Best Buy Transformation Starts At The Bottom

May 19, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Steven Roorda, an analyst with American Express, says Best Buy is going in a distinctly different direction than any of its main competitors. “There’s nobody in the category
that’s doing this,” he says.

What “this” is, according to the Associated Press, is a new way of involving store employees in finding ways for the business to be run more efficiently and productively.

The retailer actively involves employees to help analyze sales by beginning each day with a review of the previous day’s performance.

The Associated Press report cited an instance where a manager noted a drop-off in sales over the lunch hour. The store, at an employee’s suggestion, began staggering lunch
breaks to keep more help on the floor to serve customers during this time of the day.

Amex’s Roorda is impressed. He doesn’t see anyone else putting so much authority in the hands of store-level managers and employees. “It just flips the whole organizational structure
upside-down,” he said.

Moderator’s Comment: Do you believe Best Buy’s employee empowerment program (our term) will help it achieve a marketable
point of difference?

Ultimately, retail stores are only as good as the people who work them.

Most retailers never get the opportunity to truly determine what they have in the way of talent because of the controls they place on stores.

We applaud Best Buy for giving itself, at the very least, the opportunity to find out what it has.
George Anderson – Moderator

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