Tag Archives: Tesco

Agile PDSA

Dr. Deming encouraged the use of the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle to improve. Agile Management encourages a similar mindset – to test out ideas in practice and adapt quickly. A key to both strategies is to quickly iterate over possible solutions. Tesco provides an example of this strategy:

This was our first opening since we took our 12 week pause, after we had opened 61 stores at breakneck speed. We used that time to reflect on what customers had told us they liked, and what they’d like to see improved – and then to improve the shopping trip for them.

For example, customers told us that they really liked our prepared meals, made fresh daily in our purpose-built kitchen, but they wanted a wider selection to choose from. So we’ve developed and introduced a number of new products for them.

Of course, you could argue that this is all a sign of weakness, that we had got things wrong. But that would be to misunderstand the way we do business.

Listening, and then acting on it, is in our view the way to build long-term relationships with customers. It means our shopping trip is always improving, and staying in tune with changing needs. It’s a simple win-win. Customers get a better and better shopping trip, and we become more successful.

At the time Tesco paused the expansion I mentioned it seemed to me they should have allowed more time for PDSA.

To me, it is enormously important to design management systems that support and encourage continual improvement. That is much more important than superior results today. Results today are also, important, but a choice between an inflexible system that produce good results today and a flexible system with results not quite as good is not a close choice. Good management improvement requires continual improvement and therefore systems must be designed to support and encourage continual improvement.

Related: Experiment Quickly and OftenI own Tesco stockmanagement improvement tipsTesco: Lean Provision

Tesco Pauses USA Expansion

Pausing for reath at fresh & easy (Tesco’s USA stores)

We’ve opened 31 stores in 66 days so far this year…now we’re pausing for breath…
However, after opening our first 50, we planned to have a 3 month break from openings, and other than a couple more in Phoenix, we’re taking it (albeit, in our usual fashion, with 59 stores already open).

We’ve learnt a huge amount about running the operation, and talked to thousands of customers about what they like about fresh&easy, and where they’d like us to improve. So we’ve given ourselves a little bit of time to kick the tires, smooth out any wrinkles, and make some improvements that customers have asked for. Of course, improving the operation and the shopping trip is what we do every day.

But the next 3 months will allow us to accelerate this process, before we restart what’s been described as an opening program on steroids.

There have been some rumors in the blogosphere and regular press that the stores are not living up to expectations. Tesco denies this but it is hard to tell if this is typical public relations where disappointments are seen as something to deceive the public about, or the truth. Pausing to access and adjust makes all the sense in the world.

In fact it would seem to me to be the preferred method before 50 are in place. However I can see there might be reasons to expand rapidly too. I think if it were up to me I would try to PDSA with fewer stores first, and then expand but I don’t really know the business so…

It is a bit scary that the Fresh and Easy blog references Tony Robbins on continual improvement rather than Deming or Ohno or Womack or someone part of the lean thinking community.

Related: Lean Provision at TescoTesco in the USAWhat Innovation Means to TescoLean Retailing10 Stocks for 10 Years Update