11 Apr Store Task Quality – and the impact on retail productivity
Have you ever considered the impact that store task quality can have on your store teams and their productivity?
When it comes to retail operations and store communication everything needs to start from the perspective of the store / store manager. A key question that any retail leadership should be asking is “what are we doing to make life easier for our store managers?”. Reducing time wastage on a store level is key in improving the productivity of your workforce and this is why task management and workload planning tools are so popular and in demand. Store communication and task management systems are very effective at improving transparency and reducing low value admin, freeing up the store manager’s time to focus on more important stuff – like the customer!
However, in our experience something that is often overlooked is the store task quality. I.e. The thought and planning that goes into prioritising and then wording a task, that can be lacking. The quality of tasking by central operations needs to be outstanding: so that it’s clear to the store manager what you want them to do.
If central ops / store comms can reduce the time it takes to complete a one-hour task by 5 minutes as a result of better wording / description, then the ROI is 5 minutes x X stores. At scale and repeated over time the upside is significant. Plus you are going to get more respect from your store managers as well (or not).
But how do you know whether the quality of the tasks your stores are getting on a daily basis are on the level that they should be? One idea could be to provide a rating system for stores so that they could rate tasks. A downside to this otherwise great idea is that this adds complexity to the task management system which could negate the positive effects. So whilst asking stores to vote if each task was well-explained, relevant and easily understood or not, is a perhaps step too far, we DO believe it is critical to assess the quality of the tasking that central operations and regional managers are sending out.
** The helicopter **
A regular ‘independent’ view (maybe by an experienced store manager) of store task quality would be adequate – generally we believe mid-sized retailers do not have this ‘helicopter’ view of the store communications process. Having StorIQ, or a similar task management system with robust reporting, enables you to at least have the helicopter! At the moment, if you’re still mainly using email, you have little chance of doing any ‘helicopter analysis’.
We can use the data being generated out of StorIQ (e.g. rate of task completion, issue flagging) to get some interesting insights, without adding workload to store managers. Level this up with a review of task descriptions along with recommended improvements and subsequent training and you’re well on your way to boosting productivity on a store level.
If you don’t currently have a task management system in place but would like to explore how better store task quality can improve productivity on a store level, then some additional ideas for you to explore are:
- conduct an ‘inbox audit’ where you take (say) 3 stores and look at all their emails over a 12 month period. (of course, you’d need to look at deleted items as well!). Classify these and see which ones they are all getting, and who they are from
- follow on with a project to look at what your store staff are actually doing on a daily basis – this would be workshopped with a store survey as well
- start using StorIQ ‘as is’ to start gathering data on your store communications
- run a ‘helicopter project’ to look at the activity in a more thoughtful way
- analyse store task quality and define areas for improvement
- implement training and monitor
We’d be happy to explore running a project such as this with you. Book time with one of our retail operations experts today to learn more.
For more on Store Communication Best Practice click here