Bob's Appliances sells and services household appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, ranges, and refrigerators. Over the years, the company has developed a good reputation for the quality of its customer service, and many local builders patronize the store. Recently, some new appliance retailers, including Best Buy, have opened stores that also provide numerous appliances. To attract more customers, however, these stores also carry a complete range of consumer electronics products?televisions, stereos, and computers. Bob Lange, the owner of Bob's Appliances, has decided that if he is to stay in business, he must widen his product range and compete directly with the chains.
He decided to build a 20,000 square-foot store and service center, and he is now hiring new employees to sell and service the new line of consumer electronics. Because of his company's increased size, Lange is not sure of the best way to organize the employees. Currently, he uses a functional structure?employees are divided into sales, purchasing and accounting, and repair. Bob is wondering whether selling and servicing consumer electronics is so different than selling and servicing appliances that he should move to a product structure (see the figure) and create separate sets of functions for each of his two lines of business.
You are a local consultant whom Bob has called in to advise him as he makes this crucial choice. Which structure do you recommend? Why?
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