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Coop Bau und Hobby Oerlikon - Kundendienst...

Hat Coop das weltweit schlechteste Management?

Offener Brief an das Management von Coop Bau und Hobby Oerlikon - Zürich

Dear Coop Corporation,

I would like to tell a story and ask you for a request.

Over the past 14 months, I have gone into the Oerlikon Bau and Hobby to buy some excercise weights on four different occassions. On each of those occassions, the weights display was half empty, and there were no complete weight sets visible. There were only a few different weight plates lying around.

When I noticed this, I politely reported to the staff walking around that I would like the display filled at some point so I can buy some weights.
Naturally, you can not do anything with simple weight plates, since they must be connected by a weight bar, and there were no weight bars in sight.

Well, on each one of the occassions, the staff said "OK, if you want those items, go to the front of the Coop and tell the colleague to order it."

I replied each time "Well, is it not it one of the duties of the Coop staff to check or fill the shelves every once in a while? I am telling you for your benefit that your shelves are empty, it is not really my concern..."

After this they usually shrug and give a look of confusion, even though I am clearly communicating in correct High German.

At this time, I usually leave the store and come back to follow up a few weeks later...

Each time I return to Coop Bau and Hobby they report to me, "Sorry, Sir, we told the manager but I guess he forgot to fill the weights display... We will remind him again when we see him."

I then usually respond "Don't you have a computer system so you can track what comes and goes?"

They said "It would be a good idea, But we don't have one, so we can't really figure out what is in the store and what is not."

At this point I usually get amused, and politely ask once more for the shelves to be filled, and then I leave. I am always polite because the people in there are quite friendly.

My question for you is this: I am writing a report on "The World's Worst Management" for my MBA Business University. I was wondering if I could interview your managers of Coop Bau and Hobby in Oerlikon, and find out some of the reasons why the store is so poorly managed. For a place to be so inadequete, there must surely be some deeply imbedded institutional problems in the processes. I think it would be very interesting for the other students to learn how to not manage a big company. Perhaps they can avoid some of the pitfalls that Coop Bau and Hobby have fallen into.

The Centerpiece of my report is when I will explain to the class the circumstances of a Coop display not being filled for over 14 months. I know it is all these months because the few remaining useless plates were always in the same spot in the display. That must be a record! That record does not include the Soviet Union of course, because I heard that there you can easily have shortages for a dozen months during periods of supply problems.
But the Soviet Union is not around any more, so you can't really compare them...

Another student was teasing me that "The World's Worst Management" in a report he wrote had shelves that were in worse condition for a longer time than Coop Bau and Hobby Oerlikon, but I told him that this comparison is completely unfair! That was because his business was located in New Orleans, and they were flooded for a long time and people could physically not restock the place for almost half a year. The teacher agreed with me, and now this student must start over to find a company in worse shape than Bau and Hobby. Good luck to him!

Well, that is basically an overview of my proposal. If you allow me to interview the management of Coop Bau and Hobby, in return I promise to always vote to keep Switzerland out of the European Union. That way Coop Bau and Hobby can continue to enjoy the good life, without having to worry about any troublesome competition coming into the country to serve the consumer.

That way future business students will be able to continue to count on Coop when it comes time for them to write reports on the worlds worst managed companies.

What do you think of my report topic?

Thanks and Best Regards,

Scott Stevens
Group Supply Chain Management
ABB - Asea Brown Boveri Ltd


Coop Bau + Hobby Oerlikon - Zürich,
Kundendienst lässt zu wünschen. Erfahrungsbericht eines betroffenen Coop Kunden.