Senior Category Manager - Cold & Packaged Beverage

The Wills Group in La Plata, MD

  • Type: Full Time
position filled
Dash In, a Wills Group Company is currently seeking a talented team member with a customer-service mindset to join our Retail Marketing Support division as a Senior Category Manager of Cold & Packaged Beverage.
Wills Group is a $1.5 billion company headquartered in La Plata, Maryland (just 45 mins from DC, with reverse commute) with nearly 300 retail locations across the Mid-Atlantic region, including Dash In, Splash In ECO Car Wash, and SMO Motor Fuels. A family-owned company since 1926, our passion areas are in convenience retailing, fuels marketing, and commercial real estate and we pride ourselves on keeping our customers', employees' and communities’ Lives in Motion.

At Dash In, we are dedicated to providing an elevated experience to all our guests. Our culture is built on the idea that we are all here to make a difference in the lives of the people around us. We focus on working with intense Integrity, a can-do, creative spirit, and a “team collaboration” centered approach.

At Dash In, our category managers play an integral role in building our business. The Senior Category Manager adds value to the team by organizing, directing, planning and controlling activities. This drives the team to ensure customer value, excellence in presentation, quality and consistency of product, innovation, productivity and ethical community and organization responsibility. Generally the time management required for success in this position is up to 30% field time and 70% administrative time.
This position requires a candidate that is an experienced, professional category manager with the ability to take our Packaged Beverage and Cold Dispensed categories to a whole new level. This position requires both a thorough understanding of the principles of retail category management as well as experience and expertise in establishing effective and productive processes for standardization of the organization. It also requires an acute understanding of the people side of the business that will ultimately drive successful execution at the site level. The successful candidate will be charismatic yet structured, analytical and data-driven.
At Dash In, the Senior Category Manager is expected to be or become an expert in the visual merchandising, pricing, marketing, planning, inventory control, and sales of their assigned categories. The Senior Category Manager will develop sound strategic and tactical business and promotional plans for their categories while working with vendors and all levels of Dash In management. They will ensure that products, promotions, and strategies developed for Dash In Food Stores represent the “brand” and are consistent with our corporate philosophy.
The Senior Category Manager reports directly to the Director of Food & Beverage Programs for evaluation of performance and direction of duties.
Key Accountabilities:
Negotiations: Lead contracts negotiations which may include development of national contract/rebate agreements, evaluate and introduce contract flexibility in new vendor set ups and contract renewals
Budget & Maintenance: Manage category budget and rebate process through vendor management of rebate programs and reconciliation of rebate allocation breakouts and tracking
Strategy Development & Analysis: Develop and integrate short and long term strategies and action plans to improve store performance through analyzing and tracking performance metrics: analyze pre/promotional metrics, sales, margins, inventory levels, and purchasing trends to maximize profitability in the category
Category Management: Manage category profitability while developing promotions and pricing strategies that support the short term and long-term category plans and uphold the brand philosophy.
Marketing & Communications: Develop communications at all levels from executive leadership to store level. Understand and communicate business results and recommend corrective actions as needed. Work closely with operations to ensure understanding and execution of packaged and dispensed marketing and merchandising offers at sites
Merchandising: Accountable for Dash In fixture format including layout and graphics, merchandising range/space and periodic resets
Supplier Management: Manage advanced reporting, auditing and vendor/supplier relationship building. Gather information from suppliers, manufacturers. and outside sources. With understanding of market dynamics, know how to read this information and respond to it accordingly to drive sales and profit. Apply category expertise and supplier relationship management to identify opportunities to create total cost savings above and beyond price reductions.

Bachelor’s degree in business, retailing, management, sales, or marketing is required.
Minimum 5 years category management experience required
Previous 3 year Packaged Beverage Category Management (Retail or Manufacturer), preferred
Strong office productivity software use experience (e.g., PowerPoint, Word, Outlook)

Specific higher level skills in Excel – using and creating pivot tables, using and creating formulas, etc…

Formal Category Management Training preferred (or willingness to obtain CPCA level or better certification)

Familiarity with Power BI, Tableau, Nielsen/IRI/SwiftIQ, and other analytical tools/suppliers are strongly desired.

Strategic, yet detail-oriented
Demonstrated priority management skills with the ability to manage complex projects and tight deadlines
Acute attention to detail
Demonstrated strong leadership and critical thinking skills.
Proven mathematical and analytical background
Ability to interpret and analyze data, then use this insight to develop strategies and tactics
Track record of successful negotiations and correcting sub-optimal situations with business partners.
Ability to multi-task and to work with a high degree of ambiguity in a fast-paced business environment.
Ability to lead others – both directly and indirectly
Ability to create business plans and achieve results via development and successful execution of strategic plans, annual plans, budgets, forecasts, promotions, marketing calendars, and other business-driving plans and tactics.

Oral Communication: Facilitative communication style. Makes clear and convincing oral presentations. Listens effectively; clarifies information as needed. Fosters ongoing collaboration and communication.
Written Communication: Writes in a clear, concise, organized, and convincing manner for the intended audience.
Problem Solving: Identifies and analyzes problems; weighs relevance and accuracy of information; generates and evaluates alternative solutions; makes well-informed, effective, and timely decisions.
Creativity / Innovation: Develops new insights into situations; questions conventional approaches; encourages new ideas and innovations; designs and implements new or cutting edge programs/processes.
Strategic Thinking: Formulates objectives and priorities, and implements plans consistent with the long-term interest of the organization in a global environment, Capitalizes on opportunities and manages risks.
Team Building: Inspires and fosters team commitment, spirit, pride, and trust. Facilitates cooperation and motivates team members at all levels of the organization to accomplish group goals. Foster ongoing collaboration and communication.
External Awareness: Understands and keeps up-to-date on local, national, and international policies and trends in their assigned categories

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