Retail businesses make up some of the biggest and most complex industries mainly because of the intense competition that they constantly face. Whether these enterprises are found online or on the street, the challenge to locate buying customers and build a loyal clientele remains. In order to achieve these goals and address common issues, retail companies have invested in better supply chain management strategies so that they can shift their focus on core business activities such as store operations. Some of these strategies include collaborative planning initiatives, automated inventory management systems and updated workforce management solutions.
Distribution plays a vital role in the retail industry, so the degree of efficiency in this aspect can determine the market success of the business. Apart from this, limited margins also contribute to the critical nature of distribution – retailers often prefer to keep this task in-house instead of outsourcing it to third-party logistics companies. This entails lower expenses and higher control over the distribution process.
The optimization of retail distribution can be accomplished by employing a number of strategies. Businesses will benefit greatly from the use of information technology, sophisticated material handling systems, and important physical resources in running their distribution centers. However, despite the implementation of these schemes, retailers are still overlooking a great opportunity to further reduce costs – enhanced workforce management.
Otherwise known as WFM, workforce management is a business process that requires the appointment of people to the right positions at the right time based on their skill set and personal circumstances. As simple as it sounds, this process comes with numerous challenges mainly caused by factors that are difficult to control. Fortunately, current workforce management solutions have improved considerably from previous systems as they now include updated software support, streamlined operational methods and standards and change management schemes that accommodate cultural developments.
Consequently, adapting this modern workforce management system enables retail businesses to gain access to higher equipment and labor performance, greater employee retention and better overall distribution quality. It can be concluded that efficient workforce management can provide such bottom-line business benefits as faster ROI and minimal implementation risk.
It is important to realize that workforce management is a not a novel business concept – it has been implemented for decades by smaller retailers like grocery store owners. Nowadays, bigger retail businesses are seeing the various benefits of this system due to the tangible effects of proper assignment of employees as well as the development of their skills. When done correctly, WFM can increase revenue tenfold and decrease business costs significantly, too. Furthermore, well-utilized employees have better morale, which makes them want to stay in their companies. Retailers also gain better control over the distribution process. They can possibly focus on other core business activities as well. Therefore, the biggest hurdle is really getting workforce management down pat and the benefits will be apparent soon after. It should also be noted that since it is a process, WFM should be evaluated regularly to make sure that it is still relevant to the existing customer service and retail operations.