Overall, giving more autonomy to local coops to manage the downturn would be counterproductive as they would be giving up the economies of scale associated with the buying power of the larger cooperative wholesaler. In addition, the corporate services provided by FCL does lower the overhead costs of all retails. The challenge for FCL is really engaging individual coops in devising the overall recovery plan as listening and responding is important to getting the buy-in that is needed.
Individual coops need to understand that FCL will not necessarily be the cheapest option on every single product and this cannot be a measure of success of the wholesaler. However, FCL has to be transparent enough to show that the CRS is stronger working together than going off as a bunch of individuals.
Getting on the same page is critical. A key way to manage this is ensuring that relationships between FCL and member coops is strong and building through the good times so that these relationships can be relied upon to get the system through the bad times. We can never overlook that we have to always be building trust. The investment will always pay off as it provides the legitimacy when it is required most.
There is no question that we are stronger working together. But as this section articulates well, individual interests can swamp rational decision making when trust and therefore legitimacy are weakened.