Retail

All Expertise

Operations

We help boost operational excellence in stores and across the retail supply chain.

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Superior strategy depends on reliable, efficient fulfillment. To achieve sustainable success, retailers must keep the promises they make to their customers day in and day out. At the same time, retailers need to keep a close watch on operational costs to protect their profits.

We work with retailers to achieve operational excellence. Typically, our consultants focus on:

  • Lean retail
    Focuses on improving efficiency and reducing waste in all in-store processes. We help clients roll out strategic changes to the frontline to improve processes, including technology-enabled solutions.
  • Frontline operations
    Helps retailers improve customer service in stores, drive transactions and basket sizes, attract and retain highly engaged employees, and improve leadership from store and field managers
  • Retail supply chain management
    Improves the flow of goods from the supplier to the shelf through better planning and implementation. Improvements raise service levels, cut costs, and optimize inventory management.
  • Sourcing optimization
    Helps retailers refine their provider portfolio, including branded goods, private labels, and indirect purchasing through third parties. We work with clients to streamline ordering processes, bundle for volume, and renegotiate contracts and conditions.
  • Multichannel and online operations
    Creates a compelling customer experience across channels without compromising on operational efficiency. We help clients manage the cost of multichannel order fulfillment to ensure profitability.
  • Retail real estate
    Helps retailers optimize their network and become leaner in how they plan and execute construction. Our experts also work with client teams to optimize real estate management processes.

We also work with clients on all purchasing-related issues, including supplier selection and partnerships

Tools and solutions

Over the course of more than 400 operations-focused engagements in 5 years, we have developed proven tools to help retailers quickly assess their operations, prioritize improvement initiatives, and boost their end-to-end performance. Examples include the following:

  • Lean Retail Diagnostic offers in-store diagnostic tools to identify and quantify waste and test the impact of pilot improvement efforts.
  • Lean Retailing Toolkit combines more than 30 individual tools to assess and boost frontline performance.
  • Supply Chain Management Toolkit helps retailers identify strengths across the supply chain function and target areas for improvement.
  • Network Optimization and Design Tool models flow allocation to optimize the number and location of platforms (distribution centers/warehouses).
  • Labor Scheduling Tool calculates a store’s workload based on factors such as format, operating hours, and backroom configuration, enabling retailers to schedule merchandizing and administrative activities, and assign staff accordingly. The tool helps store and area managers deliver the desired customer experience while controlling cost.

Learn more about our Operations Practice.

Meet our people

Sajal Kohl

Sajal Kohli

Director

Latest thinking

articles | McKinsey & CompanySupply chain

McKinsey on Supply Chain

This collection of articles offers insights to help chain leaders keep costs down but also keep an eye on the strategic horizon.

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