Three key factors to improve operational excellence in retail
Crisis management within retail
Against a backdrop of intense competitive pressure, the sector is experiencing considerable organisational constraints linked to its transformation in recent years as well as unprecedented difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff. An unstable situation that is blithely complicating the current economic environment, which includes price increases in energy, raw materials and random supplies at the same time as galloping inflation on goods.
In this context, it is difficult for the various players to maintain any profitability.
However, an opportunity at the highest level can enable points of sale to stay on course: it lies in implementing operational excellence in store.
Above all, it involves combining the teams’ efficiency with performance quality in operations on the ground. Clearly, the many external constraints, such as optimising upstream flows, are likely to impact operational excellence. However, in this article, we focus essentially on the levers available to points of sale to simultaneously achieve these two goals:
- make every working hour count
- provide ever-better service to customers
At the heart of the matter is the issue of optimising processes and knowing how to correctly allocate resources to the activity in the context of managerial performance.
Does it seem somewhat of an understatement to say that it is difficult to maintain excellence throughout this challenge?
No problem! TimeSkipper demonstrates that through the art of managing the teams’ workload, the point of sale can fairly and accurately respond to the issues of operational excellence.
Lever 1: strengthen your organisation
Organising an optimal operational model requires a detailed assessment of the activity. To obtain this, the following need to be taken into account:
- The most appropriate organisation model (specialisation of teams, multiple activities or complete flexibility)
- A list of all the tasks, defining the right way of performing them and the method for calculating their duration
- The development of the interfaces or forecasting algorithms (machine learning) that make it possible to calculate the workload related to each task
- An optimal workload distribution taking into account operational priorities, employee skills, time constraints and statutory constraints, etc.
Granted, the accumulation of these factors and conditions to achieve a reliable model can seem like a mountain to climb … However, it will make it possible to determine the number of hours and employees to allocate to each task (sales advice, taking delivery of goods, stocking shelves, working on the checkout, etc.) so that it is carried out efficiently and under the best conditions for the teams.
During this phase, managing the activity involves knowing how to arrange this workload and distributing it to the competent individuals. By this we mean employees who know why, how, in which order and at what point to carry out their tasks.
That said, to optimise your operational model and steer it towards excellence, the person managing it must be equal to the task.
Lever 2: rely on your managers to motivate team efficiency
Keep in mind that although the manager is above all the person ensuring the efficiency targets of their teams for the point of sale, their duties go far beyond that. Sound operational skills, interpersonal skills and leading by example unequivocally are at the forefront in the manager’s day-to-day role. They enable the manager to inspire confidence in the teams, motivate them, and gain legitimacy and authority. These skills contribute to continuous improvement and the steady progress of each individual and the manager themselves … provided that the managerial tasks are managed. Don’t forget that the goal is operational excellence.
But what is management for a manager?
First of all, it involves distributing the workload fairly within the teams and then monitoring the proper performance of the tasks, based on performance indicators.
Thus, the manager is able to identify the employees who need support and pass on good practices to them so that they gain confidence in themselves and become more autonomous. Moreover, it is in this way that the quality of the operational processes improves, and they become more efficient, an essential condition when seeking operational excellence.
Finally, management assumes that the manager relies on factual information: by sharing it transparently, their position becomes indisputable, and they mark their authority naturally. The manager is thus able to increase their requirements when they identify an opportunity to improve the performance of the operations. In this way, they manage to improve their teams in an organised and sustainable manner.
That is how managing the activity enables the manager to strive for operational excellence.
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Lever 3: managing the allocation of the workload and resources in real time
Managing the activity makes it possible to know what to do with the employees present in order to strive for a “no time wasted” organisation. By this we mean removing actions that do not add any value, levelling out any hours with an excessive workload and removing available hours (i.e. those that have not been allocated any of the workload).
To achieve the full potential of this exercise, it is essential to be able to react to the variability in the activity by allocating the resources based on the field data in real time. The dynamic management of the teams’ work allows for the flexibility necessary to compensate for unexpected absences and any other unforeseeable event, implement adaptability, absorb peaks in the activity or save hours … as each decision is based on the activity’s needs and is assessed.
Properly managing the allocation of the workload and resources thus increases efficiency in task performance and improves team productivity. In this way, the store pursues an approach that continuously improves its operational processes. A good definition of excellence!
After seeing the demonstration, you will be tempted to throw yourself into calculating the workload and weight of tasks, introducing variability criteria, and monitoring indicators or unknown factors, etc.
Without the right tool, it is not possible to carry out the exercise we have spoken about.
To that end, TimeSkipper, the platform to manage the activity and work of the distribution teams, addresses all operational and managerial issues in order to steer your approach towards excellence. Whether it involves modelling the organisation, coordinating its implementation or making it sustainable, the management lever optimises at every moment the effectiveness and quality of operational performance. Costs are better controlled, and performance parameters continuously improve, which enables the point of sale to revive profitability and the drive for competitiveness.