Topco Associates

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Topco Associates Reviews

Updated Jun 18, 2014

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2.2 34 reviews

38% Approve of the CEO

Topco Associates President & CEO Randall J. Skoda

Randall J. Skoda

(13 ratings)

15% of employees recommend this company to a friend
7 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Horrible atmosphere...in planning department

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

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

    ConsDifficult 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    has so much potential, but falls short

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Skokie, IL

    ProsGreat 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.

    ConsLacking 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 Senior ManagementInvest 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

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

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Skokie, IL

    ProsTopco 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.

    ConsCommunication 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 Senior ManagementAn 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

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

    Buyer's Assistant/Member Service Associate (Current Employee) Skokie, IL

    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 Senior ManagementUpdate 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Topco University

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Visalia, CA

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

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

    Advice to Senior ManagementShare bonuses with lower level employees

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Great company, but associate level employees are undervalued

    Assistant Buyer/Member Service Coordinator (Former Employee) Skokie, IL

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

    ConsLow 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 Senior Managementn/a

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    A "House of Cards"

    Manager (Current Employee)

    ProsTopco 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.

    ConsTopco 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 Senior ManagementFocus 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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