Your retail operation costs a lot of money and a big percentage of your budget. Retail operations are a key driver for your company’s performance and overall financial commitments. It’s essential that each pound spent on retail operations is spent wisely.

Retail store operations have a considerable scale too, far bigger than other industries when you consider the number of outlets that you’re trading or operating.

You’re working with a large number of retail colleagues and there are often challenges around culture, staff turnover and ideal skillsets.

In fact, it’s often said that retail is only “putting cans of beans on the shelf.” True – but I’m guessing that you don’t work for “The Bean Store” and that your range is probably deeper than just one SKU. If you’re carrying a range of thousands of products and selling across multiple sites, covering a large geography – then you’ll know that retail can be a little bit more complicated!

That complication often adds waste into the operation – excessive travel, re-work, double moving. This wasted effort and time causes headaches and can add considerable cost. This waste also distracts your store colleagues and managers from serving customers. In turn, this stops you from building the lifetime loyalty that retailers crave.


However, even though you’re controlling costs in stores, if they’re not performing for the business, that’s a problem. Couple that with an inconsistent approach that can confuse and frustrate customers and you have a big and expensive challenge on your hands.

To solve these challenges, you need a clear retail operating model.

Lean Six Sigma is a great approach to take to eliminate waste and reduce variation. It’s a proven set of tools and techniques to increase effectiveness (doing the right thing) and efficiency (doing things right).


Multiple locations and different formats make it challenging to find a “one size fits all” operation.


Your staff become frustrated with the job whilst customers demand better service and experience.


Stores operate differently with varied ways of working and mixed standards.


Managers and teams strive to hit KPIs but the company isn’t meeting the overall performance targets.


To solve these challenges, you need a clear retail operating model.

Lean Six Sigma is a great approach to take to eliminate waste and reduce variation. It’s a proven set of tools and techniques to increase effectiveness (doing the right thing) and efficiency (doing things right).

You need to engineer a lean operating model to focus on activities and processes that customers value and that delivers results for your business. You can optimise essential processes by eliminating waste, resulting in a reduced cost base.

I use a combination of my Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma, my engineering heritage and retail experience to design, define and refine a Target Operating Model that fits your business, your values and your strategy.


Greater understanding of what really matters for customers and an ability to truly focus on what’s critical.


Simpler processes that are easier to do, with consistent ways of working and clear standards.


Strong use of data to drive factual decision making, resulting in greater clarity of the existing retail operation and the real challenges.


Greater operational efficiency allows you to do more with less.

Defining your Target Operating Model will also allow you to set up step change programmes that allow you to land changes and realise the benefits piece by piece. You’ll instantly have a platform to continuously improve.



I agree wholeheartedly. They should have the personality and values that you and your colleagues want your company to have. Allow your store teams to be themselves in the best way to delight your customers. Make sure you standardise and simplify the ‘boring bits’ that customers won’t see.

An operating model can mean many things to many people. I view it as a set of processes and procedures, coupled with people and technology requirement that allow your stores to be able to deliver for customers and shareholders.

What will happen if they don’t? The Target Operating Model should make life easier for staff and improve stores for customers and shareholders. All stores should take on the change to maximise benefits from using an operating model. Carefully communicating, leading and managing that change will be essential.

The Lean Six Sigma toolkit is great at understanding the true ‘noise’ or variability. Any real points of uniqueness can still be built into a Target Operating Model.


Developing a leaner retail operation will be a great decision for your business.


Effective – more focus on customers


Efficient – better use of each £, $ or € spent


Easy – simpler for everyone involved

I’d love to connect with you to discuss further (even if it’s just to have an interesting and engaging conversation about retail operating models with each other!).

Please reach out and make contact by filling in the form.


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