Streamlining Task Management

Doing so will enable supermarkets to improve overall shopping experience
Opterus Gary Stonell Headshot
Store Restocking Produce Main Image
To avoid out-of-stocks and stay ahead of customer demand, proper shelf and inventory management is essential.

Over the past few years, supermarkets have not only had to learn how to navigate extreme shifts in consumer behavior, but also how to operate in a labor shortage. In fact, last year, 87% of food retailers reported that the challenges of recruiting and retaining employees had a negative impact on their business. 

Supermarket retailers must find a way to efficiently operate and provide an excellent customer experience even while short-staffed – a challenge that often lands on managers and employees. Grocery is a fast-paced industry, and employees must be prepared to get their tasks done accurately and on time while also helping customers.

[Read More: "Southeastern Grocers Opts for Opterus Store Communications"]

By hiring and retaining skilled employees, excelling at internal and external communications, and streamlining task execution, supermarkets have an opportunity to improve the overall shopping experience, attracting and building loyalty among customers and employees.

Ensuring the Shelf Is Up to Date

Grocery stores carry 35,829 products on average. To avoid out-of-stocks and stay ahead of customer demand, proper shelf and inventory management is essential. A unified workflow allows employees to know what items need to be restocked and the proper steps to do so. For example, a supermarket can make sure managers are properly communicating with stockers to get the right products on the correct shelf.  

With centralized communications, headquarters and managers can ensure that planograms are communicated down to the individual store and employee executing the task. Having all information in one place allows stores to have a visual reference on their mobile device for what displays and shelves should look like. Also, employees can confirm that tasks have been completed by uploading photos and sharing them with their manager. By ensuring tasks are completed accurately, on-shelf compliance can be met and maintained.

Executing Tasks Across Different Departments

Many big-box retailers and supermarkets operate with a wide array of departments. Target has 19 sections in its stores, and most supermarkets typically have at least seven, ranging from meat and deli to personal care products and home goods.

No matter the supermarket or retailer, there are many moving parts of store operations that must be handled, and doing so requires employees to execute tasks as seamlessly as possible. From frozen to bakery, each department in a grocery store has different operational requirements: In the frozen section, employees must track the temperature of the freezer, and the bakery must manage sell-by and best-by dates. With streamlined workflows, supermarkets can ensure every department is accounted for and relevant tasks are completed.

Efficiency is key in any supermarket, and optimizing task management and communications allows employees to complete assignments in a timely, accurate manner. For example, a manager in the seafood section can ensure that employees are properly maintaining the department by preparing food at the right times or refreshing stock and ice to keep products at the correct temperature throughout the day.

Improving the Omnichannel Experience

With curbside and omnichannel shopping popularity, supermarkets must find a way to offer an unparalleled shopping experience. To do so, supermarkets must give their workforce the necessary tools to successfully execute omnichannel operations.

Although fulfillment tasks are often repetitive in process, each order is unique. With unified communications, supermarkets can easily organize messaging and tasks across teams to fulfill all orders, whether that be in-store, BOPIS, curbside or delivery. Further, managers can access schedule information and department tasks, with the ability to reallocate staff to different assignments when needed. For example, if all curbside orders have already been prepared for pickup, managers can reallocate staff to help with in-store duties such as stocking shelves or bagging at checkout.

Operate Efficiently Even When Short-Staffed

With supermarkets working to reduce labor costs, it’s essential that new and existing employees must be well informed, dependable and productive. Supermarkets must find ways to make the most of the employees they already have, and that requires equipping employees with the tools they need to succeed. By streamlining retail workflows and unifying communications, supermarkets can not only attract and retain employees, but also improve the customer experience.

[Editor's Note: Register to attend the GroceryTech event in Cincinnati, July 12-14, to learn about more solutions for recruitment and retention.] 

About the Author

Gary Stonell

Gary Stonell, SVP of sales and operations at Toronto-based Opterus, has 20 years of sales management and business development experience in CPG and SaaS. Beginning his career in CPG, he worked for Kraft Foods, Philips Electronics and SunRype Products fostering partnerships with retailers and managing various aspects of the sales and marketing processes. More recently at Sysomos/Meltwater, a SaaS-based social media content management platform, Stonell led the enterprise sales team responsible for managing existing clients and new logo acquisition.
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds