C&S Wholesale Grocers: Self-Managed Teams
The "team" concept has become the standard in today's workplace due to its ability to increase cooperation and knowledge sharing. However, while the business environment continues to become more sophisticated and demanding, businesses are looking to reduce micro management and shift focus to the company's vision. Consequently, they look for alternatives to the traditional team model, such as the latest concept of a self-managed team, which places an emphasis on team independence and member participation. This emerging concept of a self-managed team is a group of people working independently towards a common objective which is defined outside the team. A self-empowered team promises to yield more creativity and productivity for improved results. "Fortune magazine calls self-directed or self-managed teams the productivity breakthrough of the 90s" (Elmuti 4). Rick Cohen, the owner of C&S Wholesale Grocers is considering implementing this concept of self-managed teams to meet the rapid growth of his business just in time for one of the busiest season ever for the company. C&S Wholesale Grocers grew into a multimillion dollar business by securing military bases and large supermarket accounts, such as A&P supermarkets, which is now C&S' largest customer. With the busy Holiday season ahead and increasing demand from A&P, Cohen is concerned about his company's ability to service the customers. In order to deliver, the company had continued to expand its workforce. Eventually, the rapid growth was detrimental to cost and quality. Cohen is 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.
The extra bodies, along with the increased work load, caused congestion in the aisles.
Cited: Elmuti, Dean. "Sustaining High Performance Through Self-Managed Work Teams". Industrial Management. Mar/Apr 1996. Vol. 38, Iss. 2; pg. 4-8.