Editor’s Note: This release was edited by Larry Lapka
DeCA Sets Vision To Be Military’s ‘Grocer of Choice’ • FORT LEE
On Dec. 2 and 3, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) leadership came together to create a new vision for the agency and refine the mission and direction for 2021 and beyond.
Looking forward to the future and using lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said its new vision will embrace ways to better serve the military community in line with Department of Defense (DoD) direction.
DeCA has identified the need to improve its long-term revenue trend and, by implementing the new vision, it will be able to make the strategic changes required to sustain the slight increase in sales seen in 2020, primarily attributed to the pandemic-buying in March and April.
“2020 was a challenging year, and the pandemic reinforced the commissaries’ critical mission in delivering to our customers the essential items they wanted and needed,” said Bill Moore, DeCA director and chief executive officer (CEO). “Moving forward, and using what we have learned, we will work with our industry partners to ensure we have a steady distribution of product and the personnel available to get these items on the shelves, meeting the needs of our deserving patrons in more convenient ways.”
The commissaries’ updated mission statement is to “deliver a vital benefit of the military pay system that provides grocery items at a significant savings in order to enhance quality of life and readiness.”
This mission statement focuses on the agency delivering congressionally mandated annual patron savings of 23.7 percent or more, and DeCA leaders discussed several potential initiatives to ensure this savings goal is met.
“Our mission statement and vision were outdated compared to where the industry is going and where our agency needs to go, so we got together as leaders and developed a better focus that takes us into 2021 and beyond, and also leverages advancements in delivering the benefit,” Moore said.
DeCA’s new vision is “to be the grocery provider of choice for eligible patrons, delivering a vital benefit exclusively for the military community and their families.”
This vision reaffirms the agency’s commitment to superior customer service and providing the items patrons want and need at the best price, he added.
PRIORITY FOCUS AREAS
To achieve this vision, the agency established priority focus areas for improving the way it delivers the benefit.
Some of those areas include the following:
• Increasing sales, as DeCA saus it owes it to its customers to deliver an efficient and effective commissary shopping experience
• Expanding patronage by educating and conducting outreach events to get more of the newest eligible patrons — first term troops and younger service members along with disabled veterans — into the stores
• Valuing customer feedback by responding to comments provided on the annual Commissary Customer Service Survey (CCSS) and ForeSee customer feedback tool to determine what attracts and maintains new customers
• Adding e-commerce options such as expanding CLICK2GO curbside service to more locations and accepting online payments are among the ways DeCA is looking to make shopping more convenient
• Improving the supply chain by increasing DeCA’s order fill rates and bettering the agency’s relationship with its suppliers and distributors to ensure commissary customers have what they want, when they want it
Also, as part of this refocusing process, DeCA refined its values, emphasizing a greater focus on trust and treating all with dignity and respect.
“Overall, our overriding goal for 2021 and beyond is to ensure every eligible patron has the opportunity to enjoy the benefit,” Moore said. “This goal will be the basis of our corporate push to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our commissary operations.
“We will lean forward to achieve our future goals, while ensuring an agency culture, focused on our deserving patrons,” he noted.
Edited by Larry Lapka
Tiara Edwards loads groceries in the vehicle of a customer using the Fort Lee, Va., Commissary’s CLICK2GO online ordering.curbside delivery services, CLICK2GO is among the services that are a key part of DeCA’s future focus.
Photo: Rick Brink, DeCA