The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an extended time of chaos for the grocery and convenience store sectors. Handling staffing concerns has only gotten harder. The stressful reality of empty store shelves is something most of us have never seen. Social distancing measures have created new challenges. Loss prevention has taken on new urgency as many chains are feeling increased financial pressures. And these are just a few of the concerns.
However, your chain can also see this as a time to embrace new business practices and even take advantage of opportunities for growth. So how can you make your life easier and help ensure the success of your stores at a time when there are no guarantees? Let’s take a few minutes to consider a digital field audit app.
Better Technology Now
- In a time when most customers would really have valued a consistently excellent experience in their local stores, the pandemic has been the enemy of exactly that.
- It has caused regular disruptions of supply chains and distribution practices.
- These disruptions, as well as customer stockpiling, have led to bare shelves that only increase customer anxiety and frustration.
- In many areas, it has been necessary to impose waiting lines outside the store in order to meet public safety guidelines regarding maximum number of shoppers.
- Other customers have gotten used to taking advantage of online purchasing and have rarely entered the store at all.
It’s been an equally difficult time for your store employees.
- They have had to learn and follow mandates for new health and safety measures, including frequent sanitation protocols for high-touch areas, completing daily health checks, etc.
- They have also had to learn and enact new business practices such as filling orders for online customers, making curbside deliveries, overseeing waiting lines, enforcing buying limits on certain products, etc.
District managers have had to develop and reinforce these new training protocols while still doing everything possible to ensure their teams are providing the best possible customer service. A digital, mobile field app supports you by housing all the training, evaluation, and inspection forms, making it easy for you, the operations team, employees, and auditors to complete them as often as necessary. The app also consolidates all audit findings and action items, making it easy to reference them anytime.
These apps have other significant benefits, too. You’re likely spending more time in the field doing more store drop-ins and assessments. With a digital field app, you can complete these assessments much more quickly and efficiently, which opens up time for other important activities like training and mentoring team members.
Moreover, the app makes the results of all checklists and audits available online in real time, so you can evaluate each store’s performance while you’re still standing in it. You can see how each store is doing in comparison with others, which could help uncover deficiencies; then you can create objective digital action plans and assign them for completion while you’re still on site.
The Compounding Problem of Paper
If your assessment processes are still taking place on paper and in spreadsheets, you can probably see how this outdated practice can slow down the decision process and use up valuable staff time that could be better used elsewhere. These inefficiencies boil down to accuracy and time.
When audits are completed on paper and then transcribed to electronic spreadsheets, there are other problems beyond the duplication of effort. Even assuming the spreadsheets are correctly programmed, the process still allows plenty of human error and can take hours, if not days; these inefficiencies are compounded if you have more than one field auditor. Then all the data points from each store have to be compiled in order to try to gain some knowledge of overall trends, which means the data goes through another time-consuming process that introduces errors. As this is taking place, some store data becomes obsolete – but no one has any idea of knowing which data.
It’s complicated enough to identify core operational issues across your stores without introducing time delays, errors and incomplete data into your decision-making. In this era of miniscule profit margins, you need comprehensive data that reflects your stores’ adherence to company values in order to build and maintain that all-important, consistently great customer experience across all locations.
Going Mobile and Digital
District managers must ensure that each store is reflecting operational guidelines, compliance mandates and long-term strategic goals. With mobile, digital field audit software, completing an audit is as simple as opening up the app on your phone, making a few swipes and taps, and even dictating notes straight into the record or adding a quick photo or video for additional documentation. When you’re done, the assessment is submitted online instantly and the whole operational system has access to the results in real time. There’s no more paperwork to be filed or transcription needed.
The app’s automated scoring provides a complete picture of all the audit data, not just for one store, but all stores, all audits and all processes. You can easily determine which stores are excelling or falling short; you recognize trends as they develop and can respond appropriately, either with corrective action or by rolling out best practices to other locations. Your stores develop operational excellence as well as full compliance with required benchmarks.
This capacity to save time, lower costs, eliminate errors and increase operational proficiency has made field software indispensable for grocery and convenience chains that want to succeed in the post-pandemic marketplace.
Make the Most of Time
The future will belong to chains that effectively offer the best customer service in well-maintained, clean locations. MeazureUp’s digital field auditing app is a one-stop solution where all reports from all stores are aggregated in real time into a single dashboard on a cloud-based platform. Its error-free, actionable data helps safeguard the success of your entire organization. And it does more than just streamline auditing procedures and daily checklists; it also allows you to update policies and procedures just once and instantly push out the revisions so that everyone is constantly kept on the same page.
More time for other responsibilities, more efficiency in the field, fewer mistakes, and full data available all the time, from anywhere, so you can make better decisions at the exact time for effecting the most positive change. Isn’t it time to contact MeazureUp?