Ukrop's Super Markets are refreshingly down to earth in an age of mega superstore chains.With more than 29 stores in central Virginia, this family-owned business still adheres to founder Joe Ukrop's guiding principles of providing good products, outstanding value and friendly and helpful service.
True to these values, the stores close at 10 p.m., don't open Sundays and don't sell alcohol. Ukrop's is very active in the community, investing a minimum of 10 percent of its pre-tax profits into community activities.
The retailer was a pioneer in both loyalty marketing and meal solutions when it launched its Valued Customer® program in 1987. Today, nearly 90 percent of Ukrop's shoppers carry the Ukrop's Valued Customer Card, and Ukrop's market share approaches 40 percent – even as it faces stiff competition that includes some of the largest national chains.
Besides grocery stores, the company runs a manufacturing business and transportation division. First Market Bank has branches in most Ukrop's stores and participates in a co-loyalty program with them.
Ukrop's is regularly listed as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America, as rated by Fortune magazine and the Great Places to Work Institute. Employee turnover is low and personal satisfaction is reflected by its team of customer-oriented associates.
Today's highly competitive retail environment means grocers operate on razor-thin margins. To increase customer value and maximize profitability, Ukrop's must make informed purchasing, pricing and promotional decisions. In addition, this progressive retailer must understand customer behavior and preferences better than its competition.
In 2001, Chellam Manickam, Ukrop's vice president of information technology, noticed a serious barrier standing between Ukrop's and its vision. "Too many data sources were creating multiple versions of the truth." At the time, the company was attempting to maintain five separate data marts. Rather than effectively using data, Ukrop's employees were spending much of their time cross-checking and validating results. "It was clear to me that Ukrop's needed one central data repository – an enterprise data warehouse," recalls Manickam.
Through this new architecture, the company could improve data accuracy, gain faster access to relevant information and reduce system administration expense. In addition, Manickam planned to use this integration initiative to refine business processes and improve corporatewide accountability.
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