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Glenn Allison is in constant motion. As head of Tractor Supply’s enterprise architecture and IT solution delivery, he steers a technology enterprise that includes over 1,600 retail stores throughout the US, with plans to add 100 new stores this year alone. A Chicago native, Allison moved here two years ago to join one of Nashville’s largest publicly traded companies and was named a 2016 Nashville Business Journal 40 under 40 awardee. He has run multiple marathons and, despite his workload, is actively involved in a range of leadership roles to support Nashville’s technology community.
The technology infrastructure Allison steers for Tractor Supply is just as nimble. At a time when most large retailers are struggling to survive, the 79-year-old rural lifestyle retailer is investing in new capabilities to drive business growth. “Customers have a choice, so we need to create a unique experience for them. Our IT infrastructure is a big part of delivering on the level of customization our customers have come to expect,” says Allison.
To make sure they have the digital capabilities to support customers now and in the future, Tractor Supply diligently invests in new technology. Driving Innovation with Technology is an innovative data center strategy the Company launched to improve systems reliability and performance, as well as improve the Company’s agility with delivery. The strategy incorporates the use of webscale technology similar to technology Facebook and Google use to deliver services.
The Company is recognized for its customer-centric approach to supply chain management and was an early adopter of services such as in-store pickup of items ordered online. “Whether our customers are shopping online, on the phone, or in-store, we want them to have a fully integrated, seamless experience, and that means giving them plenty of options on how we fulfill their orders,” says Allison.
Other technology-driven innovations to enhance the store experience include in-store kiosks, called The Stockyard. If a desired item is not in stock, The Stockyard navigates the customer to a solution that is same-day or within a few days. Team members on the sales floor are also equipped with mobile technology to help customers check out, navigate the store, and find product information.
Allison’s take on the future of Nashville’s technology industry is up- beat. “We are attracting top talent to the area, and people are choosing Nashville over Seattle or other tech hubs. It’s a close-knit community that lends itself to collaboration,” says Allison.
“Tractor Supply has collaborative relationships with its suppliers to look for ways to drive innovation. The Company also helps Nashville build out its tech talent pipeline with partnerships they have forged with Middle Tennessee State University and other area higher educational institutions, as well as Williamson County public schools and Women in Technology Tennessee. Tractor Supply is also a big supporter of NTC’s Technology Camps.”
“We’re a growth business, and so is Nashville.”