Topco Associates

  www.topco.com
  www.topco.com
Work in HR? Unlock Free Profile

Topco Associates Reviews

Updated August 22, 2014
Updated August 22, 2014
38 Reviews
2.3
38 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Topco Associates President & CEO Randall J. Skoda
Randall J. Skoda
16 Ratings

8 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Company going through a rough patch

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Associate Category Manager  in  Elk Grove Village, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Associate Category Manager in Elk Grove Village, IL

    I have been working at Topco Associates full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    -Good place to make industry connections
    -Good place to get a job straight out of school since they always are in need of people regardless of background
    -Pension plan for those who were hired before 2009

    Cons

    -No training or mentorship of any kind
    -Career opportunities are out of need and not out of merit
    -Transformation is becoming the focus of the company while its business continues to suffer
    -No communications plan of any kind, despite hiring a new communications team... and to top it all off they are starting to place phony reviews on this site to detract from the concerns being cited by employees or former employees (shame on you)
    -Ridiculous workload for non-directors
    -Low compensation
    -Turnover during the past 6 months has been record breaking (a lot of the capable people have left or are planning to leave)
    -Culture of fear
    -Old systems in place with new, more complicated systems on the way (think of an elementary school student flying a jet instead of riding a bike)... very asinine

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Think of what the members want and do it -- what you are doing will cripple the business
    Prevent the few performing people you have from leaving -- things aren't always how the transformation team makes it seem -- those guys aren't trusted by anyone
    Hold people accountable -- don't just take "i need more staff" as an answer

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Horrible atmosphere...in planning department

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Topco Associates for less than a year

    Pros

    Ability to learn a lot about the food industry. Nice workplace in regards building.

    Cons

    Difficult time to work with the structural changes. The new employees seem to be good friends of people in management. Regular associates are undervalued and their work is improperly evaluated.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    has so much potential, but falls short

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Skokie, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Skokie, IL

    I have been working at Topco Associates full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Great benefit package! That cannot be disputed. I applaud Topco for maintaining excellent health, dental and vision insurance as well as nice PTO. Many of the people at this company are wonderful to work with. Decent location, but the organization is in the process of moving. Topco is working to improve the workflow, boost morale, and be a better overall organzation, but as I note later, they have a long journey to get there, and I hope they do.

    Cons

    Lacking communcation, very "siloed". not a technologically forward company. No team spirit, unmotivated associates, no accountability for low performers or individuals who road-block projects or initiatives. At Topco, it seems its every associate for himself, department versus department. No shared vision, no willingness to try to acheive company goals. I must say, Topco IS trying to change this, but they have a very long way to go.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in technology to speed up processes (ie? move on to firefox, get faster machines, offer vpn, etc). Get rid of low performers (they may be nice, but if the job isnt getting done, get rid of that person(s), and people with poor attitues. Offer a real bonus program.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  4. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good place to work if you're just looking for a job rather than a career.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Skokie, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Skokie, IL

    I have been working at Topco Associates

    Pros

    Topco is a good place to work if you're the type the likes to be governed/micromanaged. The employees are generally friendly. Within departments, a sense of community is received.

    Cons

    Communication seriously lacks within this organization. Employees are more apt to "pass the buck" rather than taking responsibility for duties assigned to them. Promotions are few and far between with little difference in pay.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    An incentive program would be a good way to improve employee moral. The only incentive to do the job well, is fear in losing said job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Grateful for experience after college, but some management needs some maturing to do.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Buyer's Assistant/Member Service Associate  in  Skokie, IL
    Current Employee - Buyer's Assistant/Member Service Associate in Skokie, IL

    I have been working at Topco Associates

    Pros

    - free food very often
    - get to learn AS400 and a little bit of Hyperion
    - good experience with fast paced customer service via email and phone
    - convention once a year in the spring time is over the top and very fun and interesting
    - stable company that especially thrives when people have to rely on generic food instead of brand name food when the economy worsens and the unemployment rate increases
    - sales volume from the total number of member-owners (customers), the grocery stores you serve, have been second to Wal-Mart, according to upper management.

    Cons

    - if you are good at brown-nosing you will have a high chance at becoming management, even if you have peers that have much more years experience and wealth of knowledge than you do
    - don't expect to learn the much more updated systems/applications now out there like SAP and such, you are stuck with AS400, and they are comfortable with never changing because they don't want to invest into how much it will cost to change and update
    - there is some training available but definitely not as thorough as it should be
    - some people do get promoted, but there are still people who have worked there for many many years and they are practically at the same level except probably with increased salary over the course of years with good reviews and of course, you will attain more accounts = even more work to multitask which becomes extremely fast paced.
    - although some generic food can be somewhat comparable to brand name food, sometimes the quality is certainly not the greatest
    - if you like using Excel and Access, don't expect to be using it much at all. It's Outlook and AS400 all the way.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Update your systems/applications because they are becoming very antiquated.
    People promoted to management should be based on merit of course, but with definitely a bit more years of experience and more wealth of knowledge than someone who just got out of college a couple years prior.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Topco University

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Visalia, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Visalia, CA

    I have been working at Topco Associates

    Pros

    Benefits are good compared to most companies. Good stable income.

    Cons

    Bonuses for upper management only. Most people leave for better salaried jobs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Share bonuses with lower level employees

    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Great company, but associate level employees are undervalued

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Buyer/Member Service Coordinator  in  Skokie, IL
    Former Employee - Assistant Buyer/Member Service Coordinator in Skokie, IL

    I worked at Topco Associates

    Pros

    Employee Benefits
    Pension Program after five years of employment
    Very Generous Prizes at Annual Employee Meetings
    Company is unaffected (actually it thrives) in poor economy

    Cons

    Low compensation
    Low opportunity for career advancement
    Low annual merit increases
    New HR staff is making many changes that are not in employees favor

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    n/a

    No opinion of CEO
  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    A "House of Cards"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager
    Current Employee - Manager

    I have been working at Topco Associates

    Pros

    Topco Associates, LLC is a good place for entry level employees to start their careers. If you land there, you can develop strong contacts throughout the retail grocery industry and also the private-label CPG industry. This can lead to better opportunities later in your career.

    Topco is also a good place for senior management regarding salary structure and bonus potential. The cooperative is very profitable and the ability to maximize bonuses is good for now.

    Cons

    Topco has undertaken a strategy of "change before it is needed". They reference companies in the auto industry as examples of "dinosaur"- like companies that did not change quickly enough and then suffered huge, sometimes fatal, setbacks. Topco has taken some positive steps to correct issues ("retirement" of the CEO in late 2011 was a big one), but other upcoming changes seem to be taking Topco away from its "core" business - which is procurement through aggregation.

    New leadership (not just at the CEO level, but also at the Sr VP and VP levels) want to take this company in a new direction of being a "single solution" for the member retailers. This means focusing on total category management and analysis - which may be a duplication of efforts that are already in place at most member retailers. .

    For example, Topco has been talking internally for several years about how to best leverage a category on both the Private Label and National Brands sides. Even though Topco is best known in the industry as a PL company, it also has a small group that works on behalf of the member retailers on National Brand opportunities. The National Brand effort is small compared to the other Topco business, in part because the members have not completely embraced this initiative - which hinders Topco's efforts to engage large CPG companies. But, perhaps the biggest issue is that the leadership at Topco is completely unaware of how to make the National Brand initiative work. They do not focus on it at all and leave the VP in charge of the department alone. This has proven to be problematic, especially within the last two years as the leadership of the National Brands department at Topco changed. Current leadership of this department has not taken the time to "learn the core" business, either, and is not succeeding. Senior leadership is not fully aware of the issues in the National Brands department but will more than likely figure it out once some key members speak up.

    The retailers join Topco for the benefits of aggregation and it remains to be seen how being a total solution can leverage the aggregation process and provide a value to the members or the CPG community. These new initiatives at Topco will require strong leadership at many levels internally (which is not a given) and also strong support from the member retailers (which means that the member retailers will truly have to work together....which is a pipe dream). Topco may be better off to understand that it is better to be profitable in your core business than to try to expand into areas where there may not be opportunities.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on your core business. There are so many current gaps in distribution in the core that if even a small percentage were addressed, there would be growth. Topco needs to get better at the core business before looking elsewhere.

    Also, monitor your Sr VPs and VPs alot more closely. Currently, there is one EVP. There needs to be another one in place soon....perhaps even more than that. The VP level has far too much autonomy and is liable to make some strategically bad decisions. These bad decisions are almost a given within the current environment.

    Focus on all departments, not just the big ones. If you have decided that there is a need for a department (program), then don't let it sit off in the corner of the building and "do its own thing". Understand what that department needs to be successful (and that could mean something different by department and not a "cookie-cutter" answer). The National Brands department is a "diamond in the rough". Upwards of 70 percent of the products in the member retailer's stores are Branded products, yet virtually no focus is given to this effort within Topco and the current leader of the department is strategically weak and unaware on how to proceed.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

Worked for Topco Associates? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.