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Leadership, Community Involvement, Ethics, Business Development, and Exit Strategies

Your business is a chain of retail uniform shops. Although you hope to sell to many professions, such as doctors, nurses, mechanics, food service workers, and ministers, your primary customers are police, firefighters, and other public safety agencies. Because having multiple locations benefits your cost structure (for example, you pay lower rent, buying the uniforms from wholesalers, et cetera), you plan to open 12 stores within a four-week period in August. All of the locations will be in the Los Angeles metro area.

Your structure includes the 12 shops, each with a manager, assistant manager, and hourly employees, and a corporate staff that includes three district managers and a group of corporate executives and leaders. You expect each store to bring in roughly the same amount of revenue, except for the two stores in the downtown area. One of these is near police and fire headquarters and several major hospitals and provides a large number of specialized uniforms. The other higher-volume location is near the police and fire training academies and provides uniforms to all of the new recruits. The volume of these two stores is almost four times the average of the other stores, which typically have a wider range of uniforms demanded by a wider variety of customers.

The average store is about 4,500 square feet, including a series of fitting rooms, a sales floor with mannequin displays, a self-service automated order station where customers can enter their previous order number and modify it to place their own order, a tailor workshop, and a storage area. You have decided to be a traditional C corporation under the name Uniforms-R-Us, Inc.

You know that the police and fire customers are key, but there is strong competition that has been active in the area for about 15 years. You are also aware that the public is divided in the way it sees these public safety personnel. To some, they are heroes; to others, they are feared as oppressors. In recent incidents, the police were accused of acting in an overtly brutal way and some fire officials were indicted in a kickback scheme on fire inspections. You recognize that your new company should play a significant role in making the safety personnel and the public more comfortable with each other, and you write that into your mission statement.

A key relationship for you is the relationship you have with the largest local bank. You are preparing to meet with them to finalize your initial loan and a line of credit for the business. The bank has insisted that your presentation consist primarily of how the organization will be managed because, according to the bank, no matter how good the idea or how optimistic the financials, it all really comes down to is management. The bank representatives ask for the specific plans, as well as your systems for guiding the corporation and making decisions (with the understanding that you may not always be there). They are also concerned about the tense relationship between the community and your primary customers. Finally, they want to know when you are planning to complete your major goals and what your long-term plans are.

Social responsibility, community involvement, and ethics:
- Set the social-responsibility goals and analyze how they enable the company to effectively interact with multiple cultures and ethical systems.
- Outline company policies regarding social responsibility.
- Identify and describe the ethical and legal principles included in the policies.
- Analyze how ethical behavior influences the organization and surrounding society.
- Outline the company's community activities and describe how its community involvement reflects its ability to operate in varied cultures and economic environments.

Business development and exit strategies:
- Outline the company's long-term goals.
- Describe an appropriate growth strategy.
- List a set of appropriate general milestones.
- Specify an exit plan. Be as specific as possible to inform investors and stakeholders how they will be rewarded.

Solution Preview

-- Complete solution in attached WORD document.

Let's discuss each section.
Social responsibility, community involvement, and ethics:
• Set the social-responsibility goals and analyze how they enable the company to effectively interact with multiple cultures and ethical systems.

- Are you familiar with Aramark? Aramark is the world leader in providing uniforms to many professions, including people that work in hotels, restaurants, schools, amusement parks, etc. Their market does not include service personnel or the type of professions that our company's uniforms are made for. However, because they are a world-leading uniform provider, we can look to their company as an example.

One of their main mottos for social responsibility is "helping employees feel good about where they work and what they do." They build off this strategy by providing high quality uniforms at reasonable prices, which is basically our same strategy. Therefore, I would outline the social responsibility goals along the same line.

Aramark is heavily involved in social responsibility based on the markets they serve the most. They have sustainability programs based on providing food to the poor because one of their biggest target markets is uniforms for restaurant personnel. They also have a large target market in the school systems, in districts where teachers and other personnel are required to wear uniforms. Aramark has a sustainability program based on providing funding for education across the globe.

We basically would want to take these same ideas but cater them towards initiatives based on our largest target markets. Our largest markets are police, firefighters, public service agencies, and hospital workers, since there are plans to open a location next to a hospital. We would want to focus on the current target markets and not the expected markets, which would include the mechanics, those in food service, and so forth.

We would now identify initiatives that can be directed specifically at our professions of police, fire, public service personnel, and hospital workers.

We can include social responsibility goals that provide hospitals with needed supplies in cases of emergencies and that provide medical services to devastated areas.

One of the biggest current problems in the police and fire industries is that there are budget shortfalls. These shortfalls come in part from a lack of full county funding. As economic times grew tough, many people stopped paying their property taxes. Property taxes can easily run into the thousands per year (mine are around $2,000 per year, for instance). Because people had to cut back on their spending in order to afford their house payments once the recession hit a few years back, the county couldn't collect as much money. This cut into their allocations to local police and service departments. One of the consequences was that the police and fire departments suddenly had less money to spend on training and any needed equipment. Therefore, I would focus social responsibility goals on providing funding to police and fire departments for use towards training efforts and purchases to be used for the safety of those personnel. I would also make it a point to mention that this social responsibility strategy includes allotting sufficient funding to the public service departments to make needed purchases to enhance their safety and the safety of the public.  That is the ultimate in social responsibility.

One other area we need to incorporate into social responsibility would be the gap between the community and service personnel. We need to continue working this concept in wherever we can because it is part of our actual mission statement. Let's look in the direction of starting a volunteer based program between the community and service personnel. We could start one program for police and one for fire. We would hold informational meetings with each service agency and discuss opportunities for community members to become involved. Almost all police and fire departments could use some type of volunteer help. In this case, we're establishing stores in highly populated, metro areas. There would be a definite need. This would increase social responsibility within the communities because our main goal would be to increase the communication between the groups, provide for active community involvement, and add to the basic welfare of each community.

In respect to interacting within multiple cultures and ethical systems:

We would want to design our programs on a global basis. The key is finding ways to do this that are cost effective. This is the main way to include a ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides a comprehensive, detailed analysis of the facts presented in the business scenario listed. We discuss each element and include answers to all questions provided in this retail uniform shop scenario. Complete solution in attached WORD document.

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