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The Container Store

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Introduction

The retail industry has a long history. In the United States of America, the most popular retailers were established at least three decades. This means that to-date; they have undergone a great deal of business management reforms and approaches. The Container Store is a US-based chain of retail stores. The company sells a wide variety of products, mainly storage equipment. For instance, some of these include laundry racks, desktop organizers, shelving units, hooks, storage boxes, wire leaf cases among others (Sawayda 1). The company was founded by Kip Tindell and Garett Boone in 1978. Since then, the company has developed to a powerful chain of about 49 chain stores across the country. The headquarters are in Coppell in Texas. This essay seeks to outline the background of the company, its corporate culture and how it influences its overall management.

Company Background

In 1978 when Tindell and Boone met to establish the company, their idea was to bring a totally different approach in the way retailing was done then. Their vision was to offer a solutions-based approach to the problems that were faced in the retail industry. According to The Container Store, the first store stood on a 1,600 square foot space. In fact, there was no warehouse to store goods. The story goes that the founders had to alternate in sleeping in a car so as to guard the good that could not fit in the stores. The founders also had to fund the initial stock and provide the start up capital. In times when it did not break even, they had to fund the operations of the business. Moreover, the company expanded with time to become a large enterprise. It should be noted that the business began without any clients in mind; the founders had to look for clients themselves, especially manufacturers who could be in need of containers. Money collected from a day’s sales was kept above the ceilings (Sawayda 1). Amidst all these challenges, the business was able to sustain itself. They began to pay a few employees to help them with the running of the business. As the company got more employees, the founders had to establish an early corporate culture. In this company, employees are more important than the shareholders. They seek to provide the best working environment that satisfy and shows appreciation to employees. As a result, the Fortune has consistently rated the company as among the 100 best places to work at in America. The corporate culture of the company is employee-centric.

Corporate Culture and Management

The management of the company focuses on all the stakeholders including the vendors, shareholders, customers, employees and others, However, The Container Store has one of the most unique approaches to corporate culture. It considers employees as the most important group of stakeholders (Business Week). This appears to be based on the fact that without employees, no sales could be possibly made even for the shareholders to get any dividend. This does not mean that the company does not value other stakeholders; it does. But in terms of priority, employees take the leading position. This approach is of its own in the existence of retail businesses. In fact, many people expected that the company would have collapsed by now. On the contrary, The Container Store has continued to grow by 20% each year since 1978 (Sawayda 2). Moreover, the author notes that the company’s corporate culture is built on six foundational principles.

The first principle is based on their belief that a great person is worth three people. This means that a perfect employee is the one that is able to do several things. In other words, an employee with a diverse range of skills is preferred to one that does not. As a result, employees are well compensated in the company. At a bare minimum, each employee should e able to help fellow employee as well as a client. This makes the management of the business very easy. This is because even if one employee is not available, the work can still be done. Specifically, business operations management becomes easy following a wide range of employees’ skills.

The second principle on which corporate culture is based is the fact that employees should easy to get excited especially at the sight of a customer (Business Week). The company believes that excitement is contagious; it would have an influence on the customers if at all employees practice it. As a result human resource management expressly provides that candidates who are not enthusiastic should not be employed at all. Perhaps this has contributed the success of the company. The third principle is based on service. This is linked to the previous one; that employees should deliver the best quality to clients. It is apparent that each and every single effort is geared towards empowering the employees so that they may provide the best service for the betterment of the company. Fourthly, the business strongly believes that intuition comes with preparedness. In other words, one can only know what he or she has had an experience about. This explains why the company focuses a lot of resources on employee training. After this training is done, each employee is expected to deliver the best to the customer.

The fifth principle is what they refer to as serving somebody in the desert. They use the analogy of a thirsty person in a desert who comes across an oasis surrounded by people. The people have two options. They could give the man water and let him pass or give the person water, food and also take extra care of him or her. This means that employees are made to understand that they should take care of all the needs of the customer to the full (Business Week). A satisfied customer will always come back. Specifically, employees are trained in a way that they can establish a latent need of a customer even when a customer may not be aware of the need. In terms of management practice, a lot of efficiency is created. This is because operations management is made simple which would consequently apply to general management. This implies that there is no need for supervision thus saving on expenditure of the company and optimizing on profits.

The sixth and last principle is based on the concept of filling the client’s shopping basket to the full. This implies that those who need the products are the beginning of the company’s success. As a result, the company has come up with a comprehensive strategy of retaining clients. In addition, the retailer has made sure that it pays its vendors in good time and also rewardingly. This means that the supply chain management is well taken care of.

Conclusion

The management of The Container Store is based on the business’s corporate culture. Unlike many approaches to corporate culture, the company uses a unique mode that has made it be among the top 100 best companies to work with. This paper sought to establish the origins, expansion and present-day management practices based on the corporate culture. It was demonstrated that indeed, The Container Store considers employees as the most important stakeholders. As a result, a lot of resources are allocated towards their training and development.  Consequently, employees are paid more for their services perhaps more than what other employees in the same sector get.

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