A client made a confession to me last week: they love FieldStack, but they are not a “Lean” expert. No worries! Retailers can benefit from Lean Retail without becoming Lean geeks.

But she did get me thinking. As clients implement FieldStack’s integrated retail management software, they see the resource and flow efficiencies in action, and really understand Lean Retail. But we don’t want you to wait to experience it to “get” it. So, I am going to take some time over the next several posts to explain the five key principles of Lean.

But First, a Lesson on the History of Lean

Lean is a manufacturing methodology that originated at Toyota in the mid-twentieth century. The Toyota Production System improved the assembly line process that had been created by Henry Ford, increasing efficiency and allowing for a wider variety of offerings.

The efficacy of lean was recognized and promoted in The Machine That Changed the World (Womack, Roos & Jones, 1990). Since then, hundreds of books and research papers, along with countless media stories, have explored the method. 

This has driven adoption across manufacturing and beyond, to sectors including construction, logistics, healthcare, services, and of course, retail. 

Proving Lean in Retail

Lean methodology has been applied in retail with impressive results since the 1980’s by leading global brands such as WalMart, HomeDepot and OfficeMax. A definitive study entitled Operational Leanness and Retail Firm Performance Since 1980 confirmed that “lean produced superior, lasting returns for retailers” both in terms of revenues and of stock market performance (Kroes, et.al, 2018). 

Lean Retail starts with waste reduction to lower costs, improve resource and process efficiency, and increase margins. But it goes far beyond cutting, into the realm of adding value.

In the book Lean Retail & Wholesale (2014), professor Paul Myerson identifies Lean Retail as crucial to retail survival in the new global economy.

But what are the principles of Lean, and how do they touchdown in retail? I will list them here, and then add links as I develop the posts so you can check out the whole series:

  1. Value
  2. Value Streams
  3. Flow
  4. Pull
  5. Perfection

Again, FieldStack’s Retail Management Software will help make your chain Lean even if you don’t get certified in the approach! But, familiarity with the concepts can help bring the magic of the Lean Retail Engine down to Earth. So, my friend, please come back for my upcoming series of posts on the Five Principles of Lean Retail.

Contact FieldStack today to request a demo of our retail management software!

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