Kmart As Vendor Advocate

Nov 14, 2002
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Every CPG manufacturer seems to have a horror story connected with doing business with a retailer. Complaints, and there are many, range from take it or leave it pricing demands to unauthorized deductions to the questionable return of unsaleables and more.

So, who looks out for the vendor?

If you work at Kmart, you are either Bob House or one of his team, says a Tom Walsh column in The Detroit Free Press.

Mr. House is “the point man for communicating with the vendors caught in the gears of the Kmart (Chapter 11 bankruptcy) drama.” As Kmart’s vice president/voice of the vendor, Mr. House is responsible for communicating the retailer’s strategy to suppliers, improving collaborative relations and sorting out contentious issues.

Mr. House’ team is charged with answering vendor e-mails and phone calls. He told the Free Press that Kmart receives 3,000 emails a week from vendors. According to Mr. House, everyone gets a same day response.

Moderator’s Comment: What’s your take on Kmart’s “Voice
of the Vendor” and the general state of trade relations in retailing today?

Kmart has taken its hits over the way they dealt with
vendors up to the retailer filing for Chapter 11. We look forward to finding
out if the “Voice of the Vendor” will still be heard should Kmart successfully
emerge from bankruptcy. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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