If your business's processes cover everything from maintaining data consistency to creating and keeping sales reports, you know how challenging data management can be. An integrated business solution can streamline operations across departments, but this kind of system may sound too complicated to deal with on a daily basis, especially in a fast-paced retail environment. New data integration technology can manage some processes automatically, making these systems simpler and more user-friendly -- not to mention profitable in the long run.
by Dr Will @ Iconic
Are you enjoying some success attracting customers to your establishment? Good. You’ll need these cost-effective tips to succeed even more in a world of fast-evolving technology.
So what's been the point of this series? (In case you've missed any of these, here are the first four posts.) Hopefully, I've convinced you that the insights behind the famed Toyota Production System are not just for gigantic manufacturers. Anyone who does work (i.e., exerts mental and/or physical energy to make things different from the way they are) can benefit from a study of the muda with an intent to eliminate them. If even a country club -- which is in the business of fostering leisure and extravagance -- can operate more efficiently without destroying its essence, then so can any service or retail operation.
The funny thing about "the average customer" is that no such person exists. No matter how much you learn about this fantastical creature, you still know nothing about any particular person who comes into your store. If some of your customers are spending a lot of time setting up registries, others are making exchanges, and still others are just browsing, the "average customer" might be staying for 20 minutes, while all of the actual customers fall above or below that number.
It's easy enough to find out how many customers come in and out of your location each day, or how many are present at any given time. You just count them. But what if you want to know much time the average customer spends in your store (or in a particular part of your store)? Unlike your run-of-the-mill parts or stock, you can't very well tag a customer as she enters the store, then scan the tag on the way out. For some reason human beings seem to chafe at that kind of thing. (We think it's probably because the labels leave an annoying, sticky residue on their foreheads.)
Unlike an auto manufacturer’s standing inventory of parts, the customers in a retail operation interact with the process even when nothing is happening. You can’t look at them like stock parts, not because it’s objectively wrong to count heads, but just because they won’t stand for it. Especially when it comes to waiting. As we discussed last week, customers flowing through a bottleneck don't just wait passively. For a retailer, an overwhelmed bottleneck is not just a cap on the overall flow rate; it can actually reduce demand.
A week or so ago I noticed my office desk was sagging...and there wasn't even hardly anything on it... Ah, the wonders of particle-board, I thought. I sighed. Then I smiled - time for a new desk! (Perhaps a real wood one this time.)