These positive prospects for e-commerce have encouraged marketers and traditional executives to join this booming industry. GrowSari, a technology-based B2B platform that helps over a million sari-sari stores in the Philippines, has proven to be a hub for global talent. GrowSari is a technology-based B2B platform that helps over 1 million sari-sari stores in the Philippines to achieve better level of service, assortment and access to new services, by equipping them with both the infrastructure and tools they need to transform from simple FMCG outlets to full service centers for local communities across the country. The three new leaders of GrowSAri come from some of the biggest companies in the world and are excited to strengthen and uplift the sari-sari store ecosystem.
Building the brandMaimai Madrid-Punzalan is GrowSari’s Director of Growth and Marketing. Prior to joining the platform, she was Marketing Manager for J&J Philippines and Regional Director of Baby Care in South East Asia for Johnson & Johnson. Her longest role has been at Procter & Gamble, where she was Senior Regional Director for Women’s Care in Asia. Madrid-Punzalan has also seen unprecedented growth as a sales manager in the Philippines for its beauty, personal care and home care categories. At GrowSari, the marketing veteran with 18 years of experience leads a team responsible for demand generation and growth and brand marketing for FMCG and e-Services. In her role, she hopes to foster customer growth so that sari-sari store owners can reap greater rewards. “Over 60% of buyers’ spending on fast moving consumer goods is in sari-sari stores and yet they are not enjoying the profits of wholesalers and larger retailers. We hope to improve the lives of over a million store owners and the families they serve through our platform, ”said Madrid-Punzalan.
Empower sari-sari stores
Sandeep Bhalla joins GrowSari as Senior Advisor to the Financial Services team. He has over 20 years of experience in consumer financial services and has built and managed income business units in retail banking; wealth management products; credit, debit and loan payments; and loyalty and rewards. By becoming a member of GrowSari, Bhalla will continue his expertise as a senior advisor to the Boston Consulting Group, a pioneer in business strategy. In his role, he advises on the strategy and implementation of financial institutions and consumer practices, focusing on financial technologies, risk management, digital transformation, etc. He also spent 15 years as Managing Director and Managing Director of Citibank sites in the United States, Singapore and India. Bhalla brings his expertise to GrowSari, where he leads the development efforts of the financial services vertical. “Financial inclusion is a key goal of the Philippine government. Sari-sari stores, although they occupy an important place in the Philippine economy, have been excluded from basic financial services by traditional banks. At Growsari, we see that we have the unique opportunity to build financial services capabilities for sari-sari stores and therefore integrate them into the mainstream of banking, ”he said.
The team is complemented by Leandro Alea, who joins GrowSari as operations manager. He has 25 years of experience under his belt, spanning end-to-end supply chain operations and practice. Under his leadership, he led manufacturing, demand planning and forecasting, inventory management, procurement services, strategic sourcing, global logistics, warehousing, fleet and transportation, and electronic commerce. Prior to GrowSari, Alea was the head of the supply chain at Lixil, which makes pioneering water and housing products. On site, the executive optimized the planning of deliveries and loading, resulting in a 43% improvement in the freight-to-sales ratio. He also calibrated the supply network, reducing the time between ordering and delivery from 10 to two days. Alea also spent years abroad, where he was the Logistics Team Leader at GCC Services in Kuwait. He managed the supply chain with a 100% delivery success rate. “Sari-sari stores play an important role in retailing in the Philippines and in the national economy. It is estimated that 84% of Filipinos buy products from them, which makes stores a valued member of any community. At GrowSari, we look forward to streamlining the process so store owners can earn more and enjoy better levels of service, ”said Alea.
Talent hotbedAttracting the best talent is part of GrowSari’s DNA. Reymund Rollan, co-founder and CEO of the platform, is also a veteran of some of the world’s biggest companies. Rollan began his career in Singapore, where he held various positions at P&G, including Senior Director for Consumer and Market Insight. He joined BCG as an expert consultant at the Center for Consumer and Customer Insight in South East Asia. This was followed by a stint at Unilever, where he led brand development for its ice cream business in Southeast Asia and Australasia. His vast experience in dealing with the sari-sari store distribution channel helped him to create and develop GrowSari. “GrowSari is able to empower and encourage sari-sari store owners to reach their full potential through the wide selection of affordable products, e-commerce and financial assistance offered by the platform. At the same time, we strive to improve the lives of store owners and the communities they serve. We want to make sure we are helping the whole sari-sari store ecosystem, so putting together the right team is necessary to do that, ”said Rollan.
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