The Aldi Success Story An Organisational Profile

2035 words - 8 pages

The ALDI Success StoryAn Organisational Profile by Kai F. Mahnert, DBMKConducted for Ivan McPhillips, Lecturer in Enterprise Development, GMITA PortraitIn 1948 brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht opened a small grocery store in Essen, Germany. Due to the post war shortages in supplies and the size and capital of their business the brothers had only a small assortment of products. Today, more than fifty years later, ALDI is a worldwide chain of discount stores, a continuously growing empire with a concept so simple the business world is left with the question 'Why didn't we think of that?'.At the bottom of ALDI's sales policy is the idea of selling high quality products at the lowest possible price. This (on its own not very original) concept is achieved by reducing cost of sales to a minimum. Thus, what was once a necessity, namely the narrow product width in ALDI stores, became a virtue. Even today the ALDI (North, see below) has no more than 700 products on display. Compared with an estimated 20000 products for REWE, probably the biggest German enterprise, that does not seem like a whole lot. However, in spite (or because?) of the smaller product mix, in 1999 estimated turnover was 35 and 50 billion Deutsche Mark for ALDI and REWE respectively.'Becoming a shop window decorator for ALDI' is an inside joke in the German business world. ALDI does not invest in image, promotion or any other 'superfluous' activity not immediately related to the sale of goods. The Corporation owns their own coffee factory, legal firms and property agencies, thereby reducing costs further. ALDI is said to be the largest landowner in the country.To prevent a potential business disaster in the case of a fall out between the brothers, ALDI was split in two separate, autonomous half's in the early 60s. Theo Albrecht took over ALDI North with seat in Essen, while Karl put himself in charge of ALDI South. Since then minor differences have become apparent between the two shops, such as different tiling, product mix (ALDI South remained even more true to the idea of a small product mix and to this day offers only 650 articles) and business practices. The different approaches are discussed between the brothers, only one item remains undisclosed - profit.In 1998 the ALDI Group owned 3250 stores in Germany and approximately 2700 abroad. The Group continues to expand, today more and more under a different leadership, as both brothers are now well in their seventies. What remains largely unaltered is the same concept as fifty years ago - a small assortment of articles of the highest possible quality at the lowest possible price.Corporate Culture and StructureAs has been mentioned already, since 1961 the ALDI Group is separated into two, quite autonomous parts, ALDI North and ALDI South. As little as there is different between the two sections, these differences are reflected in their corporate culture as much as in their retail outlets. However, an underlying philosophy is common to...

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