When Singapore raised its disease outbreak response level from yellow to orange on Feb 7, shoppers flocked to supermarkets island-wide, stockpiling daily essentials such as toilet paper and rice.
FairPrice responded swiftly, working closely with its suppliers and partners to triple the volume of daily essentials being sent to its stores, double up on delivery trips, and keep prices of daily essentials stable to deter profiteering.
This would not have been possible without the supermarket chain's strong relationships with its extensive network of suppliers and partners.
Even before the advent of Covid-19, such strong collaborations were already forged.
These ironclad ties have led to the successful launch of a 90,000 sq ft FairPrice Xtra hypermart and pharmacy outlet at VivoCity last year, which stocks more than 35,000 products.
FairPrice has been honouring its exemplary strategic partners since 2014, through the FairPrice Partners Excellence Awards (FPEA) event.
"We want to commend and recognise [our partners] for delivering [their] quality services and products. [Their] growth is our growth. May we always work closely together and collaborate more, so that we can continue to provide the best to our customers," says FairPrice Group CEO Seah Kian Peng.
This year's FPEA saw the addition of three new categories - Top Business Partner Award, Top Brand Excellence Award and Top Supplier Category Award - in addition to the existing Top SME Award and CSR Award.
Among 150 award winners are many homegrown small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), notes FairPrice Group chief procurement officer Tng Ah Yiam.
Despite 2020's challenges, the FPEA selection criteria remains unchanged. Exceptional sales results with remarkable sales growth, as well as consistent quality assurance and philosophy are still important measures.
Other factors include contribution to top category sales, significant market share progression, providing strong partnership support, and having a high level of customer centricity, which is aligned with FairPrice's own goals.
Collaboration for good
Beyond business, FairPrice regularly joins hands with its partners to give back to the community.
For the sixth year running, Cheers, FairPrice Foundation and Yeo Hiap Seng (YHS) pledged $0.20 for each purchase of Yeo's beverages at Cheers and FairPrice Xpress stores island-wide from Aug 1 to Sept 15, 2019. A total of $20,000 was raised and donated to registered not-for-profit charity organisation TOUCH Community Services.
A longtime strategic partner of FairPrice, YHS clinched two awards - Top Brand Excellence and CSR in this year's FPEA.
Another key partner honoured this year is F&N Foods, which swept awards in four categories - Top Business Partner, Top Brand Excellence, Top Supplier Category and CSR. As a leading player in Singapore's food and beverage arena with a strong emphasis on healthy enjoyment, F&N Foods and FairPrice are committed to stocking shelves with clearly labelled Healthier Choice products for consumers' benefit.
Says F&N Foods managing director Jennifer See: "It's been great working with FairPrice, our like-minded, trusted and valued partner. Together, we have forged new frontiers and worked on innovation projects like driving healthier choices. F&N is committed to deepening its partnership with FairPrice, and we look forward to growing the business together."
Today, there are more than 1,700 Healthier Choice Symbol products available at FairPrice.
Making room for growth
As a staunch supporter of home-grown SMEs, FairPrice regularly promotes their products through in-store fairs and marketing materials. It also spearheads the SME Suppliers Support and Development Programme (SSDP), launched in 2009 to help local SME partners overcome restructuring and financial challenges, and gain wider opportunities for business growth.
About $1 million is spent annually on the SSDP initiative although this year, FairPrice pledged twice the amount. So far, over 400 SME suppliers have benefitted. Today, 30 per cent of the local food products at FairPrice stores are sourced from SMEs.
There is also strong rapport between FairPrice and international names, such as Nestlé Singapore, which won in three categories - Top Business Partner Award, Top Brand Excellence Award, and Top Supplier Category Award.
Mr Rajiv Deraniyagala, managing director of Nestlé Singapore, sees the two firms working closely for years to come.
He says: "Nestlé and FairPrice have been working on a lot of initiatives. We have a strong partnership really, which cascades all the way across the organisation. We would like to continue to drive this innovation agenda together with FairPrice."
Beyond recognition for its partners, FairPrice has extended its campaign to another key group of stakeholders - its customers.
From Sept 17 to Oct 14, shoppers can enjoy weekly deals on quality products from FPEA 2020 winners both in FairPrice stores and online. Happy shopping!