Simplification is a goal for many businesses – but ironically, it can be complicated to get simplification changes delivered. There are pitfalls to watch out for and several different and effective ways to help identify and approach your simplification efforts. Join the host, Oliver Banks, to explore how to make sure you can simplify your retail operations and operating models.

Listen to this episode to discover:

  • The most common challenges with simplification programmes.
  • The different reasons that you might want to focus on a simplification programme.
  • And finally, 5 different sure-fire approaches for kick starting your transformation.

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Why is simplification complicated?

There are a number of reasons why simplification programmes fail. Part of the reason is that they become overly complicated. In the episode, we touched on 7 different root causes or reasons why:

  1. Firstly, often simplification goes hand in hand with short timescales. This leads to rushed decisions and half baked ideas.
  2. Furthermore, the assumption that it is easy and quick to simplify things.
  3. Next, there can be an unclear understanding of the benefits.
  4. Lack of clarity of the change – i.e. what’s new?
  5. Changes not sustained – slipping back to old ways of working
  6. Inconsistent ways of working. This means that different stores / regions / people work in different ways which makes simplification hard as it won’t apply to everyone.
  7. And finally, because there is no clear understanding of the why behind simplification which can cause confusion across different elements.

5 approaches to simplify your retail operating model

In the episode, we dive into explore these a little more. But as a quick memory jogger, they are:

  1. Deploy Lean Six Sigma principles
  2. Process and operating review
  3. Process walkthrough (Gemba walk)
  4. Data and analytics
  5. Contraction

5 reasons why you may want to do simplification (and the best approaches)

As mentioned in the episode, there are a few broad reasons why you may want to do simplification. And depending on what you’re trying to achieve, the approach will be different.

  1. Cost trimming. With this reason, try process reviews and analytics, but don’t also rule out the other options too!
  2. Major cost recalibration. This will be more of the contraction elements, supported by analytics
  3. Colleague or customer feedback. Try a Gemba walk or Lean Six Sigma principles
  4. Refocus on a core capability. The best approaches here would be Lean Six Sigma, Gemba walk, process review
  5. New strategic focus. Try Lean Six Sigma or perhaps Contraction (but would depend on the nature of the initiative.




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