Cook & Associates

Management Consultants
Productivity Evaluation Program


Cook & Associates was founded over 35 years ago. We are a boutique consulting organization. Our objective is not to provide everything to everyone — our only service is designing and implementing results-oriented Labor Management Programs by utilizing our industrial engineering skills and our proprietary software PEP (Productivity Evaluation Program).

Our philosophy has always been: To excel, do one thing better than anyone else ! Of course, we seamlessly integrate with various Warehouse Management Systems, Time & Attendance Systems , Human Resource Programs, etc., etc., but we let them do their thing while we focus on labor management. Using this approach we have serviced many quality clients over the years, including:


NordstromNeiman MarcusDavid's BridalLacosteHudson's BayToys R UsSaks Fifth AvenueTommy HilfigerMacy'sVillery & BochTravelersKaiser PermanenteBarneys New YorkLiz Claiborne New YorkBloomingdalesMatalanAT&TMc Graw HillSingerEPAAmerican Consolidation, Inc.Dynamic Distribution WorldwideWarner Bros.Thomas & BettsKimberly-Clark


Don Cook is President of Cook & Associates. After serving as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, he joined Booz Allen & Hamilton management consultants. Following this position, Don founded Cook & Associates. With the firm, he has provided consulting assistance to a wide variety of clients and has done extensive work to improve productivity and service in retail activities. This includes buyers' offices, merchandise checking and marking, receiving and shipping, storage and picking, order fulfillment, credit handling, check-out counters, and garment alterations. He created the Labor Management Program PEP and has directed over 200 installations.

Don holds a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Rutgers University and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Washington. He is a registered Professional Engineer and member of Beta Gamma Sigma, a business honor society. He has published articles on productivity improvement, efficient workplace layout, and the use of simulation to solve golf course waiting line problems. Don is a member of the Rutgers Industrial Engineering Advisory Board.

Our Approach to Managing People and Process

Although benchmarking is a popular consultant approach to determine how an organization compares with its peers, its use is very limited. If the data is favorable, everyone is happy. If it's not, managers spend considerable time justifying their low ranking based on types of merchandise, value-added services, processing systems, etc. Often they're right!

Our approach centers on each specific client and helps answer questions such as:

  • I'm not sure what my people are doing, or even what they should be doing?
  • Who are our high and low performers and how can we reward or coach them?
  • How do I answer employees who ask why they're paid the same as others who do half the work?
  • We use a lot of temp staff and overtime, but are they cost-effective?
  • Do we have the best techniques to balance staff with work volume?
  • Are stores correct when they say merchandise isn't ticketed properly and it doesn't arrive on time?

graph showing performance over a time period in phases.

To help our clients answer these questions and many more, our approach concentrates on improving productivity and service by giving clients the necessary training and tools to reach their "Effective Operating Level". Another way of putting this is to help clients do the best with what they have! To Cook & Associates, this focuses on providing the following:

  • Cost-effective measurement of productivity, timeliness and quality
  • Accurate staff scheduling
  • Equitable employee incentives

In addition, during implementation we make sure the Labor Management Program is designed to be flexible enough to help clients again reach an effective operating level as processing requirements, methods, and systems change. Overall the LMP must of course be carefully engineered, but just as important, it must be a practical, human-oriented program; not an engineering and system masterpiece !