Case | HBS Case Collection | August 2003 (Revised October 2003)

C&S Wholesale Grocers: Self-Managed Teams

by Thomas J. DeLong, Tejal Mody and David Ager


Rick Cohen, president and CEO of C&S Wholesale Grocers, is trying to decide whether and how to implement the self-managed teams concept in his warehouse. Eight months earlier, C&S had begun to act as principal wholesaler to A&P throughout New England, a decision that was consistent with the firm's growth strategy, but that also represented a significant increase in daily throughput. Cohen was concerned about whether the company's existing operations would be able to meet the needs of all its customers and maintain the high levels of customer satisfaction for which the company was known throughout New England. When implemented successfully, the self-managed teams concept had been credited with enhancing an organization's productivity and competitiveness. Cohen wondered how such a concept could be implemented in the context of a labor-intensive, unionized warehouse environment.

Keywords: Customer Satisfaction; Decision Making; Labor Unions; Growth and Development Strategy; Distribution Channels; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Structure; Groups and Teams; New England;


DeLong, Thomas J., Tejal Mody, and David Ager. "C&S Wholesale Grocers: Self-Managed Teams." Harvard Business School Case 404-025, August 2003. (Revised October 2003.)