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Optimizing the Retail Opportunity in Covid-19 pandemic

Navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for most industries, including retail has witnessed the impact of COVID-19 over the past few months. The widespread health and safety concerns, travel restrictions and local movement limitations, retailers in India started feeling the heat.

During this period, retailers are looking to change their current working strategies to generate revenue as usual without deploying more manpower in order to abide by the government guidelines.

Even the Retailers Association of India (RAI) has predicted that it would take at least 10-12 months for India’s retail industry to recover from the impact of the COVID-19. Their recent survey for June 2020 shows that Retail employs ~40-50 million people directly of which the Modern Trade sector employs more than 6 million Indians. This staggering number of retail employees has forced 20-25% of the industry players to require a capital infusion to stay afloat. But even then, 25% of jobs in the industry may get impacted in one way or another.

Only 7-8% of the retail industry is functioning at the moment, as the retailers are selling only essential items, said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI, which represents 13,667 member establishments with 500,000 stores employing 43 million people.

Although the country slowly relaxing the lockdown regulations on a monthly basis with precautionary measures, only 20% of the retailers are expecting to start earning profit from August 2020.

But the real question for retailers is whether they can flexibly respond to the diametrically opposed challenges?

Well, it is clear that the response to this virus has fundamentally changed the reality for retailers irrespective of whether it lasts for weeks or months. It’s time to face the fact and start adapting the best practices and innovations.

Best Practices for Retail during the COVID-19 Pandemic

1.    Stay informed and manage employee safety

Update your employees regularly on the current COVID-19 situation and take all the necessary precautions to ensure that the health and safety of the workforce are not compromised.

  • Check for symptoms associated with COVID-19
  • If an employee feels unwell, ask them to go home immediately
  • Ensure that safety measures like the following are in place to reduce transmission among employees: –

1. Practice social distancing

2. Have regular temperature checks for everyone in the workplace

3. Wearing a mask and gloves at all times is mandatory

4. Employees in high-risk areas like billing counters, customer assistance, etc. should be provided and equipped with face shields at all times.

It is recommended to share easy to fill operational checklists like the PAZO COVID-19 Checklist to measure the understanding of the operations being relayed to your employees from the headquarters in real-time. Using operational solutions like PAZO – Retail Operations Software, the data collected from these checklists across all retail branches get collated automatically to generate reports you can rely on and make successful business strategies.

Check out the full COVID-19 preparedness Checklist ready to be implemented.

2.   Be transparent

Your customers trust you and want to stay informed on everything that is happening and will affect their experience. And so, do your employees. Keep them informed at all times – for example, if there is a change in any operation from the headquarters, or a new business process is being implemented with the current safety guidelines in mind, etc.

See how PAZO can help your business to stay well connected and updated during the COVID-19 Crisis.

3.   Personal Hygiene for Employees
  • Emphasize on hand hygiene during work hours
  • Encourage the use of gloves to avoid direct contact
  • Ensure their daily self-hygiene so as not to compromise the workforce
  • Educate them on the proper way to dispose of their masks, tissues, and gloves

Solution for Manpower Rationalization

Going forward, small scale retailers are looking to lay-off 30% of their manpower while it reflects for the medium retailers as 12% and 5% for large retailers. When nearly 20% of the overall retail manpower faces the possibility of unemployment – Retail operational solution (such as Retail Operations Software) tools like PAZO helps to rebuild the changing scenario. With low operational costs, it’s easy to adapt for retailers small to large.

3 Steps for Retailers to Respond during COVID-19 with PAZO 

As the contributors for 40% of India’s consumption and ~10% to India’s GDP, all retailers play a crucial role in protecting employee and customer health. In helping retails to adapt to smarter solutions and cope with large scale loss of manpower, companies like PAZO are developing following practical solutions that will shape the recovery and strengthening of a staggering economy.

  • Employee safety is the first priority. Ensure that all necessary steps are taken to keep the frontline store employees safe and healthy, as they attend to customers.

The PAZO can be used to host communication modules that educate all personnel about the safety precautions taken for the health of both employees and the customers.

  • Supply-chain resilience is the next important step. Disruption to the supply chain had a great impact on the industry. Build resilience by being agile, leverage extended ecosystems, and embrace risk for holistic revival and sustenance.

PAZO comes with an inventory update system that helps analyze real-time data so that there is a clear insight into business operations.

  • The third step is to enable an elastic digital workplace that minimizes business disruption. With a reduced workforce, retailers have to be more efficient than ever in making sure all crucial management tasks are completed.

PAZO also comes with the feature of raising issues to the right resources and having the accountability of resolving it within the expected time.

To achieve ultimate retail success during uncertain times, retailers have to adapt business models to complement the changing consumer behavior. Implementing advanced technology like retail operation software can be beneficial even when the pandemic has passed. It is time for Responsible Retail.

Incorporating technological solutions such as checklists to manage the logistical and workforce front can ensure that the customers follow social distancing, occupancy limits, and other safety and hygiene regulations as outlined by the government. Merging this with dynamic store navigation, mobile checkout, offering a wide variety of online payment options, and monitoring traffic into their store operations strategy can serve as valuable post-pandemic store operations tools.

Check out how PAZO can make retail operations more efficient

The COVID-19 situation is complex and evolving at lightning speed, and on a daily basis. Having a well-managed response will help retailers bring in some consistency in operations and maximize their revenues. Retailers should see this as an opportunity to out-perform competitors and build a strong foundation for digital, future-ready business.

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Stock Management | Ideas to Implement in Your Retail Store

Stock Management / Inventory Management

Stock management is the practice of tracking and controlling inventory. The main goal is to monitor and control the goods and stock so that new stock can be ordered as required to maintain the right numbers and quantities at all times.

To effectively control the stocks, proper stock management software may be required. With this, organizations may save costs associated with human errors. Stock management applies to every item a business uses to produce its products or services.

A stock management software will give a structured method of accounting for all incoming and outgoing inventory which will have a great impact on your business.

With Pazo’s Stock Room Management feature you can easily:-

– Retail inventory management on the Pazo Web and App.

– Track your inward and outward stock count.

– Download complete day-wise and site-wise reports.

Here are a few points on how it can help your business

  1. You can keep track of your stock in real-time 
  2. Analyze stock data any time and anywhere
  3. Plan the demand accurately with the available data 
  4. Avoid the shortage of stock
  5. Prevent excess storage of stock
  6. Manage stocks of multiple locations 
  7. Reduce the cost of management

Stock Room Management Best Practices:

Below mentioned are the details on how to manage the Stock Room on the Pazo Web App?

  • Stocks can be updated on a newly introduced stock room management page which can be found in the setup menu, the user is given an option to add stocks one by one or through bulk upload.

Stock Management

  • A mail trigger is auto-added on reorder quantity of stock item(s) i.e. when a reordered quantity goes below the specified limit, an auto-generated mail will be triggered to Site Admin(s) & Super Admin with the stock count when permissions are set. An email will be sent to the user on a daily basis until the stock is refilled.

Stock Management

  • Consolidated excel reports of the stock room can be downloaded by selecting the site and date. The downloaded report will display date wise consumption for all stock items.

how to maintain stock in excel sheet format

  • Users with “field user permissions” can perform Stock Inward & Outward operations from the Mobile App

How to update stock count on Pazo Mobile App?

  • Users with “field user permissions” can do a Stock Inward or Outward through Mobile App once a Stock Item has been added through WebApp
  • To manage stock, Click (+) icon on-site dashboard, visit a stock room and scan a location QR code from mobile app to perform an Inward or Outward operation of the stock.

Stock management

  • When a Location is scanned, the user can view the list of items and their availability in that Stock Room.

  • Users can do an Inward or Outward of the stock items from a StockRoom- Inward will allow users to add a quantity of an Item and Outward will allow users to subtract the quantity from the available stock.

Stockroom management

Have a look at the “Conditional logic in Checklists” Feature and let us know your thought in the comments below.

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Conditional Logic in Checklist and How to Use Them ?

Conditional Logic

Conditional logic is a standardized procedure to simply flows. By setting rules for your processes and updating the outcome based on selected conditions, it is easy to simplify the complicated list. When the condition is triggered all optional tasks can be automatically hidden and show up only tasks that matched the condition.

In our checklist, we have introduced conditional logic to create truly dynamic checklists based on the logic of “if one of” and “if not one of”.

There is no limitation for adding sub-questions and multiple conditions can be applied for the main question.

Responsive checklists are more powerful. You can create multiple conditional logic rules and create a flow to control how exactly the branch of the question/answer to be set.

Conditional logic makes viewing and selecting the form are easier.

How to set up conditional logic on the Pazo web app?

User(s) can choose from the following conditions while applying logic to a question (Single Select or Drop-down type) within a checklist. There are two logical conditions that can be set:

    • Is One of- means if any of the conditions are TRUE, then sub-questions will appear on checklist submission.
    • Is not One of- means if any other options are chosen apart from the given set of options, then sub-questions will appear on checklist submission

For Example, let’s assume that the main question has the following list of answer options, Option 1, Option 2, Option 3, and Option 4 and we add the logic of “is one of” to Option 1 and Option 3, it will expand the branch for sub-questions then if the user selects the option 1 in the question, a branch of sub-question will be opened since it met the condition. The same way it works for the other conditional logic if set.

Conditional Logic

  • There is no limitation for adding sub-questions i.e. user can add any number of sub-questions for 1 main question
  • Multiple conditions can be applied for 1 main question

Note: – The condition can only be applied to the main question.

  • The Checklist report will also include the details of the sub-question. If the sub-questions are left unanswered then the cell will be blank

Mobile APP:

When submitting your checklist, if a condition is TRUE, only then the sub-questions will appear on the Checklist Submit screen to answer.

Check out “Stock Management and Ideas to Implement in Your Retail Store” and let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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It’s Time We Take The Deskless Workforce Seriously

Behind every successful industry,  are numerous deskless workforce that drive the operations forward.  Not everybody around the globe sits at a workstation completing a 9-5 job.

The vast majority of working individuals fit into this category which in fact is, as per official figures, about 80% of the total workforce!

These deskless workers work in  varied environments unlike fixed desk workers who generally have a fixed schedule and clear understanding of the standard operating procedures that they are required to do. And that’s why fixed standard operating procedure checklists alone don’t help then get the job done.

Anyone working with deskless workers would know that they have their own frustrations that prevent them to fully engage in their work and official figures convey the same story.  Research shows that in the US, only 56% of the deskless workers feel connected and engaged to their work. The number could be much higher depending on where you come from but it’s more or less the same scenario.

What constitues a Deskless Workforce?

There are 2.7 billion people across various industries from hospitality to facilities to healthcare who work on their feet. They do not have a fixed desk to work and may frequently be on the move inside workplace premises or between different geographical locations.

“The mobile workers (a.k.a the deskless workforce) make up most of the industries’ workforce and it’s high time to provide them with digital support to improve how businesses grow”

says Hasan Ali Kanba, Co-founder of Pazo. “Although the business technology market is a $300 billion one,  deskless tech solutions are not given as much importance.

And that’s one of the reasons why In Spite of their huge growing numbers, they face the most unique challenges. Official figures show that only $3 billion of the $300 billion business technology market is invested in deskless technology A direct consequence to this is that organizations still face a disconnect in optimizing their routine operations even though there has been quite a lot of advancement in digital transformation across all the industries. With so much advancement in technology, now is the time for more innovative solutions tailored to provide enough support to deskless employees to complete their daily tasks more efficiently.

A good start to this could be a task management tool tailored for the deskless workers. Due to the nature of their roles, it would be really helpful for the deskless workers to have the task management software on their mobile devices. Even more so because they are usually disconnected from the rest of the teams at the head-office level. By giving them access to an application where they can easily communicate and collaborate with their teams will not only make operations more efficient but also create a positive work culture.

“PAZO is a task management tool that has the fundamental features tailored for the deskless workforce. We aim to empower the field teams to revolutionize their businesses,”

says Sharjeel, Co-founder and CTO of Pazo.

As 80% of the entire world’s workforce are those who are actively on the move, it only makes sense to invest in them. Their numbers  will only keep increasing as the days go by and the value of deskless software has indisputable potential that today is mostly untapped. Deskless technology also has an internal impact on employees and organizations; providing a permanent solution that is easy-to-use enhances productivity levels and happier employees  resulting in higher retention rates of both employees and the customers.

So how does  a deskless tech solution help?

Here are three ways it can proactively improve the world around us:
  • Communication: Employees can ensure clear and effective communication between departments at individual sites and the head office. With everyone being in the loop, coordinating task assignment and completion, surveys, feedback, and compliance across all branches becomes easy
  • Execution: By equipping your staff with the right task management tool, they work smarter and with more efficiency. It becomes easier to assign tasks, monitor completion times, and increase accountability. 
  • Insights: Getting real-time insights on operations at every site, on a personalized dashboard ensures visibility and consistency. Having software that provides you with up-to-the-minute data helps you know how individual sites are performing and reduce issues and resolution times.

And  there are more added benefits; introducing such new easier ways to work will directly impact your operational excellence.Yes, initially, you need to rely on data and metrics while implementing new technology but the pros outweigh the cons here.

Tools like PAZO task management software give you operational excellence by maximizing productivity and the visibility needed to execute tasks properly. PAZO can be used for a variety of industries. The retail industry for instance uses it for compliance audits, stock audit checklists, daily store checklists, housekeeping checklists, visual merchandising, safety audit checklists and much more. So that’s every type of store audit or checklist filling tasks that you can think of. So that is how our client industries impacted their productivity. They now set the operation standards down to every task and get them done with even great efficiency and less effort. It all started with an initiative to invest in  a new deskless workforce tool which they now find immensely useful.

Also Read:

The Impact Of The Deskless Workforce In The Future Of Businesses

Emerging Trends in the Facility Management Sector

Difference Between a Deskless Workforce, Mobile Workforce, Telecommuting, and Remote Work?

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Deskless Workforce vs. Telecommuting vs. Remote Work

The terms referring to different kinds of employees can be quite confusing sometimes. However, distinguishing one from the other is essential, as it can help employers decide how best to manage their workforce.

In this article, we will help you understand the difference between a deskless workforce, mobile workforce, telecommuting, and remote work, as well as highlight the things that make them unique.

Deskless Workforce vs remote work force

Deskless Workforce

As previously discussed in ‘The Impact of the Deskless Workforce in the Future of Businesses’, over 80% of the workers globally are considered part of the deskless workforce. The term refers to professionals whose jobs do not require them to sit at a desk or in front of a computer. However, despite not doing much of their work on a computer, they still require certain digital tools such as smartphones, wearables, and machinery specifically made for their industry.

The goal of businesses who employ deskless workers is to find the right devices that will enable their employees to accomplish their tasks with greater efficiency.

Telecommuting workforce

Telecommuting

Current circumstances have forced many businesses to send their employees home, leading to the creation of a swarm of telecommuters – professionals that heavily rely on phones, chat, and email to do their jobs.

A study cited by Small Biz Genius estimated the number of telecommuters in the US to be at 4.3 million – a number that is likely to skyrocket due to current restrictions. Since telecommuters rely primarily on different IoT devices, the role of companies with this kind of workforce is to establish a user-friendly and reliable project management system and collaboration tool that will enable employees to work from anywhere in the world.

Remote Work

Remote Work

Even before the pandemic, remote work – which refers to a work arrangement that requires little to no commuting to the office for the employees – had been gaining popularity due to its many benefits. According to an article by Forbes, these benefits include an average of 35-40% increase in productivity, a 41% reduction in absenteeism, a 12% reduction in employee turnover, and a 21% increase in profitability for companies.

As enticing as these benefits might be, the challenge for companies is to make sure that remote workers feel taken care of and that they find a healthy work-life balance that will keep them from burning out.

Mobile Workforce

Mobile Workforce

Workers within the mobile workforce are those that work in various locations throughout the day instead of just working in one specific spot. An article on HR Technologist explains that the growing number of mobile workers is highly indicative of the apparent shift to mobile data, which effectively aids the “anytime, anywhere” nature of the professions that fall under this group. Although companies with a mainly mobile workforce can save on costs due to the reduced demand for dedicated workspaces, they still have to think about investing in high-end technologies that will make the management of mobile workers easy.

Caring for Non-Traditional Workers

Companies dealing with employees who work under non-traditional conditions require non-traditional methods to manage their workers more efficiently. Aside from ensuring that they maintain continuous communication with their employees, companies must also see to it that they have access to facilities that can help them attain a healthier work-life balance. For instance, companies can consider providing aid to those workers who have the option to work in coworking spaces. Coworking spaces offer numerous amenities and facilities perfect for the remote or deskless worker.

Case in point: Industrious’ Miami coworking locations are not only creatively designed to encourage productivity but also provide workers with a sense of community that can help promote social and mental well-being. Similarly, WeWorks’ different branches in New York offer different spaces including outdoor gardens and wellness rooms that can help alleviate stress and ensure quality breaks. Companies can also consider offering support to workers who would like to pursue different skills and other hobbies. Fast Company explained that doing so will not only result in an increase in productivity but will also help to boost morale, which can snowball into an overall improvement in work performance.

Whether you’re handling in-office employees or non-traditional workers such as those listed above, managing workers and ensuring that everyone stays productive remains a crucial responsibility for employers. Fortunately, there are applications like Pazo, which can ensure that this can be done in the most seamless and hassle-free way
possible.

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How to Improve Store Operations

In this blog we’ll look at:

  • How retailers are currently managing the workforce
  • What factors affect staff, staff schedules, and budgeting
  • Why an activity-based approach is the best way to improve store operations and customer service

How to improve store operations

The retail industry is constantly evolving and there have been a lot of changes in terms of workforce demand, tools, and processes. As a retailer, when you see new innovations in the industry, it also brings in new challenges. In store-operations need to be at best to provide more customer satisfaction. One of the important aspects of retail operations is to understand and improve labor scheduling.

Studies have shown that introducing the lean concept to retail operations helps reduce operating costs by 15%. What is lean retailing, you ask? Lean retailing can be achieved by focusing on a more data-driven approach by understanding what your customer’s needs are and using that to have products sold at your store. Competition is on the rise and customers expect higher service quality. Focusing on labour scheduling and budgeting as a part of enhancing workforce management can boost productivity and in turn help retailers achieve operational excellence. 

What Is The Current Workforce Management Scenario In Retail?

Creating accurate schedules and budgets for your staff can be complex and even experienced retailers in the industry see room for improvement. While commercial software and solutions can be useful in keeping a track of employee attendance and managing payroll, usually provide generic schedules that don’t take fluctuations in workload and store-specific factors into consideration. This results in high labour costs, inconsistent customer service, and unhappy customers.

Having better predictability on the skills and the number of employees needed at each store outlet on a day-to-day basis can be powerful insights for retailers. Why you ask? Because with this precise information, labour costs can be lowered.

Many have begun to realize that a data-driven approach is a way to go. By taking a close look at the store activities, some retail COOs have been able to improve customer satisfaction and save between 4-12% of operational costs. 

What Challenges Do You Usually Face?

In order to create unique weekly staffing schedules, many retailers use workforce-management software. Workforce-management Softwares generate schedules based on revenue forecasts and assign more employees during days or hours when the sales projection is the highest. Although revenue is a good criterion for staff scheduling, it doesn’t provide sufficient insight because customers have different buying patterns on different days and hours. This is why there needs to be a more personalized approach to scheduling your in-store staff. 

Most retailers also don’t have a system in place to account for the time taken to complete tasks in specific stores – like the distance an employee needs to cover to get to the storeroom or the number of elevators employees can use to carry products to the sales floor. There are often instances where the same tasks can take a different amount of time to be completed depending on individual factors, even if the different store locations bring in the same revenue. 

Labour budgets are another thing that is not well-aligned with a store’s current reality. The usual way how many retailers allocate labour budgets is based on a certain percentage of sales. Store managers then provide their insights based on their experience and judgment for adjustments to be made. As this approach relies considerably on the store managers’ intuition, there are times when some stores are unfairly penalized. McKinsey’s findings show that this approach can lead up to 30% of differences in labour costs among stores

What Is The Solution To Better Operations or How to improve store operations?

As an innovative retailer, you should understand that off-the-shelf workforce management solutions will not work in the long-run. Work towards personalizing the shopping experience and realize that a similar activity-based approach can help revolutionize labour scheduling and budgeting. With an activity-based approach, you make a staff schedule based on changing workload. This way, the right employees will be doing the right tasks in the optimal time frame. This approach will also allow retailers to allocate more accurate labour budgets for each store.  Four things every COO and head of operations need to have in place before using am activity-based approach to achieve operational excellence are:

  • Workload Calculations: Store-specific estimates of how much time it takes to complete tasks taking predefined services and process standards into consideration
  • Reliable Forecasts: Insights that can help enhance each store’s value and volume based on store-manager experience and regression models. The revenue generated in each department, hour, etc. can be a good example
  • Flexible Workforce: Have staff that can adapt to changing schedules. Apart from full-time employees, you should also have sufficient part-time and temporary staff
  • Powerful Performance: All the systems and process should have clear targets on productivity and service-level tasks so that you can ensure that all stores are informed and comply with the set plan

The pre-requisites mentioned can seem challenging but focusing on accurate workload calculations can help improve store operations. 

Calculating Workloads Accurately

Having accurate workload calculations take each store’s uniqueness into consideration and sets an expectation for optimal performance. When you use an activity-based approach for staff scheduling, every store will have a standard time allotted to each task. To this, we add any additional time needed, based on individual store factors. 

How to improve store operations

Setting a standard time for activities for all the stores in your network serves as a best-practice benchmark. Observing in-store activities can help in making any changes needed to individual locations. A detailed work schedule can be created by focusing on those tasks that take up the most workload.

Once a plan is developed, it can then be introduced into a task-management app designed for the deskless workforce working in each store. Routine operations can easily be scheduled to be completed by specific employees and departments at the right time and location with the help of Pazo. The easy-to-use interface allows every employee to complete the necessary activities at the optimal time, boosting productivity, reducing labour costs and ensuring that customer satisfaction and brand standards are consistently maintained in every store.

An activity-based approach is a good foundation for better staff scheduling and budgeting that can be improved with time. It will allow you to A/B test analyses in the event of changes in the process or service level standards. Having this new approach gives management teams accurate insights into store activities and will allow in having detailed and practical discussions when labour budgets or service-level targets. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Focusing on labour scheduling and budgeting as a part of enhancing workforce management can boost productivity and in turn help retailers achieve operational excellence.
  2. Most traditional retailers face are not able to have the best productivity in their stores as generic workforce scheduling software mainly relies on revenue forecasts to create employee schedules. They also lack to account the time taken to complete tasks in specific stores
  3. Labour budgets are another thing that is not well-aligned with a store’s current reality. The usual way how many retailers allocate labour budgets is based on a certain percentage of sales. Store managers then provide their insights based on their experience and judgment for adjustments to be made.
  4. Having an activity-based approach on workforce scheduling not only helps in maintaining consistent in-store productivity and customer delight but also improves employee satisfaction and keeps labour costs under control.

Want to see how PAZO can make your routine operations better? Talk to our Client Success Officer today