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Whole Foods: Economic Recession

Introduction

Following the global economic recession of 2008, most of the companies worldwide are facing financial difficulties operating given the effects of the aforementioned crisis and Whole Foods Company is no exception. It is worth acknowledging and recognizing strategies that Whole Food Company’s management has so far adopted to enhance productivity. However, the strategies have proven futile given the decreasing trend of the company’s sales since the start of the year 2008. It is in this respect that the paper is drafted in an attempt to propose various recommendations aimed at improving the performance of the high esteemed company to continue offering high-quality natural foods that are least preserved as well as most flavored foods to the esteemed consumers.

Main Body

The company management team has adopted strategies that have proven to be unfeasible in modern times. To begin with, Whole Foods’ market growth strategy of expanding the company’s stores through continuous acquisition of stores countrywide has proven expensive and less beneficial hence should be done away with. Second, the management’s belief that the success so far recorded by the company is as a result of strict compliance with its mission of selling selective products, as well as strong dedication to the company values and sustainable agriculture, is not justifiable. This is evident in the tremendous increase in capital expenditure from about $325 million in 2005 to approximately $530 million in 2007. The stipulated amount encompasses expenses incurred by the company in acquiring new stores, improving existing ones as well as buying properties for the chain stores. It is therefore important for the management to change the approach and adopt new strategy of minimizing or completely eliminating expenditure on such stores anymore. Instead, the company ought to embark on modern management strategies including embracing technologies as well as innovation in the business arena. It should not even contemplate challenging the Federal Trade Commission on issues of Wild Oat.

Rather than focusing on the margins as competitors do, it is important to shift tactics and embrace value instead. The 2008 recession has forced companies to indulge in viable activities aimed at pinning down their competitors to gain the market advantage. It is recommendable that Wholefoods should adopt solutions and brands that are decorated with special designs to achieve high valued products at competitive prices. This will curb unnecessary spending that has so far been witnessed in the chain stores acquisition as well as the Wild Oat saga and at the same time enhance the competitive ability of the company.

Furthermore, the downturn can also be countered through well laid down decision-making process. Adverse effects that are witnessed in many business ventures all over the world, and Whole foods are no exception results from poor or lack of decision making in the concerned organizations especially in areas of customer communication as well as spending in marketing the products of the company. Whole foods for instance spent only five percent of its profits on marketing in 2005 which was far below the amount spent by other conventional supermarkets. This has been attributed to reduced sales in many companies as witnessed in Whole Foods Company which experiences a sharp decline in the number of sales in 2008 compared to an about eleven percent constant increase in sales between 2003 and 2007. The company should therefore set up advertisement strategies to inform the customers of the relevance and importance of their products.

The company should also indulge in a critical analysis of changes in customer behavior in terms of value, fashion as well as preference as a result of technological advancements. This would be useful for the management to prioritize company’s spending in an attempt to influence the consumer decisions thereby improving sales and productivity of the company.

Moreover, the management should establish a customer-friendly system as well as coiling personnel that is sensitive to the plight of customers. Customer-friendly system involves the processes and procedures followed by the personnel while transacting with the customer. Whole Foods should enhance its efficiency in delivery services, accounting, as well as distribution of its products to customers. This is aimed at influencing the actions and decisions of the customer who believes that excellent service is the hallmark of every business transaction.

Additionally, Whole Foods need to enhance innovation and change of management strategies. It should bring into the market modern service delivery methods and/products depending on the needs of the consumers. This may include communication systems to reach customers faster than before thereby improving service delivery. As a result the company’s productivity will improve.

In times of recession, the management should hold on to its cash especially concerning company spending. However, the company has unlimited resources in the name of human resources which should be well trained to enhance service delivery. Salespersons for instance should undergo training to improve the number of sales in the company. On the other hand, Whole management should also contemplate boosting the morale of company workers either through incentives or other motivational benefits such as allowances, insurance cover as well as employee discounts. Training of the company’s personnel is a more cost-effective management strategy than the current management strategy of acquiring stores because they have good personnel.

Whole Foods should also adopt a sound time and people management strategy where regular meetings are held by the management team to enhance interaction with the salespeople. Consistent communication should be embraced in circumstances where top management does not intermingle often with employees.

Finally, Whole company management needs to restrain from indulging in activities that can tarnish the public image of the company. The success and performance of Whole Foods depend on its customers who keenly monitor its corporate and individual behavior as well as performance in the market. This is necessary following the CEO’s unnecessary remarks against the company’s competitor.

Summary

Following the 2008 recession, Whole foods should adopt various management strategies meant aimed at improving sales thereby enhancing its productivity hence survival in the highly competitive market. These include among others;

  • Cutting down company expenditure particularly on the acquisition of Oat as well as other chain stores.
  • Shifting focus from high-profit margins to products of high value, design and technology coiled with competitive prices. This way, the company will acquire a competitive advantage in the market.
  • Establishing a sound decision-making process especially concerning the company spending as well as customer communication.
  • Instituting a critical analysis of trends in the behavior of customers regarding fashion, preference, value as well as taste in order to produce goods and services that meets their demands. This would influence their decisions and actions concerning purchases
  • Establishment of customer-friendly systems of service delivery to enhance efficiency in business transactions in the company.
  • Embracing modern technologies as well as innovation to provide modern goods and services so as to meet the rising and complicated customer demands.
  • Minimizing company spending on unnecessary stuff such as the acquisition of chain stores and Wild Oat and instead investing in management training to enhance service delivery.
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