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In Focus: Time and Motion – SWL’s Retail Productivity Studies

In Focus: Time and Motion - SWL's Expert Retail Productivity Studies

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As inflationary pressures, the cost-of-living crisis and changes in customer shopping habits bite, retailers face a challenge to assess the condition of their operation. Retailers need to assess and understand how resilient they are to meet the current and future challenges of the ‘new normal’ – they need to act from a position of data fact.

For more than 30 years, SWL Group have partnered with leading UK & International retail brands, enabling them to realise their true productivity potential.

SWL are experts in quantifying and understanding the condition of the retail operation, it is the foundation of any successful strategy or programme of change across the business. Before any retailer embarks on a journey of change, it’s important to capture a baseline of their starting point.

  • What am I doing well? – and importantly, what should be protected and continued?
  • What could I do better? – what tasks, activities and propositions do I already have, but could do in a more effective and efficient way?
  • What should I start doing? – what could we do to maximise every hour invested and improve service?
  • What should I stop doing? – what stops my store teams from serving customers in the best way and maintaining a productive environment?

Whilst retailers can embark upon a ‘voyage of discovery’ to deliver revolutionary change, it is often fraught with risk and uncertainty. Retail boards don’t like surprises, they want reliable and data-driven recommendations to guide decision making. Often, retailers understand that they have opportunities to be more efficient, serve customers better and best utilise labour spend. The uncertainty and challenges come because:

  • Retailers don’t know what to tackle first or how to tackle it – what should I fix first to deliver the best Return on Investment for the board?
  • Retailers are concerned about how the change may harm their operations, customers, and colleagues.
  • Retailers don’t always know the best methods and practices to deploy to solve their business pain – could they be making the problem worse?

SWL have the solutions and tools to help retailers overcome these challenges.

SWL’s Retail Productivity Studies enable retailers to ‘act on fact’ with scientific measurement and expert analysis. SWL’s studies are conducted using proven, industry leading methodologies to establish the efficiency and productivity condition of activities and task at store. They enable retailers to understand how effective their teams are working, where activity happens and who is conducting it. At a deeper-dive task level, SWL’s studies uncover the efficiency and effectiveness of tasks at store.

The risks of a ‘voyage of discovery’ are eradicated with SWL’s Productivity Studies. Over our 30+ years in business, we’ve fine-tuned and developed our solutions to best meet the dynamic requirements of the retailers we partner with. Whether you’ve never measured productivity before or are looking to bring your current work standards up to date, SWL can help.

Our Retail Productivity Studies provide the board with clarity and certainty of the productivity condition of your Store Estate, and importantly where to need to act in order to become more effective and productive.

Not only do we provide you with our expert analysis and observations, but we are able to pinpoint how much ‘value’ each role and activity in your store contributes to the experience of customers, via our expert study methodologies. Where specific areas of the operation are in focus, for example, systems or tasks, SWL can assess the effectiveness, productivity and importantly, the steps required to address any identified inefficiencies.

Retailers are innovators, and the competitive market and changing customer demands mean that retail is more dynamic than ever before. SWL’s Productivity Studies act as a validation to business cases and viability assessments and ensure that new propositions and systems land right first time. For example, a new POS system in a supermarket or a new product grouping in a telecoms store.

SWL’s Productivity Studies deliver for retailers.

At SWL, we make no secret of our intentions to exceed our customers’ expectations every time. Our Productivity Studies are no exception. We’ve successfully partnered with many retailers in the UK and Internationally to enable them with ‘data fact’ on their operational and productivity condition.

  • In a DIY chain, SWL’s Retail Productivity Studies uncovered significant inefficiencies in shopfloor processes and found that over 25% of all colleague time was being spent on activities that didn’t add value to customers. These inefficiencies were costing the retailer over £34 million a year. SWL were able to make specific and sustainable recommendations to quickly overcome this avoidable cost.
  • Via targeted study and industry benchmarking, SWL highlighted that the customer journey in a telecommunications retailer for a new connection or upgrade was 10% longer than in competitor stores. SWL’s collaborative project enabled the retailer to critically evaluate the customer journey and implement changes to close this gap.
  • In a UK leading department store, SWL assessed the implementation and viability of a new POS solution versus the current solution, which had been in situ for many years. SWL validated the business’ business case and identified benefits of over £16 million as a result of simplified processes and an ‘easier exit’ for customers at checkouts.

SWL’s Productivity Studies are only the beginning of your continuous productivity improvement journey.

SWL’s Retail Productivity Studies not only provide your retail operation with an assessment of the productivity condition of your estate, but they are the foundation for continuous productivity improvement and labour utilisation.

Work Standards produced via targeted/focussed Productivity Studies become vital inputs to labour modelling and budgeting activities, ensuring stores have the right hours to meet sales and service expectations, enhancing stores and protecting and controlling labour spend.

Discover how SWL’s Productivity Studies can benefit your business.

At SWL we do things differently. We don’t pre-diagnose. We listen to you; we understand your current situation and walk your walk.

Then, as a knowledgeable and trusted partner, we engage with real people, process, and data, and from an informed basis we then advise you on how to be the very best that you can be.

No matter the complexity of your business pains, our team work to thoroughly understand the situation in its entirety, before developing the perfect solution to help you respond to the toughest problems.

It is with this way of working that SWL establishes customer partnerships time and time again.

We’d be delighted to talk to you about your business and how SWL can help you become a significantly more productive retailer. Get in touch today to arrange a discovery meeting with the team.

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