Updated: Apr 9, 2020
In the early 2000's, I was a Retail Manager. I spent 5 years in a fine jewelry store learning about sales and management before moving on. By 2002 I started working for a fashion company which became the basis of me becoming a Business Analyst. It was also the beginning of my dream to become a Business Consultant.
March 2003, the fashion company I worked for promoted me to the anchor store in my District. The day I started my District Manager gave me the keys to the store and a notice. The company was working on a severance package for me because they had no hopes of turning the store around. I knew I was walking into a store who maybe averaged $500,000 a year for the last 3 years. The rent alone on the location was $1 million a year.
I love a good challenge with risk. The challenge: to convince Corporate I could turn the store around. The risk: failure meant I was out of a job. I was the breadwinner in the family. If I lost my job, we lost 75% of our household income.
The first step was observing the client and employee interaction. As I am sure you guessed, it was non-existent. The store had been left to flounder, between store managers who did not promote customer service and no District Manager for close to 6 months. I devised a plan to get back on track and ran it by the District Manager. I also had to get the approval of Corporate. The plan was to close my store so no money was going to spent on training. I had to convince them we could turn the store around but I needed a training budget. One meeting to retrain all of the staff who hadn't walked out. I was approved with conditions. Which I met and we moved forward. This training was key to the long-term success of the store. I need to ensure my staff had the tools to do their job and they knew what my expectations were. After the meeting, I observed and gave feedback to my staff on what they did well and what they needed to work on. This also clued me into who I could trust to help with new associate training. There were a lot of issues in the store both front-end and back-end. I needed a team who I could work with to ensure each new member of the team was also trained properly. Once we were good on training, we looked at process flow at the cashwrap. Customer service is not only assistance on the sales floor; it is also how efficient we are in all steps from the greeting to ringing up the sale.
By the end of our first year, we were a $2.5 million dollar store. In the next three months, myself and the stockroom lead, worked to improve the organization and process flow of the stockroom. We reorganized where and how the supplies were kept. We updated our process for taking in orders from online customers and shipping. Most importantly, we reorganized how we backstocked product. The company had set up high level, meaning few details, guidelines on how to store back stock. My stockroom was small and during peak business hours we would have a traffic jam of associates in the back room trying to find product. Why? because we were not organized in a way to make it easy to stock the floor. The process flow we developed cut searching time for product from 3 minutes to 30 seconds. Timing is everything when you are dealing with customers face-to-face.
These new processes and organization standards helped me gain a new role in the company: Regional Operations Manager. I travelled throughout the region working with the construction teams and new store teams to set up efficient stockrooms.
The downside was this job function was on top of still managing my store. My homelife suffered and after almost three years of working for the company I left. I could not balance all of the responsibilities plus a homelife. Traveling was a huge part of the job and you can not be pulled into multiple positions and perform above expectations consistently. The plus side, when I left the store was on track to hit $8 million in sales. Not bad for a store on the closing list just a couple of years earlier.
If you are looking for help in organization standards and process flows, I have experience. Click here to book your free, no obligation consultation and we can discuss what your needs are and how I can help you.
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