How Nordstrom Uses a Daily Management System

In the fall of 2020, Kaas Tailored hosted a series of Zoom calls unpacking our Daily Management System (DMS). Each month we focused on a different element of our DMS, starting with strategy, then discussing daily huddles, then talking about Visual Management Systems (VMS), and ending with Leader Standard Work. In this post, our friend Jamie Bergman, a member of the Continuous Improvement team at Nordstrom, shares how Nordstrom adopted Daily Huddles early on in their journey with Lean and where they are today. We work closely with Jamie and learn a lot from her! We are excited for her to share a little more about her journey with Continuous Improvement with you. 

At Nordstrom, The Continuous Improvement Team has been around for about 7 years. We found that our customers were moving faster than our internal teams, so we decided to adopt Lean to help us speed up and better serve our customers. 

Why Nordstrom Adopted Daily Huddles

One of the first tools we adopted in our Lean journey was Daily Huddles. Before adopting huddles, we had weekly meetings, quarterly touch bases, and annual kickoffs (all very batch). We didn’t really know what was happening. Our information was in excel spreadsheets, and people had 200 plus emails a day, so we decided to give Daily Huddles a try.

Daily Huddles Helped our Teams Work Together

The Daily Huddles went really well right off the bat. They were fun. We got to see our friends, look at cute outfits together, look at cute shoes, and we were all excited! Then, we started sharing problems daily, which was not as fun. Suddenly we could see the waste daily, and it was more evident just how much waste there was. But we stuck with it and have continued to do Daily Huddles daily since we first adopted them. 

This daily communication has been going on since 2016. This tool has been super important for us, but it was really about communication. We got to the communication fatigue phase and realized we still didn’t know the health of our business. So we decided to add metrics to our Daily Huddles. We went crazy with metrics. We had metrics on metrics! So now, we knew the health of our business, but we really still didn’t know the health of our business because now we were just overwhelmed with data. That iteration lasted right up until COVID hit in early 2020. That’s when we started to say, “Okay, we need to get more honest about leading indicators. We need to really understand. We have all of these metrics, but it’s still not working.”

How Daily Huddles Helped us During COVID

So the good news is that COVID hit, and the bad news is that COVID hit. We learned that our Daily Huddles stood the test of this challenging time. One day we were sent home in March, and our stores closed, but we still had Daily Huddles. We figured out how to have them virtually. Daily Huddles started becoming all day huddles.

Now we are in the iteration of trying to answer the question, “What does our Daily Management System look like now that we are all working remotely?” We know we need to iterate and evolve our Daily  Management System to get back to the truth of what we know a Daily Management System can be versus the all-day huddles, which is where we have spent the last 3-4 months. 

If you would like to learn more about how to implement a Daily Management System within your organization or more about Kaizen and Continuous Improvement, consider signing up for a Kaas Tailored Waste Tour