If you were to ask me what my dream job is, it definitely wouldn't be taking over the operation of a floundering grocery chain. Yet, that's exactly what former General Electric executive Lawrence R. Johnston did in 2001. Not only did he take over the company, he turned it around. His inventive management style and new ideas have begun to revive the company. Johnston knew that he couldn't compete head to head with the retail giants such as Wal-Mart (Holmes, 2005). He has spearheaded the addition of technology to Albertsons, to improve the speed of checkout and customer service. These changes are evident in that the 18% increase in earnings for the third quarter of 2005 was mostly due to cost saving measures not increased sales as was hoped (Holmes, 2005). He has also had a few issues with the employees. For example, a four-month strike at the Southern California stores cost the company an estimated $1.2 billion in lost sales. That figure doesn't even begin to estimate the cost of the ill will of the employees (Holmes, 2005). Even though the strike was a definite setback it also proved the resolve of the management to have things their way. Johnston believes the strike has helped to speed the signing of new contracts in other areas of the country (Holms, 2005). All in all, he seems to be exceeding expectations. I wonder if I could perform as well as Johnston.
Imagine that I were hired instead of Johnston. What would I do differently? Well, the biggest thing would be to implement Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Basically, RFID is using radio frequencies to track and inventory shipments. If you've watched television in the last year you've probably seen the IBM commercial where a couple of truck drivers are lost. The point of the commercial is that the boxes "told" the help desk that they were going the wrong way. Now, is RFID going to cause someone to be sitting in the middle of the road to tell the... [continues]
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