For retailers, supply chain optimization isn't just important, it's pivotal, a make-or-break task that often entails an entire team devoted to the job's execution. Its with this reality as a backdrop that the nation's second-largest pharmacy store franchise has appointed a new point person to head up the
company's supply chain optimization efforts.

Walgreens recently hired Colin Nelson to the position of global chief supply chain officer, a role that is a first for the wellness products, prescriptions and over-the-counter medicine chain, Supply Chain Dive reported.

Formerly serving as head of industrial operations for Bunge Global, a food processing and agribusiness headquartered in White Plains, New York, Nelson's main responsibility will be end-to-end supply chain optimization, Walgreens told Supply Chain Dive via email. Known as E2E for short, end-to-end supply chain management refers to each component of the chain seamlessly flowing to the next through enhanced interoperability.

Company acquired 1,600-plus Rites Aids in 2018
Walgreens has been in the news lately, as the company recently expanded its footprint in the pharmacy store retail space through the acquisition of over 1,600 Rite Aid locations. Perhaps in light of the chain's expansion, Walgreens has not only increased its hiring of store clerks and associates, but made moves in the front office as well. In a recent earnings call, Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina said the company made four executive hires earlier this year.

"We are acting quickly to address select areas of operational weakness with a number of senior appointments, choosing new talent with new ideas and new approaches to drive more rapid change in a number of areas of our business," Pessina explained. "We are also strengthening and refocusing our operational management to ensure the increased focus on driving operational excellence."

The newly appointed positions include a global controller and chief accounting officer. A chief digital officer and global chief marketing officer were also announced in early 2019.

As to the company's most recent appointment, that of global chief supply chain officer, a Walgreens spokesperson said the hire will serve as the foundational element to building a single global supply chain leadership team to help further improve day-to-day operations and provide more options for customers, whether in store, drive-thru or online.

Macy's hired supply chain officer in April
Walgreens is only the latest to enhance its focus on supply chain management through personnel moves. In April, Macy's hired its own chief supply chain officer. Dennis Mullahy, who formerly worked as executive vice president of supply chain management and IT at Michaels Stores, is charged with overseeing the product development and transportation process, including direct and indirect procurement, sustainability and supplier diversity.

"Dennis is an exceptional leader with more than 30 years of experience in retail operations and supply chain management," Lawton noted at the time in a press release. "I am confident that he is the right person to lead the newly formed supply chain organization at this pivotal time."
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