Talking Shop with... Dan Elrod, McLane Co.
By Craig Levitt
Dan Elrod, vice president of sales, mass market, for McLane Co., says the company is well positioned to help mass retailers, including supermarkets, with their supply needs. Tell us about the McLane Co. Dan Elrod: McLane Co. is a $44 billion supply chain services leader, providing grocery, foodservice and adult beverage supply chain solutions for convenience stores, mass merchants and drug stores throughout the U.S. McLane Grocery comprises approximately $31 billion of the overall company sales. Currently, about half of our grocery business goes to supplying convenience stores and the other half goes to supplying mass market stores. Some of McLane’s current mass market customers include Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Walgreens, Albertstons, Safeway and Family Dollar. Why should mass retailers, including supermarkets, work with McLane? There are several reasons why mass retailers should choose McLane for their supply chain needs. For a self-distributing mass market retailer, keeping up with growth and the spikes in demand often means investing in more warehouses, tractor trailers and automation. Rather than investing in more fixed assets that do not increase their bottom line, retailers can leverage our vast supply chain infrastructure in order to focus on their stores and valuable employees. We currently run 21 modern distribution centers—located in 19 states—across the U.S. and operate a fleet of about 2,200 multi-temp trailers. In addition, we have more than nine million square feet of warehouse space, of which 3.5 million square feet is dedicated to freezers and refrigerators. And, we have the leading industry fill rates and on-time deliveries. We also satisfy the retailers’ need for timeliness, accuracy, quality, innovation and safety in a constantly changing marketplace. We provide real time insights on the best-selling products and merchandising practices to drive greater sales, as well as technology solutions to help streamline operations, reduce costs and improve margins. Our best-in-class service levels and transparent pricing empower our customers to buy better, sell smarter and profit more. Another benefit is that we can help retailers with their local store product mix. McLane carries more than 50,000 SKUs and has invested in a supply chain model that allows us to deliver a wide variety of products—refrigerated, frozen and dry—in virtually any size: single pick, case or pallet. How else can McLane benefit mass retailers? We are experts in many different categories that are important to them. For example, we supply about 35% of candy to retailers across the country. We also have a lot of experience with other categories, including cigarettes, tobacco, snacks, seasonal, back-to-school, general merchandise, produce, ethnic, OTC and some fringe segments like auto supplies. But I think our real strength is our buying power and the cost savings that comes with it. McLane has a great reputation. How does that impact its relationship with retailers? McLane’s solid leadership and financial foundation allow us to remain at the forefront of the industry and stay ahead of our customers needs’ which gives us a competitive advantage. Our approach to supply chain management has produced a world-class operation, from our state-of-the-art and highly automated infrastructure, logistics systems and fleet operations to custom technology applications, all of which combine to deliver greater productivity, efficiency and accuracy in serving our customers. But we would not be where we are today without our committed teammates. McLane’s teammate retention rate is over 92% and our friendly, professional drivers average more than 18 years of experience. McLane has a track record of best-in-class on-time delivery and better than 98% fill rate and maintains quality and safety—without compromise. We are looking forward to maintaining our great relationships with our current mass market customers as well as servicing the supply chain needs of new customers. McLane just celebrated our 120-year anniversary. We are grateful for our teammates, customers and suppliers who have supported us along the way and we are excited about the many years to come.