For the last 15+ years, I’ve dealt with that question in one form or another.
In 1995, I began my career in management at Best Buy as an inventory manager in Columbus Ohio. Best Buy at that point was in the midst of transition to going full bore nationwide. There were a ton of things changing, through a consulting firm, Best Buy looked at other retailers to learn their “best practices” and determined ways to implement them. From receiving methodologies to merchandising and sales, things changed and Best Buy had to manage those changes. These changes eventually became known as “SOP” (Standard Operation Platform), and at the district level, they hired people known as “Change Implementation Managers” to lead the store staff (beginning at the managerial level) through these various changes. Constantly at the forefront was the need of management (even TO management) to learn “what’s in it for me?” What was the benefit to the people in the warehouse to unload trucks in a certain way? How did that truck process help the merchandising staff? The sales staff? The cashier staff? Ultimately, it came down to this, each “silo” within the store (sales, merchandising, inventory/warehouse and operations) had to learn the big picture. It was the big picture, the vision, the mission of the overall company that drove those individual processes. If the management was able to create this larger vision and understanding within the store, the culture itself would be changed, because everyone was part of a larger team, a larger purpose.
I was no longer “just” an inventory handler, I was part of something bigger than myself. What I did impacted the rest of the store. If I was careless in my receiving process and missed something, or something was incorrectly tagged, then come inventory time, we’d be short. If I was a sales person, and wrote something down wrong, or grabbed the wrong box, there’d be a pricing error or an inventory problem. If I were a merchandising team member, and I put something on the wrong peghook, or tagged something wrong, there might be an error. As a cashier, a mis-ring, or missed scan would again cause an inventory problem. Our goal, was to communicate that being a cashier was not just “being a cashier.” Regardless of my position, every task and role that I performed had an impact on every other role and task within the store.
Often, however, we would see the various “sides” of the business silo. Operations would focus on operations, sales on sales, etc. This always created heavy damage within the organization. Why? We’ll talk about that tomorrow.