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About Total Produce
Total Produce plc is one of the leading fresh produce Company in Europe. The Company is primarily involved in the importing, growing, packaging, distributing and marketing of fresh produce.
It was only formed at the start of the 2007, when Blackrock International Land plc, which retains a 40% share, decided to split Fyffes plc, leaving it as a banana importer only, and create Total Produce for the fresh produce business.
As a Public Limited Company is listed on the IEX (Irish Stock Exchange).
Share dividends of the shareholders have doubled in less than 2 years.
Total Produce is a B2B (business to business), this means that it is not involved in retailing, but it actually supplies retailers.
Total Produce's customers are some of the biggest retailers in Ireland and eventually Europe, with names such as: Tesco, Dunnes and Stores, Superquinn, etc.
One exception between the company's customers is Musgraves, which is another B2B set up by small retailers, like Centra, Spar and Supervalue, to reduce their cost.
With over 4000 employees and 90 facilities in 19 countries, Total Produce is strategically spread across Europe.
In Ireland there are 15 facilities: five of them in Dublin and the rest distributed all over the Country.
Each branch deals with a different retailer; the one in Swords, where I'm doing my work experience as accountant, it only supplies Dunnes Stores.
The SWOT Analysis model is a very popular tool used by most business to identify them-selves and scan the internal and external environment.
SWOT stands for:
Strengths and Weaknesses are part of the "Internal Environment", so they can be fully or partially controlled by the company.
Opportunities and Threats are part of the "External Environment" and the company cannot control them, but can only impact.
From a SWOT Analysis the company can eventually find a way to improve, by matching its strengths to possible opportunities, use them to turn weaknesses into strengths or set threats with any available opportunity.
Description of the organization Chart
It is very easy to understand from the organization Chart that Total Produce's Hierarchy has a tall structure.
This is not surprising, since this is a company that operates in over 17 countries, and so it requires more levels in its Hierarchy than an ordinary small business.
I think that the structural configuration of Total Produce it isn't the same on all of its levels; from the Board of the Directors to the Managing Director, the span of control seems to be "narrow" while between the Managing Director and the Branch Managers it becomes "wide", due to the large number of branches spread across Europe.
Inside each Branch the span of control between managers of department and lower levels, is narrow, but it becomes wide again at the bottom of the organization, especially in the production where are positioned workers.
I work in the Total produce's branch of Swords which supplies only Dunnes and Store.
My role is in the company it is as Assistant Account.
Most of the time I follow the accountants job, and when asked, I prepare analysis on the product's price changing over the previews few months.
Above my position there are two Accountants, whom follow the directions of the Accounting Manager.
The Financial Manager and Accounting Manager share most of their project, with the difference that the Financial Manager eventually takes part in meeting with other Financials Manager from other branches and has more responsibility.
Each Branch Manager has to refer his branch results to the Country Manager, who is constantly monitoring all the branches activity and follows and perhaps influence the company's strategies set up by the Board of Directors in the General Meeting.
Conclusions and Recommendation
Looking at the strengths, market positioning and the history of this company, it is very easy to notice that it is a "healthy" company.
Thinking that it was only formed in 2007, and in less than three years has paid all of its debts and has doubled profits and shareholders earning, gives a clear idea on the fast increasing of the company's profitability.
Environmental analysis reveals that it has valuable strengths to continue to pursue its politic of expansion in Europe; however the economic climate doesn't promise well, especially in Ireland, where the company has the most of its facilities.
There are a few negative aspects to consider in their business, the most influents are:
- Narrow range of suppliers, which could attributes too much power to them and sometimes low contractual power to the company.
- The Weather, as it could have a huge impact on the fresh produce sector.
I have found particularly interesting how companies of different industries, of different countries, are more sensible about protecting the environment, and start to take initiatives to increase awareness in people.
A really good examples is Spain, where, from about a year is not possible to buy packed fruit and vegetables anymore.
I believe this action has brought different benefits:
- For consumers: save money on its purchases, and support the environment cause.
- For retailers: reduce costs, sell more, and gain on the value of its image by promoting its initiative.
- For suppliers: concentrate its activities on importing and distributing to speed up the production and sell more, due to the consequent higher demand.
In my opinion, governments should pay more attention to this matter; however it seem to me that businesses are moving in a better direction anyway, due to follow their interests and probably to the unsustainability of the problem.
May it could be an option to consider also for Total Produce, as they are the biggest fresh produce supplier, they could be the first to adapt these environment protection policies, and may find a further advantage and better positioning on the market.