How to build even better performing Retail organisations

Introduction

If you type ‘Excellence’ at Amazon, you will get more than 21,000 books. Behind all that overkill of models, roadmaps and advice there are ultimately only a few useful principles. In this whitepaper we will introduce 6 operational excellence principles for creating even better performing Retail organisations.

6 principles for operational excellence

We believe that the following principles will enable you to create even better performing Retail organisations:

#1 – Focus on customer value

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” – Bill Gates

Typically, people in operational processes often get lost in the day-to-day activities. There is one crucial question: “are we doing the right things?”. With the right things we mean: activities that ultimately add value for the customer. Customer value creation is the key driver of success for every Retail organisation. By regularly asking feedback from your customers and by designing products and services that your customers really want, you can increase customer value and grow your business. All non-value added activities could be eliminated.

#2 – Know where you stand

‘If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else’ – Lawrence J. Peter

To know where you stand, you first have to know where you are going. Then it is important to know whether you are ahead or behind schedule. Clarify your strategic vision, objectives and priorities and communicate the reasons for change and the risk of not changing. In order to successfully implement your strategy, you need to translate your aspirations into calls to action. It is advisable to create a leading transition team and to regularly assess your progress. Good program, project and change management is important to ensure you meet your objectives.

#3 – Standards as basis for improvement

‘Structure follows strategy’ – Alfred Chandler

In order to successfully implement your strategic vision you will have to carefully design the organisation and determine the necessary supporting organisational conditions. Communicating clear expectations about roles, best practices and tools (standards) can stimulate uniformity and reliability. Working with standards can be seen as the equivalent of a GPS route: it helps you to quickly and safely move to a certain destination. Standards can also be used as a basis for improvement.

#4 – Skilled and motivated people

“Employees who find meaning at work are more competent, committed, and contributing” – Dave Ulrich

It is all about people: it starts and ends with building energised and competent people who believe in the ambition of the organisation and act together to pursue common goals. It is important to have the right people on the bus with the right skills to do what is necessary and to engage and support them and developing their skills and talents. Managers should lead by example, give every action purpose and challenge, empower and coach people to give their absolute best. In order to stimulate selfownership and accountability, you should leave the design and control of the work to the employees themselves as much as possible.

#5 – Strong collaboration

‘The total is greater than the sum of all parts’ – Steve Jobs

Collaborators make a difference. Organisations can become more effective and innovative by improving in- and external collaboration and by sharing knowledge. We must move away from the silo mentality and blame culture. It is important to regularly meet with your business partners. Collaboration can be conducted by a rhythm of goal-oriented meetings and dialogues. Speak out your expectations and evaluate your collaboration.

#6 – Continuous improvement

‘We need organisations that are a lot more adaptable, innovative, and inspiring, but no less efficient and disciplined’ – Gary Hamel

Finally, nothing remains static. You need to gain commitment to a core strategy but also respond in the moment. If the strategy or organisational design doesn’t work, you need to adapt. The ability to manage an organisation dynamically and to rapidly adapt is becoming the most important source of competitive advantage. You can improve your organisational agility by creating an “analysis – focus – execution – evaluation” platform with dedicated expertise for continuous improvement.
This platform can be used for sharing knowledge and best practice, to collect and act on feedback for improvement potential from employees and customers and to learn from mistakes and past successes. Engage your employees and stakeholders in joint improvement and innovation efforts and do remember to celebrate success.

Important to look at the whole picture

‘People who look at the whole picture have the best chance of succeeding in any endeavour’ – John Maxwell

Beware of the risks of not focusing on all principles. If one or more are neglected, than it can have severe consequences for the end results. The better the organisation becomes at executing these 6 principles, the more successful the organisation will become.

Our operational excellence maturity scan

Assess your own score on how well your organisation is performing on the 6 principles for better performing Retail organisations. We offer a maturity scan that gives you a clear picture of your improvement potential. We also offer a practical toolbox that will help you move forward.

Please feel free to contact us for more information. We would gladly like to assess your improvement potential in a free, no-obligation appointment where and when it suits you.