The Philosophy Behind Groceries
What do Plato and Aristotle have in common with yogurt and pasta? Plenty according to Paul Mahony, a 1998 graduate of the Saint Mary’s philosophy program.
“Majoring in philosophy has helped me develop excellent communication skills, analytical skills and the ability to account for one’s actions. Without these skills, one would be doomed in the position I’m in,” he says.
Paul works in the area of space management for Atlantic Wholesalers Ltd. (owned by Loblaw Companies). It’s his job to decide how much space and location a product will be given on the shelf in grocery stores like Atlantic Superstore.
“My job affords me the opportunity to deal with various people both within and outside the organization,” says Paul. “The decisions that I make are almost always made in light of many opinions put forward by individuals with various, and most often differing objectives. Taking all of the information supplied, and then coming to a resolution that best meets the needs of our organization involves a great deal of analysis.”
Companies compete for shelf space for their product; they all want maximum space and visibility. We are all familiar with grocery stores, but have we ever considered why one brand of yogurt is on the top shelf and another is on the bottom?. These are the critical decisions that Paul helps make on a daily basis.
Paul keeps a close eye on what the competition is doing in order to make sure the company remains a key player in the competitive grocery business. He prepares and analyzes profitability reports, and communicates regularly with the various administrators in the company. He says his university education has taught him a great deal about how to be an effective communicator.
“Many businesses today are seeking people with a liberal arts background for they feel they can offer the kind of innovation and diversification that will help move them forward. Let’s face it, anyone can cut costs but smart businesses are the ones that are both innovative and diverse,” says Paul.
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