Defense Commissary Agency

1300 E Ave., Fort Lee, Virginia 23801-1800
Tel: (804) 734-8134 DSN 687-8134
FAX: (804) 734-8248 DSN 687-8248

Release Number: 49-96
Date: SEPT. 11, 1996
Contact:Bonnie Powell, DeCA Public Affairs Specialist
or Carole Fowler, Southern Region Public Affairs Director
(334) 953-3992

Sales Increases to be Rewarded with Cash

On Oct. 1, the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) is slated to become a performance based operation (PBO). On Oct. 1, the rewards begin.

"We're offering incentives to get employees even more excited about doing their jobs," Southern Region Director Chet Boutelle announced today. He is setting goals and offering cash performance rewards for commissary employees that meet - and exceed - the goals.

As one of eight government agencies selected to become a PBO, DeCA will begin to adopt some characteristics of private-sector companies, including obtaining special waivers that will allow it to operate more efficiently.

In keeping with PBO, the new incentive awards program in Southern Region will mirror what private industry is already doing, says Boutelle. "We're instituting a program paralleling what the grocery industry does as far as giving managers and employees more incentive to sell product." Southern Region stores will compete against each other, produce managers against produce managers and so on.

In the past, commissary officers in DeCA have been able to offer "time off" spot rewards for performance. For example, cashiers at Goodfellow Air Force Base commissary can get a day off whenever they check $10,000 in groceries.

Trophies and time off are wonderful, says Boutelle, but his incentive awards program has cold, hard cash at stake. "We think this will instill a sense of competitiveness and make it fun. But our main objective is to see what we can do to increase sales and give our customers the very best," says Boutelle. "The DeCA Director (Maj. Gen. Richard E. Beale, Jr.) and CEO (Charles M. Wiker) have given the plan their approval. I'm grateful that they see this as being in keeping with the PBO concept."

"We're trying to create the spark that will light a bonfire in our region," says Boutelle. The "spark" includes cash bonuses for the highest percentage of increased sales in Southern Region including the produce, meat and grocery departments as well as total store increases. The quarterly awards are $250 in each of the region's zones including overseas commissaries. The awards go to the managers of winning departments and they have the option of splitting it with department employees. Yearly awards for overall performance amount to $1,000. "Private industry does this all the time," says Boutelle. "It's a way for all employees to share in the rewards of performance."

The criteria for receiving an incentive award is largely based on percentage of increase in sales, but other factors are also considered. The region director, deputy director and zone managers will make the final decisions.

Product promotions will be increasingly key to selling more product and getting the best prices for customers, says Boutelle. Truckload sales of groceries and produce in Southern Region this summer contributed to record one-day sales in several commissaries including Eglin Air Force Base Commissary, Florida, and Gunter Commissary, Montgomery, Alabama.

"We're charged with accomplishing a lot of exciting things," says Southern Region Commissary Managment Specialist Ken Honn. "And the end result is to take care of the customers."

Boutelle feels excitement in the stores is one of the main reasons for the increased sales during promotions. "Excitement is contagious," he says. "If we get everyone as excited as we are, it spreads throughout the installations and military members we serve." Ultimately, Boutelle hopes the excitement created through special promotions and marketing will also bring in military members who are not currently taking advantage of their commissary privileges. "We want to show them how valuable this part of their non-pay package can be."

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