Improving management of self-service store operations (1997)

This document has been made available in electronic format
by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
Oct, 1997
(Source: Asia-Pacific Co-op News, Vol.4, No.3, Jul-Sept. 1997, pp.8)

Improving management of self-service store operations

South Asian countries are on  the fast track of economic liberalization. 
Deregulation, the free market, price and trade liberalization and
demonopolization of industry and government reforms to tax, legal
and civil services have been reinforced by international trade
agreements like GATT.  

These changes have forced governments to withdraw subsidies of
consumer commodities and rationed commodities that were
traditionally distributed by consumer co-operatives

The free market economy has also spawned a growing consumer
market. Co-operatives must lobby governments to create a level
playing field through a proper legal environment and new
opportunities for competition.  

Consumer co-operatives must also adapt to changes in consumer
behaviour, making their corporate structure responsive to changes
in the retail industry.

To help facilitate these changes, general and branch managers from
consumer co-operative organisations in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal
participated in a seminar on retail management of self-service stores
held September 22 to 27, organised by ICA ROAP in collaboration
with National Co-operative Consumers Federation Limited and
Apna Bazar.

The group tackled performance problems faced by consumer
co-operatives and developed action plans to:

-	change purchasing policy to receive maximum discounts from supplier
-	reduce credit from banks
-	introduce interest-free deposit scheme by offering free goods
-	reschedule work hours to increase sales
-	introduce new communication systems from the branch shops based
on consumer needs
-	organise new self-service shops in the city areas
-	follow-up seminars
-	introduce new personnel policy
-	introduce new sales strategies
-	introduce proper communication systems
-	organise an internal staff training system
-	realise side income from waste
-	improve shop layouts
-	introduce part time workers to cut costs and change shop hours
-	alter working hours
-	improve customer relations
-	introduce self-service system

Participants felt the seminar helped them understand the self-service
co-operative shop system, gain practical experience, learn better
financial management techniques, better manage ratios, practice new
sales techniques, use information to identify and solve management
problems, operate a self-service shop in a market economy, achieve
profitability, develop staff in a co-operative organisation, understand
status of consumer co-op movement in South Asia, identify
development areas, hear expert opinions, improve purchasing policies
and business ethics, exchange views, gather management principles
and learn about future trends in the retail industry.

This training can be expanded in the region with technical support
from NCCF, helping consumer co-operatives survive and prosper
during challenging economic times.