HONG KONG -- IGA is using employee training programs to boost productivity and profitability in the Pacific Rim, company officials said in presentations last week at the Food Marketing Institute's AsiaMart '96 here.
Through its training arm, IGA University in Singapore, the Chicago-based independent supermarket network has developed a series of programs to tackle some management problems cropping up in the Far East, notably increased wage costs and personnel shortages linked to rapid business expansion in the region, said Vincent Kong, IGA's director of training for the Association of Southeastern Asian Nations.
By focusing on and investing in programs like the "Certificate in Store Operations Management" and the "Diploma in Retail and Wholesale Management," retailers can be in a better position to overcome problems in store operations, Kong said. "The key question we need to ask ourselves is, are our store managers adequately and properly trained to do their job efficiently and competently? Relevant, structured and practical store manager training is the key to modern retail management."
This year's AsiaMart conference addressed a variety of food retailing issues operators face in the increasingly competitive region. Seminars focused on topics like Asian retailing trends, category management, technology, foreign investment opportunities, food safety and employee training.
IGA's programs -- created for the Asian market and implemented in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore -- have been successful and will serve as prototypes in other global trade areas, IGA spokesman Kevin Burkum told SN. All Asian retailers, even those outside the IGA family, can take advantage of the programs, he said.
"These programs are one of the key reasons that our growth has been so successful there [in Asia]," Burkum said.