For some time I was involved in tech startups a lot, and obviously used the lean methodology.
Some time ago though, I got an interesting offer from a corporate (one of the largest meat processors in EU) to run a spin-off of their company. (I do have some experience in food tech/microbio).
So this is what I am doing now. And obviously food industry, as most of you perhaps guess, is as stale and reluctant to innovation as it gets.
I am trying to structure the spin-off around lean principles, but there is 1 massive question I don't know how to get around. Let me explain.
Food industry has always worked by the principle of 'sell what you produce' rather than the normal today 'produce what you sell'. It's just how things work here - we discover a new recipe and we push it. The problem is - today's retailers have gathered so much bargaining power and are so risk averse that 'pushing' happens once a year, takes another year to implement and eventually may fail anyway.
My vision is to reverse this and build a consumer-oriented food enterprise that would ship new products to market quickly, and, more importantly, in response to consumer needs. So here's the question:
How to get around the retail structure?
I appreciate how wishy-washy this is. Just throw anything at me, I'm really happy to consume any ideas.