Supermarket job losses highlight need for technology to help shop floor operations
Fierce competition, rising costs and harsh economic headwinds are taking their toll on major supermarkets. In recent days, both Tesco and Sainsbury’s have announced large-scale restructuring plans that will see thousands of store management roles removed. The intention is redeploy staff members more productively elsewhere in the organisation.
In situations where they are looking to reduce middle management costs and still focus on serving customers, businesses in any sector must reconsider every aspect of how they operate. One obvious step is to look at the primary functions that the particular managers were undertaking.
In many cases they will have been supervising routine activities that are vital to the running of a complex business. A large proportion of shop floor work is still managed by old-fashioned pen-and-paper. Examples might include daily stock checking, workforce management, health and safety, and monitoring of hygiene routines. These are typically recorded on a list with the aid of a pen and a few sheets of paper. The harsh reality is that manual routines like this are a drag on productivity,
IT and automation need to reach the parts of the business they’ve not reached thus far. Productive work needs to be supported by paperless systems that provide a prompt when a task is due, capture the results and remove avoidable overheads arising from manual reporting.
It is vital that managers can instantly see what’s going on in their operations. In fast-moving environments, this needs to be quickly implemented and adapted to business needs, without long and complex IT development timelines.
The appetite for greater management visibility in people-intensive operations is one of the major reasons why we are seeing rising interest in Checkit, which provides real-time operations insight. What all interested businesses have in common is the need to ensure the efficient execution of critical routine activities. The technology not only contributes to greater control and consistency but reduces the demands upon staff who can then be more productive.