By D. Marutschke

This booklet discusses non-stop development thoughts of eastern comfort shop operators. The examine highlights the efforts of businesses working lower than lean administration structures to spot new, dynamic, firm-specific services in hugely aggressive markets.

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Extra resources for Continuous Improvement Strategies: Japanese Convenience Store Systems

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Continuous improvement was possible by the ability of store owners to better observe the relationship between products, customer groups and purchasing time, and accordingly formulate more enhanced hypothesis on future customer demand. For instance, store managers of an outlet located near a high school may consider certain items targeting young students to be particularly popular. If the accuracy of this first hypothesis is confirmed in sales data, order placements can be refined by dividing the customer group into even more detailed subcategories, such as gender and specific age groups, providing the basis for the next step of improvement.

It is worthwhile to mention that the business model was not just copied and transferred to the Japanese market but it was rather the result of the management’s efforts to adapt the US system to the Japanese conditions. The social, legal and economic environment motivated the companies to expand with this new store type in a relatively short time in an attempt to avoid a loss in competitiveness. The success of the individual strategies 36 Continuous improvement strategies is remarkable as large retailers had no knowledge on how to build a chain consisting of several hundred small retail stores and required the utilization of suitable and superior knowledge as well as technological systems that had only been available in the US in the past.

This term is generally used by other researchers and industry professionals as well, making the business concept of Japanese CS a prime example of achieving a leading position through epoch-making innovations and advanced management styles. This chapter provides a brief overview of the historical development of CS in Japan and explains influencing factors and characteristics of the retail environment that prompted companies to plan, develop and implement this new store format in the late 1960s. Subsequent to this overview, the respective functions of the ‘convenience store system’ are discussed.

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