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    Dollar General uses Control to grow Profits

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    Dollar General uses Control to grow Profits

    How much profits can be made from selling a product priced at one dollars? For discount stores such as the Dollar General retail chain, the total can add up to billions of dollars-if management keeps a tight rein on operations. Dollars General's CEO, David A. Perdue, Jr., heads a retail empire of 7,000 stores that earned a gross profit of $2 billion on sales of $ 7 billion during one recent year. To keep up a gross profit margin of more than 28 % and a net profit margin topping 4 %, Perdue puts great emphasis on control.

    Headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tenn., Dollar General retails household basics like paper towels, detergent, milk, and T-shirts, priced low for customers who want to stretch their budgets further. Most of its stores are smaller than 8,000 square feet so shoppers can stop in, find what they want quickly, and be on their way. Week in and week out, Dollar general serves nearly 10 million customers, the chain is geared toward "the-value-conscious, low-income consumer who depends upon us for everyday low prices on quality, basic consumables, " says Angela Martin director of communication.

    Dollar General is the largest of the largest of the dollar-store chains. Family Dollar, the second-largest chain, has more than 5,300 stores; Dollar General, the third-largest, has more than 2,500 stores. Wal-Mart and Costco also appeal to bargain-hunting customers with special selections of one-dollar merchandise, which means that Perdue must boost efficiency to keep Dollar General completive. One decision he made is to install an automatic replenishment system aimed at preventing the store from running out of popular products. First managers determine how many of each item should be in each store, then the system tracks sales and automatically reorders when the inventory level of a particular item falls below a preset level. Simply keeping the shelves full(but not overstocked) has helped Dollar General increases sales.

    In addition, the CEO is testing different store layouts and merchandise assortments to see which yield the best sales and profit performance. During a recent economic recession analysis showed that Dollar General's customers were buying fewer nonessential item. In response Perdue expanded the self space devoted to food and other frequently purchased products. By adding larger coolers stocked with milk, juice, fruit, and other foods in selected stores, he is making the most of what he sees as "a big opportunity to drive customer traffic and improve over all store sales.

    Traditionally, Dollar General's merchandising mix has been geared toward stores smaller than 7,000 square feet. However, notes Perdue, "we have many stores that are larger. As a group, they underperform on a per-foot basis. We believe we can significantly improve per-square-foot productivity". The CEO is doing this by enhancing the variety of items within existing product categories stocked in these larger stores. Then he will compare sales square foot against expected performance standards to find out whether he has succeeded in increasing revenues and expected performance standards to find out whether he has succeeded in increasing revenues and profits by using store space more efficiently. At the local level, Perdue is providing regional mangers with new systems for monitoring and fine-tuning the operations of the stores they supervise. He has also hired experts to examine and reorganize the internal flow of work with an eye toward saving time.

    Moreover , Perdue is tightening control to clamp down on the theft of merchandise, know as shrinkage in the retail industry which hurts the bottom line. The CEO has set a target of cutting shrinkage to less than 3% annually by revamping the support functions serving the 250 stores with the highest shrinkage figures. And, despite the need to keep prices low, Perdue sees some room to raise prices and recoup slightly higher profits on items that Dollar General has priced lower than competitors. Low prices bring customers in and low costs help grow profits, which is why "we are still constantly working to take cost out of products, he stresses.

    1. What activities should Perdue apply to make the control process more effective when raising prices of items previously priced lower than competitors?
    2. Should the CEO consider lower sales per square foot at larger stores a problem or a symptom? Explain.
    3. Would you recommend that a discount retailer such as Dollar General use precontrol, concurrent control, or feedback control to manage shrinkage?

    Read the Case "Teamwork Builds Success at Xerox" on page 405. Assume you are the manager of Xerox's Houston office. Write a 450-750 words memo giving advice to a manager opening a new, similar office in San Francisco. Use Figure 17.7 as the basis of the advice. Remember to reference Lesson 6 concepts in your response. Include in your memo a description of the characteristics of an effective work team at Xerox. Include steps the San Francisco manager should take to turn a work group into an effective team. Explain the importance of each step.

    Xerox Corporation is a global leader in providing documents solutions that enhance business productivity, and its focus is developing, manufacturing, marketing, servicing, and financing a complete range of document-processing products designed to make organizations around the world more productive. The company's digital output includes color copies and printers with production speeds ranging from 20 to 65 pages per minute. Xerox also offers a wide range of other document-processing merchandise , including equipment for reproducing large engineering and architectural drawings facsimile products, and scanners. Among other world-wide locations, it products are distributed in Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia including Hong Kong, India, and China.

    Xerox mangers an extremely complex logistics system focusing on asset management, which entails tracking and coordinating thousands of pieces of equipment at hundreds of customer work locations. The company must keep of the specific equipment involving issues like space, electricity, cooling, network connectivity, supplies, and maintenance. Solutions also have tom be developed for helping customer organizations coordinate equipment service. Related training, and ordering of supplies from almost anywhere in the world.

    Asset management at Xerox also involves the proper billing of customers. This means that customers must be billed for every single piece of equipment based on its specific usage, and they need invoices that clearly delineate equipment usage costs but don't overwhelm with to much information.

    Another component of Xerox's asset management includes providing outstanding service and support to customers, who can call a toll-free number with questions, problems, and requests related to thousands of equipment assets. At Xerox, after equipment is sold or leased, the formidable challenge of technical support begins.

    According to company officials, asset management at Xerox is a very challenging and labor-intensive job. Alan Asher, one of the mangers believes that successful asset management requires a tremendous amount of coordination and is exceedingly difficult to pull off, because y9ou must have processes in place that are really tight, or things can fall through the cracks.
    The Houston office has had some success because of a small, tight knit work team, but it has had to confront a serious problem in operations: managing fleets of office equipment at multiple sites from a remote location. Evelyn Grubb, the customer account manger in Houston, explains: "We've got a group of people here that truly works together. It's really a family. Everyone works together. If we didn't have that spirt here, none of this world have happened.

    Figure 17-7 Factors contributing to team effectiveness

    . Personal work satisfaction
    .Mutual trust and team spirit
    .Good communication
    .Low unresolved conflict and power struggle
    . Low threat. Fails-safe, good job security

    .Organizational stability and job security
    .Involved, interested, supportive management EFFECTIVE TEAM PERFORMANCE
    .Proper rewards and recognition of accomplished . Innovative ideas
    .Stable goals and priorities . Goals (s) accomplished
    . Adaptable to change
    TASK-RELATED FACTORS . High personal/team commitment / rated highly by upper management
    .Clear objectives, directions, and project plans
    .Proper technical direction and leadership
    .Autonomy and professionally challenging work
    .Experienced and qualified project/team personnel
    .Team involvement and project visibility

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    Assignment 6

    Effective teams are very important for opening a new office in San Francisco. This office would be similar to the office in Houston. Xerox Corporation is a very successful corporation that provides a wide variety of document processing products in several countries. The nature and scale of the business of the company is such that there is a need of lot of co-ordination within the employees; between the employees and management.

    Effective work teams are indispensable for the success of the new office. At Xerox, there is a highly complex system of logistics that focuses on the asset management which involves tracing and coordinating several pieces of equipment at many of the customer work locations. At Xerox, solutions have to be devised for serving the customer organizations in coordinating equipment service. Thus, again the team work is necessary for the corporation.

    Successful team building at Xerox needs the attention to the following areas (Heathfield, 2008):

    Clear Expectations: The executives should explicitly communicate their expectations for the team's performance and anticipated results. The team members of the new office should understand the purpose of creation of their team. The office at San Francisco is a new venture. It requires more efforts and to start up, it needs more co-ordination. The goals have to be clearly stated in terms of performances and targets.

    Context: The members of the team should understand why they are taking part in the team. They should also know that the teams will facilitate the organization in attaining its communicated business goals.
    Commitment: There should be commitment on part of the team members. They should feel that their mission is really important. Asset management at Xerox is a very challenging and labor-intensive job. It is believed that successful asset management requires a remarkable amount of coordination and is exceedingly difficult to pull off. They should perceive their service as valuable to the organization. There is a competent and healthy environment at Xerox that offers the opportunity for the employees to grow and develop.

    Competence: The members should be competent & capable enough and should possess the relevant ...

    Solution Summary

    The response addresses the queries posted in 1404 Words, APA References.