A Forrester report points out challenges faced by some business-to-business firms working online.
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AMR notes that several software vendors that specialize in one-to-many workforce management systems-including Radiant Systems Inc., Timera, Workbrain Inc. and Workplace Systems PLC-have begun building store-planner applications into their technology suites. In addition, ERP vendors will start integrating this into their offerings as the market proves itself. “We’re now seeing other vendors come at this space from different angles,” Rosenblum says.
Providing improved headquarters-to-store communication on planograms along with applications like labor scheduling will further enhance the ability of individual stores to comply with central office directives, AMR says. “We’re seeing the emergence of how executive management relates more directly to labor scheduling,” Garf says. “Those aligning workforce resources with prioritized store tasks can better assure store compliance.”
Potential planning and execution errors
Cumbersome communications from headquarters to stores often cause problems. Among the most common:
- Space not available for planned promotions
- Inventory not available for planned promotions
- Signs not displayed
- Displays put up late
- No time for employee coaching on promotions
- Lack of feedback to headquarters about execution
Source: AMR Research Inc.
Planning better stores at Sears
To improve communications between headquarters and its 900 stores, Sears, Roebuck and Co. completed a chainwide rollout of the web-based StorePerform Workbench task management system in March 2003. It recently reported the following performance results based on a survey of 1,000 employees who use the system:
- Store management time on sales floor increased by 2.92 hours/week
- Monthly planning process time reduced by 35 days
- Time to execute store promotions improved by 10.1%
- Time spent reviewing reports was reduced by 1.9 hours/week
- Number of e-mail corrections received by stores decreased by 15.4%
- Time to execute markdowns improved by 7.9%
More than 70% of the surveyed Sears employees said they realized:
- Increased store compliance rate on field/home office requests
- Significantly reduced time spent identifying issues and increased time spent addressing those issues
- Reduced need to call home office for assistance
- Increased ability to delegate and prioritize tasks
- Increased accountability to the district, store and associate levels
Source: Store Perform Technologies Inc. and Sears, Roebuck and Co.