KAIZEN™ and Innovation in Retail
In a constantly evolving market, being unique plays a key role in capturing consumer attention. In a time where demand is high and the entry of new players into the market is an everyday event, companies wishing to overcome the competition in their sector will have to focus on innovation as the key component to enable growth.
Retail Market Trends
Nowadays, it is possible to foresee the trends within the retail sector years in advance. Below are some interesting trends that can already be noticed:
1. Ethics: the consumer will become more aware of the origins of an acquired product, the conditions that the workforce find themselves in during development and distribution, management practices employed, the sustainability of the product itself and the environment from which it comes.
2. Smart living: the consumer will prefer total automation when it comes to their day-to-day purchases, saving them time and giving them a sense of service without leaving the house.
3. Do it for me: the consumer will no longer have the time to perform activities where they see no added value. Take the example of consumers who like to cook their own meals, but still rely on the retailer to do the picking, packing and delivery of the ingredients ready for use.
4. Artificial Intelligence: the introduction of robotics in retail, reassigning people to more value-adding tasks. In recent years, McDonald’s took advantage of machines to take orders and payments automatically, reallocating a part of its staff to a new activity considered to help in differentiating themselves from other fast-food chains – table service.
5. Autonomous supply chains: the concept of autonomous cars and robotics is going to drastically change the retail supply chain, with significant alterations to their delivery process.
6. Customer loyalty: gaining the trust of consumers will be increasingly difficult. The wide range of offerings in the market has resulted in weaker consumer resistance to “shopping around”, meaning that any error made by a company may prove costly.
The Upstream Approach
It is not only necessary that organisations are aware of the market trends, but also that they are prepared to monitor and push themselves to the forefront of these trends at the right time. With changes mostly associated with technology and the ability to adapt, it is with an upstream perception that KAIZEN™ Lean Methodology plays an even more critical role. Before an advanced technological solution is introduced, we believe that processes and supply chains must be Lean and highly optimised. The minimisation of all activities that do not add value for the customer will automatically allow for the increase in productivity and flexibility, the reduction of costs, and greater excellence in customer service. Developing team skills to enable continuous improvement is one of the key drivers for a solid technological evolution. Only by doing this will the potential investment of your company be transformed into results.
In conclusion, market changes in the retail sector must be faced head-on with KAIZEN™ principles incorporated into the company strategy, in order to ensure the continued success of the business.
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