP code, that’s a lot of driving.

The corporate transformation now in play includes pushing even deeper into data management and data security, evolving digital solutions to drive the omnichannel experience, cementing customer relationships, building growth through strategic retail partnerships and re-envisioning McLane’s food program. “Things are developing quickly in the c-store industry,” Hildenbrand said. “We have set out to become more agile in meeting customer needs as we both go down this changing road together.”

There are a vast number of things happening on the technology side at McLane, including a sophisticated blockchain solution, greater visibility into the supply chain, expanding applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence—and a lot more analytics. “It’s a continuous transformation in these areas and we continue to invest in them,” Hildebrand said. “We will continue to leverage our insights to be a catalyst for our customers’ growth.”

The heart of the investment is understanding customers’ needs and any friction they may have. By operating at the nexus of partnership, trust, transparency, data and analytics, McLane becomes a catalyst for the success—and growth—of its partners.

Supply chain confidence may be the most top-of-mind friction point for many. “The pandemic taught us a lot and we won’t take those learnings and experiences for granted. Then and now, standing shoulder to shoulder with our customers and suppliers, we strive to deliver with operational excellence—ensuring the right product at the right time,” said Vito Maurici, customer experience officer for McLane. Maurici fills a new role, underscoring McLane’s commitment to serving its customers.

McLane continues to work in tandem and develop strategic partnerships with operators. Indeed, in recent years the company strengthened those relationships by adding in greater flexibility to meet customer needs. “Our customers have asked us to do some things differently, and we pivoted, leaned into change and continued to listen as their strategic partner for growth,” said Maurici. “At the core of our transformation is understanding and creating a superior customer experience. I think that we have only scratched the surface in our transformation of meeting customer needs, and I am truly excited for what’s ahead.”

Two critical elements McLane brings to the table for all customers: scale and trust. The company will draw from those strengths as it expands its narrative around foodservice. “We are experts at managing the supply chain to get our customers what they need. As consumer trends and customer needs evolve, as they have for fresh food, we are well positioned and prepared to execute with excellence in all areas of foodservice,” said Maurici.

McLane is prepared to meet convenience retailers wherever they are in their foodservice journey, whether that means a roller grill program or a more expansive offering like pizza. What’s right for one operator doesn’t have to be right for another.

“The program goes much further and deeper than just a menu,” said Farley Kaiser, senior director of culinary innovation at McLane and a classically trained chef. “We take a holistic approach, from vendors to the food supply side; we proactively take care of it all to meet the needs of operators.”

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Source: NACS Online