Trader Joe’s has effectively aligned their business model of providing high quality, low cost groceries with their operating model of minimizing SKUs and optimizing distribution. Trader Joe’s is a privately held grocery store chain in the US that was started in 1958 by Joe Coulombe. In 1978 he sold the business to the Albrecht family of Germany, owners of Aldi, a leading global discount supermarket chain.  Since 1978 Trader Joe’s has expanded beyond California, and currently has over 450 locations nationally. 
Selling more by selling less
To achieve these sales, Trader Joe’s has focused on keeping supplier and distributor costs down. Never aspiring to be a one-size-fits-all grocery store like its peers, Trader Joe’s stores stock around 4,000 SKUs, a fraction of the 50,000 SKUs in a typical grocery store.  Rather than offering multiple brands and versions of a product, such as peanut butter, Trader Joe’s intensive R+D process identifies the ‘best’ peanut butter and partners with one supplier to sell their product under TJ’s proprietary label. This strategy enables TJ’s to negotiate lower prices than their competitors and decrease their supplier costs through economies of scale. Suppliers are sworn to secrecy and are not allowed to disclose their partnership with Trader Joe’s. 
Cutting out the middle man
Trader Joe’s distribution model is another example of how they link their business strategy to their operations. Trader Joe’s distribution model is focused on minimizing the number of people who touch each product. Trader Joe’s buys directly from suppliers, cutting out the costly distributors that their peers rely on.  Instead they operate their own distribution centers, and trucks leave daily from the distribution center to each store. This setup allows for smaller footprint stores because instead of each store having its own stockroom, the distribution center functions as a centralized stockroom for many stores.  In fact, Trader Joe’s distribution model is such a crucial part of their overall strategy that distribution dictates where the company will open new stores, not the other way around. 
Low prices + friendly customer service = lasting value
Their limited-selection, high-turnover model allows for a competitive advantage over their peers since they source and stock fewer SKUs, and keep most of their inventory on their shelves or in their distribution centers, strategies that decrease their costs and allow them to offer lower prices. However, Trader Joe’s other competitive advantage is in-store where they have streamlined checkouts by selling perishables by unit, not weight and focused on providing friendly customer service.  Trader Joe’s consistently earns the top stop in terms of customer satisfaction, a key contributor to their customer loyalty.  While other grocery stores like Whole Foods are starting to face major competition as big box stores move into the organics market , Trader Joe’s unique operations model is a key competitive advantage that will likely lead to more growth in the coming years.
 Anderson, George. “Why are Trader Joe’s Customers the Most Satisfied in America?” Forbes, July 30, 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/retailwire/2013/07/30/why-are-trader-joes-customers-the-most-satisfied-in-america/
 Lewis, Len. The Trader Joe’s Adventure: Turning a Unique Business into a Retail and Cultural Phenomenon. Chicago: Dearborn Trade Pub., 2005.
 Kowitt, Beth “Inside the Secret World of Trader Joe’s,” Fortune, Aug 23, 2010. http://archive.fortune.com/2010/08/20/news/companies/inside_trader_joes_full_version.fortune/index.htm
 Lutz, Ashley “How Trader Joe’s Sells Twice As Much As Whole Foods,” Business Insider, Oct 7, 2014 http://www.businessinsider.com/trader-joes-sales-strategy-2014-10