PROFILE

Mohamed Amer

Independent Board Member, Investor and Startup Advisor

Living in Southern California, Mohamed is keen on applying his corporate and entrepreneurial executive leadership across strategy, technology, and communications in the service of progressive boards of directors, c-suites, and startup companies.

Building teams and driving results spanning multiple industry sectors and domains, Mohamed brings successful experience in public and private sectors across mission-critical operational, supply chain, strategy, communications, and technology roles.  He is a highly trusted coach and advisor for senior executives and entrepreneurs in the technology and consumer-facing industries.

During his tenure at SAP, Mohamed held several senior roles that included leading the solution footprint, M&A, and go-to-market strategy for the global grocery business, and developing the future supply chain product area for retail. While leading the Retail Business Unit in the Americas, he supported business development, key customer implementations, and strategic relationships as well as managing key user groups and executive customer councils. He also led internal and external communication roles across multiple sectors and most recently having responsibility for executive communications in SAP’s Office of the Co-Presidents.

Prior to SAP, Mohamed was co-founder and President of NEXstep, an Internet supply chain software startup which was acquired by Viewlocity.  He also held leadership positions in the retail management consultancy, Kurt Salmon Associates (acquired by Accenture) with extensive Retail and CPG client engagements as well as general management roles in the office products industry at Boise Cascade and Buhrmann-Tetterode.

Mohamed held a commission with the United States Navy (Lieutenant Commander – naval aviation and naval intelligence). Mohamed holds a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University; in addition, he has earned an MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and an M.A. in National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

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  • Posted on: 10/19/2020

    Should local book stores be taking on Amazon?

    For indie booksellers, the pandemic turned a bad situation into a dire one. With their backs to the wall, they must resort to the guilting of consumers. Will it work? Maybe over the short term, but changing people’s purchase behavior is difficult, and the impact rarely satisfies our desired timeline, if at all. There will be a bump up in local book sales once a vaccine is widely distributed, but for some indie booksellers, it will be too late. There is a community and social need for indie booksellers, but today’s economics make survival a harrowing and uncertain journey. The answer lies in the reinvention of the experience and the changing of the consumer’s perceived value vis-a-vis Amazon. That requires applying advanced technology (even algorithms) to create consumer relevancy and integrated creative online and in-store programs. The ABA can pursue more favorable terms with book publishers and create or support indie booksellers’ efforts for an improved frictionless online platform. Finally, spend more effort marketing the strengths of a community-based store that address local consumer needs instead of calling out the big bully to which most people have become addicted.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2020

    Macy’s is turning stores dark for the holidays

    What we are seeing is traditional silos - both physical and functional - between sales activities and distribution and fulfillment operations, dissolve in the face of changing consumer purchase behavior. Instead of thinking in line-item accounting terms and functional roles, retailers and other consumer-facing companies are reworking their sales and fulfillment networks. They are transforming these to systems of higher value delivery for their customers while creatively addressing demand uncertainty in this unique retail holiday shopping season.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2020

    What’s behind the Amazon/SpartanNash deal?

    Amazon’s stake in SpartanNash delivers on two critical dimensions of the company’s food strategy. It ensures Amazon has an outsized influence on SpartanNash’s future, from the soundness of its balance sheet to independence from Amazon’s competitors. Additionally, the partnership increases Amazon’s flexibility and range of strategic options. It develops a defensible growth strategy in the grocery sector that combines its native technological edge and massive consumer data with a seasoned physical operation that exposes grocery’s complexity beyond the immediate Whole Foods experience.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2020

    NYC startup promises 15-minute grocery delivery

    Audacious claims are what gets a business attention. Delivering on those claims is how you earn repeat customers or go home early. No one "needs" 15-minute grocery delivery until they do. The app is easy to navigate, and the images are crisp. The cart and payment are straightforward. The prices seem high, but I don’t shop in Brooklyn, so I cannot judge that magnitude. Bravo for having the fortitude to make the 15-minute claim. My advice, stick to a limited assortment (no need for 3,000 items), do not expand the delivery area, scale only after working out the kinks — from assortment to sourcing and pricing, to driver management and logistics. Apply as much advanced analytics as you can to understand your customers well. Experts are quick to tell you why your claim is ridiculous or ludicrous, but change only happens by unreasonable minds unsatisfied with the status quo. Fridge No More’s success turns on the ability to execute on its audacious claim. Good luck, and keep pushing!
  • Posted on: 10/08/2020

    Amazon rolls out virtual vacation tours that include shopping

    Amazon Explore is the next best option to being there without the cost or current hassle of travel. The program takes advantage of our increasing use of video connections and the love of discovering the unique. The concept has legs and reminds me of a much more personalized version of the growing virtual museum tours. Expect others to mimic this as Amazon sets the expectations.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2020

    Apple removes other brand audio products from its store shelves

    Apple stores are a controlled environment of products and services that reflect the brand’s value and image. Apple enthusiasts seek the stores because of the focus on everything Apple. Timed with the expected new iPhone 12 and rumored high-end over-the-ear headphones (Airpods Studio), removing other brands’ audio products makes sense for Apple and their in-store customers.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2020

    Are bookkeeping systems ruining retailers’ ability to serve customers?

    Absolutely! Traditional accounting is designed to track and report on business units’ financial performance against established KPIs. Allocating costs and understanding the long-term impact of fixed, variable, and semi-variable costs are difficult and even misleading. This challenge has become exaggerated in an omnichannel environment where stores are distribution points, curbside is a pickup point, with websites and apps as storefronts. Flexibility in the system and network design have leapfrogged arcane accounting rules and thinking, which remain linked to compensation and incentives.
  • Posted on: 09/30/2020

    Will same-day deliveries be a difference maker for Bed Bath & Beyond?

    Same day delivery, in itself, is not a destination, but a marker along the road that signals to the market and customer that Bed Bath & Beyond is relevant in today’s retailing landscape. As Mark mentioned, this is about catching up and not standing out.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2020

    Are Amazon Prime delivery shoppers disrupting Whole Foods’ stores?

    Indeed. The physical store layout needs to evolve with today's shopping reality.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2020

    Are Amazon Prime delivery shoppers disrupting Whole Foods’ stores?

    Let’s not misplace the blame here. Internal and third-party pick and pack personnel reflect an actual shopper that would have been in the store anyways but has chosen to order online. In actuality, these personnel reduce the potential number of physical shoppers that could have been in those aisles since they are picking multiple orders. Grocery retailers need to rethink their stores and consider dark stores, access to warehouses, and so on. As Suresh mentioned, we can expect store layout and process changes to support these new purchase behaviors.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2020

    Did CDC’s announcement boost retail’s online sales prospects for Christmas?

    The CDC announcement is a non-event. As previously discussed here, many retailers are preparing for earlier holiday sales and maintaining a safe shopping environment. The wild cards include the timing, sites, and pace of a second COVID-19 wave, the severity of the flu season, and consumers' frustrations with restrictions on their favorite seasonal activity: shopping for deals. Many will opt for ordering online, and let’s see if the delivery networks can handle the record number of deliveries this holiday season.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2020

    Will curbside pickup be Costco’s Achilles heel?

    No argument that Costco is one of the strongest retail brands and has done exceptionally well. I would simply advise them to reconsider how they can tap into this growth opportunity without risking their existing model. It can be a more significant win-win than they realize.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2020

    Can retailers drive climate change action?

    The corporate governance model is morphing beyond pure financial outcomes to broad measures of economic wellness that encompass the environment. The underlying goal remains: to have a thriving enterprise that rewards investors and stakeholders. Over the long term, doing well and doing good can be mutually reinforcing. Bravo to these brands and leaders; they demonstrate the foresight and determination necessary to lead the retail and consumer products industry.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2020

    Walmart has changes in-store as the holidays near

    The longer we live with the pandemic, the more we begin to normalize its presence and ignore the behavioral cues that go along with it, like adherence to one-way aisle signs and the six-foot rule. However the obvious physical cues of masks are sufficiently obvious not to miss. So I only have one word of caution for retailers this holiday season; control crowds, or there may be unintended consequences of a Walmart or a Target, etc. being a site of super virus spreading. Those consumers that can plan and afford to shop online will avoid the stores whenever possible. This holiday season will be like none we’ve lived through before.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2020

    Will curbside pickup be Costco’s Achilles heel?

    Once more, retailers need to think about curbside pickup the way the drive-thru model added convenience and boosted sales for quick-serve restaurants. Costco needs to redesign the significant space around their store real estate to tap a growth stream triggered by a pandemic but that is here to stay.

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