Executive Briefings

A Small Business Copes With Supply Chain Growth

Maverik is a chain of convenience stores that is currently in an aggressive growth mode. Procurement manager Bart Ward tells how the company is handling the transition, and adjusting its supply chain accordingly.

Maverik is a chain of approximately 260 convenience stores with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is growing rapidly, at between 15 and 25 new stores a year, and Ward expects that pace to continue over the coming five years. "We see a really big open market," he says.

For most of its life, the business operated with the aid of spreadsheets. Five years ago, it implemented a formal procurement effort, to improve fulfillment accuracy in the face of growth and a wider product mix. Today, procurement decisions, including inventory and product mix, are made at the corporate level.

One difficulty is the high number of proprietary products, creating challenges as to how to get trucks from Salt Lake City to outlying areas. Maverik's private brand includes a mix of about 15 products, which perform about as well as their branded competition.

Expansion of the store network meant the company needed to broaden its base of suppliers. "There’s always the issue of finding a supplier that can supply all you need at one time," says Ward. "We have to have a quick turn time on any product." New items need to get to market within 30 days of development, necessitating a search for secondary sources.

Maverik continues to rely to an extent on spreadsheets, a state of affairs that Ward is determined to change. "We need to look at technology to carry us forward," he says. A new chief information officer is currently figuring out how to make the company’s homegrown systems more functional.

To view the video in its entirety, click here

Maverik is a chain of approximately 260 convenience stores with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is growing rapidly, at between 15 and 25 new stores a year, and Ward expects that pace to continue over the coming five years. "We see a really big open market," he says.

For most of its life, the business operated with the aid of spreadsheets. Five years ago, it implemented a formal procurement effort, to improve fulfillment accuracy in the face of growth and a wider product mix. Today, procurement decisions, including inventory and product mix, are made at the corporate level.

One difficulty is the high number of proprietary products, creating challenges as to how to get trucks from Salt Lake City to outlying areas. Maverik's private brand includes a mix of about 15 products, which perform about as well as their branded competition.

Expansion of the store network meant the company needed to broaden its base of suppliers. "There’s always the issue of finding a supplier that can supply all you need at one time," says Ward. "We have to have a quick turn time on any product." New items need to get to market within 30 days of development, necessitating a search for secondary sources.

Maverik continues to rely to an extent on spreadsheets, a state of affairs that Ward is determined to change. "We need to look at technology to carry us forward," he says. A new chief information officer is currently figuring out how to make the company’s homegrown systems more functional.

To view the video in its entirety, click here