Chapter 4

The Architecture of the Business

When I worked at a major food retailer in Chicago, I was part of a cross-functional team that designed new stores. When I objected to small back rooms in a store, I heard advice for the ages: Set conditions that help people do the right thing. In this store's back rooms, that meant the limited space would drive excellence in stocking shelves and ordering, to prevent the out-of-stock situations that drive customers away.

It elegantly reversed the instinct that more inventory would reduce out-of-stocks. And it worked to simplify the management job because there was little backroom stock to be counted, repositioned, dragged, and dragged again out to the store aisle to be put on the shelf. It was “flow” ...

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