We’re On It
BY SUKHI SANDHU, NCASEF CHAIRMAN
The job of NCASEF Chairman comes with a lot of responsibilities. It involves such tasks as running the day-to-day administrative business of the organization, putting committees together and then working with those committees to achieve our goals, meeting with vendors, and lots of traveling to attend meetings with SEI and FOA leaders, as well as regional events like trade shows, golf tournaments, and board meetings. It also involves talking—but more importantly, listening—to franchisees very closely.
Since taking office in January I’ve spoken to many of you face-to-face, not to mention via text messages, phone, and emails. I also have regular phone calls with FOA leaders to gain a better sense of local issues. Whether it’s net income being impacted because of operational expenses increasing at the highest rate ever, staffing issues that include having to bear the market prevailing wages—which is above $15 an hour in many parts of the country, maintenance issues like equipment being down for a number of days because service providers are waiting on parts, the A/R Gap, or supply chain issues, I am intimately aware of all the challenges we are facing right now.
It may seem like there isn’t much progress being made, or quickly enough, to resolve these issues but I can assure you that I and the NCASEF officers and Board members are on top of matters. One of our goals is to improve store profitability and the financial health of all stakeholders, and we know that addressing the issues is key to achieving that objective. To find solutions to our systemic issues we regularly engage and communicate with SEI upper management, our vendor partners, and service providers, and those conversations are ongoing.
The NCASEF head table and Board members have formed committees to address specific issues—such as the Facility Maintenance, Accounting and Finance, Logistics and Simplification, and Digital/IT committees—and they have been working collectively with SEI leadership to find solutions to specific problems. You can read the update reports presented by our committees during our Board meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona in this issue of Avanti to get a better understanding of where we stand on certain resolutions.
With dialogue and diplomacy, we’ve been able to make headway on several issues since January, like convincing SEI to write off $35 million+ in A/R Gap discrepancies, suspending 7-Clean and CEV for the rest of the year, and being part of the conversation to get the Recommended Vendor Purchase Requirement penalty suspended because of supply chain issues. More recently, we’ve worked with SEI to give low-volume stores more financial support. SEI has agreed to another $15 million in incremental annual support to franchised stores with a gross income of less than $240,000—a threshold, by the way, that was increased from $200,000. We’re also working with SEI on a maintenance program and Check-In Simplification process, and we’re in continuous discussion with SEI about ASI 2, the gasoline commission, the franchise agreement, certain other expense lines, and the long-term agreement/financial viability of franchisees’ bottom lines.
I’m confident that by the end of this year we will have made more progress in resolving some of our more pressing issues. As we continue our work, I want you all to know that you may contact me directly via phone, text or email if you have any concerns specific to your store or area, or if you have any questions or comments. My contact information is below.
On another note, I hope to see you all at our 46th Annual Convention and Trade Show at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, August 7-10. Our Convention Committee has worked hard to bring you a full agenda of business and fun—from seminars with the NCASEF officers, our General Counsel Eric Karp, and invited SEI representatives, to a sunset dinner cruise on the Potomac and entertainment featuring famous performing artist all the way from India, Yo Yo Honey Singh.
We also have a charity golf outing to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at the Westfields Golf Club, and Washington, D.C. city tours you can sign up for, if you prefer. Then there’s the two-day trade show featuring the best products and deals our vendors have to offer. We’re expecting a record number of exhibitors this year with an impressive amount of items to fill your store shelves, so come ready to place orders on the spot.
So make plans to spend time with your fellow franchisees and our vendor partners, meet your NCASEF and FOA leaders, get the latest 7-Eleven news and updates, and have fun with your family. Please visit www. NCASEF.com for more information and to register.