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Better, simpler, cheaper and faster working is a continuing part of the Musgrave plan to increase efficiencies. And it’s not just an aim of this company but being studied from all angles by companies wordwide. Our approach, however, is to encourage participation and teamwork, not to impose it. And one of the tools we use to do that is called kaizen, though you might know it by its English equivalent: continuous improvement.

This Japanese innovation fits in well with the Musgrave ethos, as it’s not only about improving functions, but involves all employees from shop floor to senior management. And it certainly pays off, as a recent report on the warehouse used by the Airport Road, Cork branch of Marketplace showed. Staff noticed areas of congestion and problems with product availability. All these were minor on their own and easy to rectify but brought great improvements — and savings.

And the concept extends to other areas. We have already blogged in April about its application to the promotions process. However, stock management, day-to-day running of stores and numerous other kaizen initiatives now under way will save hundreds of thousands of euros. More importantly, perhaps, they get staff across the board involved and feeling a genuine part of making us a better, more efficient place to work.

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