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Beratung nach dem Prinzip der konsequenten Einfachheit

Interview der Retail News Türkei mit Nils Brandes

Artikel vom 03.01.2013

Anlässlich des Erscheinens der türkischen Ausgabe von „Bare Essentials – The ALDI Way to Retail Success“ von Dieter Brandes und Nils Brandes führte das türkische Einzelhandelsmagazin Retail News das folgende Interview mit Nils Brandes (Retail News, Nr. 1, Januar 2013):

Retail News: „What is the difference between ‚Discount‘ and ‚Hard Discount‘?“

Nils Brandes: „Hard Discount is a very consistent version of Discount. Example: A discounter may have 2000 or 3000 items. A Hard Discounter will not easily add items to the assortment and will rather say: ‚Only what is really necessary‘.“

RN: „How did ALDI succeed in terms of getting rid of some key elements in retail?“

NB: „They were lucky. After the war they did not have a lot of money to be spent on a large assortment. They had to concentrate on using little money. Then they found out it works well.“

RN: „You mention that the turkish hard discounter BIM is better than the original in some ways. If we compare BIM and ALDI, what is BIM doing better?“

NB: „BIM is sticking to the original concept what made ALDI successfull. They are consistent. ALDI today has many normal managers from outside. They are tempted. They come from universities and have the same education like all the other managers in other companies. ALDI was always different in their management methods. In many ways ALDI is managed like any other company today.“

RN: „Why do many companies that want to copy the concepts of discount supermarkets fail?“

NB: „They do not know all the secrets behind the curtain. They see the store and can not believe that so little is needed. They think they are more intelligent. Even more intelligent than these excellent models ALDI or BIM. They do not understand that this is about: concentration, consistency, discpline any many techinques like Try & Error. They misunderstand that they always need to add something. Very often it is about resisting, not adding, leaving it or even taking something away.“

RN: „How can the companies learn to cope with complexity? Becoming simple is easy and hard at the same time…“

NB: „Everybody talks about complexity. Especially the consulting companies. In fact, they complicate things. They do not know how to make things simple. Even worse: that is where they get their projects. Obviously, managing simple is not easy. We are not used to make it easy. Our universities do not teach us well. And they make us believe we can control everything and manage everything perfectly. We would only need more information, more control, better IT and so on. No! We need less! We need concentration! We need to answer important questions, like: ‚Why should the customer visit my store?‘ ”

RN: „Where is the best place to start to minimize the bureaucracy level?“

NB: „It all starts with the definition of your business modell. You need to have clear target. Explain it in simple words eveyone understands. İf the target is not clear you have the first source of complexity.“

RN: „You mention that ALDI is selling the product with the minimum price, not the maximum… If there isn’t any guarantee in terms of great amounts of sales, how can a company manage this concept?“

NB: „A Hard Discounter needs to sell mainly what creates volume. If your assortment is small then each item needs to have the higherst possible volume. Volume multiplied with a small margin means high profit. Some other business concepts may work saying small volume but high margin. But that is not Discount or Hard DIscount.“

RN: „ALDI doesn’t do market research. What can companies do to understand the customer behaviour without market research?“

NB: „Watch your customers. Get out of your office yourself. Be a customer yourself. In Retail this is very easy. Then: test it in three of your stores. A test will tell you how it works.“

RN: „You mention the variety of the products on the shelves means less shopping. Does the product variety frighten the customer?“

NB: „Maybe not freighten. But, yes: it means stress. The customer is worried how he can make a good decision. İf he is not able to overview the variety, he does not buy. Too many different sizes, different qualities, different prices, different brands.

RN: „The senior managers and workers in ALDI don’t speek in public.  What does this have to do with simplicity?“

NB: „It is simply concentration on what is important and what really improves the business every day. You do not improve anything if you go to make speeches at conferences, if you give interviews to the press. This is mainly interesting for your competitors. Your customers usually do not read your interviews. They do not go to these conferences. If you are lucky they are in your stores.“

RN: „What means ’no budgets‘? Do you think that making budget limits the potential of the company?“

NB: „Sometimes budgets are needed for investors or banks who give you money. That is ok. Do not run your business based on your yearly budget. Making yearly budgets is time consuming and budgets are never right. Unfortunately, reality is very different as we expect it to be. I saw many companies who then go and change their budgets during the year so that it looks more similar to reality. I suggest to concentrate on having a clear strategy, clear targets and then improve as much as possible every day. Maybe you will reach results better than any budget you have thought of.“

RN: „You say that ALDI is very good at delegating authority and autonomy and there are no big mistakes. How is this possible?

NB: „Delegation in a decentralized model means little risk. Mistakes can usually not ruin much. I am convinced that people want interesting jobs and search for success. Success is the strongest source for motivation. So let us give them the authority to work autonomously in their area of delegation. And let us control them so they can proof to us that they are good. They have the right to be controlled. Delegation without control is not possible.“

Questions were asked by Can ULUDAĞ on behalf of Retail News Turkey,