Understanding The Brand Power Of Safeway Business Essay


For many Americans, "going to Safeway" is synonymous with "going to the grocery store." Safeway is one of North America's largest food retailers, with some 1,740 stores located mostly in the western, Midwestern, and mid-Atlantic regions of the US, as well as western Canada (Safeway Inc., 2008). Statistics also states that it, " operates regional supermarket companies, including the Vons Companies (primarily in Southern California), Dominick's Finer Foods (Chicago), Carr-Gottstein Foods (Alaska's largest retailer), Genuardi's Family Markets (eastern US), and Randall's Food Markets (Texas)" (Safeway Inc., 2008). Safeway owns grocery e-retailer GroceryWorks.com. Outside the US, Safeway owns 49% of Casa Ley, which operates about 145 food and variety stores in western Mexico (Safeway Inc., 2008). Vons is known for its excellent customer service, although there management has hand many challenges with employee relations. It is a widely held notion that changes in the public sector management are geared towards promoting efficiency, effectiveness, cost saving and streamlining managerialism. This study provides an analysis of the nature and effectiveness of functional and dysfunctional control, the impact on my personal and professional life and it analyses the quality of management in our company.

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Today's organizations, be it in a private sector or a public sector, face an environment of intense competition, rapid change and uncertainty. Therefore, managers are searching for new structures and processes to help their organizations respond and attain advantage in the marketplace. The aspect of organizational adaptation that has received considerable attention is the role of management control systems in facilitating the organizational response (Barnat, 2005). In the functional approach an organization's effectiveness is determined by the social consequences of its activities (Barnat, 2005). The crucial question to be answered is: how well do the organization's activities serve the needs of its client groups? The appraisal of an organization's effectiveness should consider whether these activities are function or dysfunctions in fulfilling the organization's goals. Preparing for battle, Vons set to work folding its newly acquired stores into its retail constellation, determined to have them operational as soon as possible. Many of the Safeway units were in poor shape and in need of renovation (Racher Press, Inc. , 2008). In revamping the units Vons repainted and changed logos, lowered prices and re-merchandised. Vons advertised the stores under both the Safeway and Vons names while the transition was under way. Vons company is investing a lot of resources to develop and train it future Store Managers. All Managers are sent through an 18 month training which includes different types of training. Some of the training is:

Super Service training- is the knowledge, skill, abilities and attitudes to create and sustain a friendly environment for the customers.

Leadership training-you are taught how to understand you employee's perspective about how you should implement the job requirements; ordering, stocking, merchandising, scheduling, office /bookkeeping, inventory, health and sanitation.

With all this training Von's believes that our managers should do more than just run the business. They must understand the business strategy, lead and inspire employees to do what it takes to get the job done and execute a superior level of customer service. In essence, Store managers must strive to achieve the four company's business objective in their store: (Safeway Inc., 1995)

Drive Sales

Reduce cost of doing business

Invest capital wisely

Provide Superior customer service

At Vons we want customers to feel at ease when entering and/or shopping. Therefore we take steps into training all employees the proper steps for providing great customer service. Our customers are our main interest into doing business. There are many unhappy customers, but these customers helps improve our service provided by our employees. Here is one customer complaint filed against Safeway (Customer Inc., 2010):


Posted: 2008-08-16 by Keri

I went to Vons at about 8pm on a Sunday night. I only had to get about 6 things. I thought this would be a quick trip. When I approached the checkout there were two VERY long lines. I looked for other checkouts with the light on. I looked for the 15 item or less line. The only lines open were the customer service line and the 15 item or less line. Each line had at least 14 people in it. This is not my idea of how to get people in your store. I waited a very long time to check out. My husband was in the car waiting for me because this was supposed to be a very quick trip. I got into the wrong LONG line because the checker in my line was dealing with what looked food stamps. She had many in her hand and was looking things up in a book. When I finally reached her at the checkout she looked exhausted. She did ask me how I was. I also asked her how she was. She told me, "Look at this line. And they won't get us more help." I understood her frustration. I worked retail in the past. It is the people working directly with the public that take the have always liked Vons but if this continues I will take my business another block down the road where there seems to be plenty of employees available and there is never more than 3 in line.

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This complaint proves that continue customer service training is a key to a successful business. At Vons we believe that superior service starts with the management team. That is why we put so much training into producing well trainined and motivated managers.

In our company our managers will exemplify success, a strong mentor or role model who provides learning on how to achieve results. A successful manager received frequent and honest constructive feedback, both formal and informal. Being able to focus their attention on the people side of the business, customers and employees, they spend time developing their people. They constantly focus on leading, directing and communicating to their employees, these characters shows you a successful Vons Manager.

Safeway's preferred leadership style is one of leader/coach. Such a manager is a helper, facilitator, problem solver and team builder rather than an enforcer, dictator, list maker and micro-manager (Safeway Inc., 1995). This leadership style is compatible with Safeway's vision and desire to provide superior service. Employees are Safeway's internal customers and deserve superior service from their mangers (Safeway Inc., 1995). Managers must model superior service attributes to their employees so that they, in turn, can provide superior service to external customers. This is a different role from the one most managers have traditionally played.

Based on the specific work situations there situations there will be times where you need to tell employees what to do (tell), persuade other (sell), gather information (ask) or involve others in solving problem (solve). Your leadership approach will vary the specific work situations presented (Safeway Inc., 1995).

Tell: Present information, and give direction.

Sell: Present the positive side of a situation shows how your ideas will benefit everyone.

Ask: Ask questions, and listen to gather information

Solve: Ask questions, and listen and make suggestions.

Tell: Giving Directions to others

Often managers need to tell other managers, employees, vendors, or customers about changes in policy, performance standards, scheduling, or work assignment. Managers need to conduct a tell discussion when they intend to communicate decisions that have already been made. In this type of work discussion, the manager's job is to make sure that he or she has been heard and understood by presenting information clearly, asking for questions and feedback, and summarizing what has been said.

Sell: Persuading others to accept an Idea

Managers conduct a sell discussion when they talk to vendors about display space, ask employees about vacation preference, or convince customers that their complaints can be handled courteously and satisfactorily. Persuading and negotiating are "selling" tactics, and can be used effectively when managers want to promote positive public relations, get others to agree with their recommendations for a change, or increase morale when there is resistance to a new idea. In this type of discussion, managers present the positive side of the situation, and show how their ideas will benefit everyone.

Ask: Gathering information from others

Every time managers walk the store, chat with other managers, or handle customer complaints, they can gather information. When the primary purpose for a discussion is to find out something, a manager needs to conduct an ask work discussion. In this type of work discussion, managers simply receive information without making judgments or criticisms. The manager's job here is to ask questions and listen, and possibly take notes.

Solve: Problem solving and issue

Managers solve many kinds of problems. There problems can include scheduling, promotion, performance, stocking, budgeting, and customer complaints issues. The solve work discussion requires that managers help others solve their problems. Managers may want to offer suggestions based on their experience or authority, but the goal here is to guide others through the problem solving process, encouraging them to solve their own work problem. In this type of work discussion, a manager's job is to listen and question, and often to offer suggestions

From working at Vons, I have learned so much that it has improved me as a person and a manager. It has taught me how to get my point across when I am angry without yelling and screaming. It taught me how to control my emotions in trying times. Also, how to manage different types of attitudes and be successful. Lastly, it taught me that with drive, confidence and determination I could be successful at anything I do.

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With all the training and experiences I have had at Safeway, I have chosen to take a different road of in my career. I am currently 34 years old and have realized that my true destiny is helping people. I recognize that a lot of my employees had great potential of being very successful in life, but needed a little more guidance. This has helped me find out what I really wanted to do with my career. I learned so much at Vons, that I believe that my true calling is in Human Resources. Where I can help educate people the true aspect of their job and the opportunities they have at become successful in their current company. Many of my old employees I lost due to the lack of knowledge, I want to change that and improve retention. Also with my new career choice it allows me to spend more time with my family. I have struggled in this area, because I thought as long as I am working and bring home good money I am doing a great job as a mother but, I have learned that time is worth more than anything money can buy.