Case Study C and S

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Rick Cohen, president and CEO of C&S Wholesale Grocers, is faced with the dilemma of deciding whether and how to implement the self-managed team concept in his unionized warehouse. With the holiday season approaching, the busiest time for C&S, he needs to come up with a solution or the reputation of C&S will be jeopardized. Cohen, grew up in the family business and completed his undergraduate studies at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. One of his greatest strengths that he was able to identify about himself early on is that he is able to look at the production numbers and quickly be able to figure out what areas needed improvement. C&S Wholesale Grocers grew from a small company in 1918 into a multimillion-dollar business by securing military bases, obtaining large supermarket accounts, such as Big D, and through innovation and attention to customer service. In 1987, C&S had begun to act as principal wholesaler to A&P throughout New England, a decision that was consistent with the firm's growth strategy, but that also represented a significant increase in daily output and additional pressure on the business structure. Cohen is concerned about whether the company's existing operations would be able to meet the needs of all its customers and maintain the high levels of customer satisfaction for which the company was known throughout New England. In order to deliver, the company had continued to expand its workforce; however, coordination also became an issue, and soon Cohen found himself hiring more supervisors thus leading to an overcrowded workplace. Cohen is now concerned for several reasons: higher workload due to A&P, the increased staff creating an overcrowded workplace, the diminishing quality of the orders, and stress causing turnover which peaked at 90%. The constant influx of new and untrained employees led to more inefficiencies and confusion. This was a turning point and Cohen knew that he had to change something. Cohen met an...
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