WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Charles Jarrett joined Cumberland Farms Inc. two years ago when the Westborough-based convenience store retailer found itself in need of a technology overhaul. As the chain's senior vice president and chief information officer, he led a team that made that happen — and that's one of the reason’s he is Convenience Store News' 2018 Technology Leader of the Year.
Thinking back on his time with Cumberland Farms, Jarrett is most proud of what "The Cumberland Team" managed to accomplish in the first year of his tenure.
"Both our POS [point-of-sale] hardware and software were end of life; our legacy warehouse management system and retail accounting functions were running on a 100 percent customized mainframe platform for which support was to be unavailable after 2018," Jarrett recalled. "The Cumberland Team rallied to implement these systems in about 12 months. It was really remarkable what the various departments were able to accomplish together."
If not for the shared commitment of those around him to Cumberland Farms’ values — particularly "Succeed Together" and "Own It" — such successes wouldn’t have been possible, according to Jarrett.
The culture at Cumberland Farms is something he believes makes for a unique experience that lends itself to the impressive accomplishments he’s overseen.
"I’ve seen other organizations treat their values like window dressing; that’s not the case here at Cumberland," he said. "Across the board, the teams have been phenomenal to work with. We acknowledged, collectively, what needed to be done, and everyone worked together toward that end. No question about it."
A Smart Play With SmartPay
Cumberland Farms’ recent technology initiatives include the relaunch of its SmartPay application, which not only gives users 10 cents off every gallon of gas, but also enables them to earn credits toward free beverages, receive free offers, and join sandwich and pizza clubs.
Although the retailer’s original loyalty program app had a high rate of consumer adoption, the reviews for it were less than stellar, and the "underlying platform had become less stable and the user interface a little stale," Jarrett acknowledged.