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• Private label products made in Radio Shack's own factories • Combined with Private label products from OEM providers • Combined with over 2000 hard to find parts with high gross profit • Combined with long term promotional planning • Combined with no-nonsense catalog, print, TV, and radio advertising This plan turned the distribution channel into a money machine, but somewhere along the line RadioShack executives decided they needed brand names. They forgot about the merchandising advantages of selling their exclusive line of private label electronics and became dependent on low-margin me-too products. The Forgotten Secret of Leadership In an intersection not too far from Radio Shack's home office, once stood a statue of Charles Tandy, the man who bought Radio Shack in 1963 for $300,000. Now ensconced in TCU, for 28 years his bronze image with signature cigar in hand overlooked The Trinity River and North up Main Street in Ft. Worth, Texas. He could chew you up and chew you out, but there was something about him that demanded respect and admiration. He possessed an extraordinary business mind and a burning passion for retailing. I met him a couple a times in the early 70s. I didn't know him well, but in my work life I could smell the smoke of his cigar each day. It was like he was right there with me. And it wasn't just me. He inspired everyone in the company. Lew Kornfeld, who was President of Radio Shack at the time, told me a story that illustrated the secret of Charles Tandy's management style. Lew said, ‘First Charles would take a fork and a sack of peas from his drawer. He would carefully place the peas on the fork until the fork couldn't hold any more. He would then count the peas. Then he would put the fork and the peas back in the drawer. ‘Then Charles would call you into his office. He'd open his drawer and pull out the fork. Then he'd look you in the eye and say in a stern voice, “How many peas will this fork hold?” ‘We had to constantly think ahead and try to anticipate what Charles might want.’ In the past nine years, RadioShack has had seven CEOs. Not one them had a fork or a pea in his drawer. HN HN hownet

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HOWnet Magazine March 2015  

The webzine of HOWnet, aimed at assisting wireless companies worldwide increase their sales, increase their ARPU, reduce their COA, and impr...

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