AACS partners with The Commercial Academy to upskill the industry

The Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has partnered with Hexis Quadrant, to form The Commercial Academy for AACS, and bring bespoke commercial training to retailers and suppliers in the convenience sector.

The partnership was announced at last week’s AACS Connect 23 Summit in Melbourne and has already generated a great deal of interest within the industry from suppliers and retailers alike.

Through the partnership, AACS members will have access to a range of unique, industry-specific training programs designed to help improve operational efficiency, drive growth, and achieve business goals.

Theo Foukkare, CEO, AACS, explained the reason why he feels The Commercial Academy for AACS will become a vital resource for the convenience industry.

“Through discussions with retailers and suppliers, it quickly became apparent that a lot of the training programs available are very expensive and in a lot of cases, only available to the larger multinational organisations.

“AACS is striving to provide all members, irrelevant of size, access to affordable high-quality learning and development modules to upskill the convenience industry’s commercial capabilities.

“I personally am very excited to be working with Nick and the Hexis Quadrant team in striving to achieve these objectives,” he says.

The Commercial Academy has been developed to provide bespoke training courses for businesses across Asia, Europe and in Australia, with more than 400 educational modules available. Modules are pieced together to build the specific learning journey that is required for a client or industry.

Nick Hogendijk, Managing Director of Hexis Quadrant, which facilitates The Commercial Academy, explained that the programs are workshop oriented, rather than being purely theoretical, and participants walk away with real practical skills that they can take back to their roles and implement immediately.

The modules that The Commercial Academy for AACS is launching with, were designed in collaboration between AACS CEO Theo Foukkare, and the team at The Commercial Academy, to address specific skills gaps that were identified within the convenience industry.

“We have seven programs listed on the exclusive AACS portal right now, and if any member of AACS wants to have a bespoke program created, then they can reach out to us directly and we will work with them to build the program that they specifically need,” says Hogendijk.

“The idea of designing those seven programs was based on an assessment of the capability across the industry in conjunction with Theo, to build a set of predefined courses that we believe address those skills gaps,” he says.

The courses will be held in an open format, with dates already set for both Melbourne and Sydney. But AACS members can also reach out to arrange any bespoke training courses that they require.

Hogendijk explained that the program will be very fluid, in that The Commercial Academy is committed to continuously evolving in line with the industry’s needs.

“In terms of from a retail side, this is about understanding how to operate your business in a more structured and strategic way to optimise your performance in a highly competitive marketplace,” he explains.

“The market continues to become more and more diverse. It’s about making sure you’ve got the right processes and skill sets within your procurement and merchandise teams, to be able to engage with suppliers and customers on a daily basis to win in the marketplace and beat your competition.

“And from a supplier side it’s about providing the right level of commercial acumen at a selling and negotiation level, at a customer management and planning level, and at a revenue management level to ensure you and your team have the appropriate level of commercial acumen for every customer engagement.

“So, there are three primary buckets for suppliers that we want to get right first in what is effectively the foundation here at The Commercial Academy for AACS. Our challenge is to ensure every person has the right skills and the right baseline for everyone to try and bring the industry, both as retailers and suppliers, to be operating at a higher standard.”

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