Woolworths CEO tells us what’s coming in 2019
WOOLWORTHS CEO Brad Banducci has answered five key questions about 2019 as part of annual survey of key business leaders.
Mr Banducci gave his responses last week to The Australian newspaper.
The top executives maintained that economic growth, a national energy policy and most of all long-term stability were the key agenda items, The Australian reports.
In the wake of the financial services royal commission, the survey revealed an almost religious devotion to customers as the route to prosperity for corporate Australia.
These were the five big questions:
- What should be the key issues in the next federal election campaign?
- What use are you making of customer and company data and how are you collecting it?
- What are the key challenges for your company next year?
- How can big business regain community trust?
- What cost pressures are hitting your company? How are they being offset and do you see any pressure to lift wages? If so, how much?
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What should be the key issues in the next federal election?
While there are a number of issues facing the nation currently, for us the cost of living pressures our customers are experiencing is a key focus area. As I mentioned last year, sustainability also remains a key issue for us. The phase out of single use plastic bags was only a first step and we all need to work together to deliver on the “circular economy” to ensure a more sustainable future for Australia.
What use are you making of customer and company data and how are you collecting it?
We are very clear that the core use for our customer data is to enhance how they interact with us and ensure the experiences they have are as frictionless and easy as possible. It’s also important that it is used to deliver personalised convenience, value and inspiration. In terms of our business data, the focus here is on improving underlying business processes and making things as simple as possible for our teams and also our supply partners in order to help serve our mutual customers better.
What are they key challenges for your company next year?
A key ongoing challenge is meeting our customers growing demand for convenience, both in terms of how they shop but also how they eat. We’ve come a long way in 2018 in terms of further improvements to our pick-up and delivery services, as well as the introduction of express delivery to a number of our supermarkets, but there is more work to do to continue to meet the changing needs of our customers in this space. The other big challenge is working hard to improve our key business processes to offset wage and input cost increases.
How can big business regain community trust?
In my view, “big business” needs to behave a lot more like “small business” and be focused on the specific needs of the local communities in which they operate. We are trying to do this via living our Group Purpose of “We Create Better Experiences Together” and our Food Purpose of “We Bring a Little Good to Everyone Every Day”. Trust is not a right, but is earned based both on what we do and also what we choose not to do.
What cost pressures are hitting your company? How are they being offset and do you see any pressure to lift wages and if so by how much?
We are in the process of increasing wages and this is a good thing. Team wellbeing is also a key focus and we break this down into physical safety, mental health and financial security. Outside of wages, we have also increased our team discount from five to 10% on our own brand products, increased paid parental leave from 6 to 12 weeks and we were the first retailer to introduce paid superannuation for up to 12 months for those on parental leave. We’re working hard to offset electricity cost pressures by being much more sustainable in our energy demand management and generation and are making good progress in this regard. For example by the end of FY19, we will have close to 100 stores with solar panels installed.