from Allan Kirkwood, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
Sir; I read with interest Lucy Neville-Rolfe's Saturday Essay about Tesco Express (The Grocer, December 7). However I vividly remember Sir Richard Greenbury, a year or so after the great Marks and Spencer debacle, confirming in an interview something that I had observed in the services, and later in civilian life. The bad comments do not reach the top.
Yes, there are managers like Tesco's Rob, who will go out of their way to service the customer, and long may they do so. But I perceive the problem as being the huge pressure on managers to perform, and when asked by top management, via reports, Are we doing OK? Any problems?', back comes the response, We're fine'.
No one admits to huge problems with stock, via poor delivery/non-delivery/stock wastage/staff shortages/, etc. These problems are discussed between warehouse and immediate line managers, sometimes in angry detail, but are diluted on the way up.
Huge' becomes some', so no real picture of a problem reaches the decision makers at head office who see only global problems and content themselves with the fact the company is making a profit. Up and down the line short cuts are taken and reports are massaged.
After all, what manager, having reached his position through hard work and sweat, will put in a report saying he or she is struggling to cope.
Not just in Tesco I hasten to add. I like Tesco. I bought shares, but sold when Lord MacLaurin left (yes I know, I should have kept them). Has Tesco ever tried anonymous response enquiries?