Time Is of the Essence. So Why Aren’t Your Stores’ Checklists Available in Real Time?

By Latika Ganesh October 27, 2020 Blog, Convenience, Retail
store worker on phone

The passage of time can wreak havoc in the convenience and retail business environments.

For instance, food temperatures that go unverified can lead to the potential for spoilage and customer illness. Long-term, undiscovered shrinkage can seriously damage your bottom line. These are just two examples where time exacerbates the “intense competitive pressures that retailers face due to rapid changes in the retail and consumer landscapes,” according to a 2018 survey of 200 decision-makers at U.S. retail companies. Even at that time – in other words, before the pandemic – survey respondents ranked competition and greater consumer choice regarding where to buy as the top external pressures prompting them to pursue more effective business decisions.

In today’s business environment where profit margins can be razor-thin, you can’t afford not to be on top of any inefficiency, or any issues with customer experience or noncompliance, at all times. So why are you still committing your own time and that of your employees to inefficient, time-consuming paper checklists?

The Problem With Paper

Paper checklists are an inherently flawed tool for monitoring store activity and compliance. Not only are they time-consuming, but they often don’t record all the pertinent details of who, when and why actions must be taken – and that can lead to real issues with errors and accountability.

At the moment, however, we’re focusing on time. So what sort of delays do paper checklists create?

  • As mentioned above, there’s the time required for managers and employees to keep track of pieces of paper on which they handwrite their responses.
  • The time to deliver the checklist back to the main office and archive the paper checklists in some sort of meaningful way
  • Finally, the time to process the content of the checklists: If any problems are uncovered after the forms are turned in, time is required to develop an action plan, present it to the employees involved, and later check to ensure the action plan has been adequately completed.

Within your organization, how much time does this process take? Hours? Days? Hopefully not weeks! How much additional damage has been done while all this time goes by?

Further, our example assumes that all forms are completed perfectly; how much time does your organization lose when errors are discovered and have to be addressed? Finally, this assumes that the paper checklists aren’t being used once they’re completed. In a perfect world, you’d have time to mine those paper checklists for any information you might need in the future, such as demonstrating compliance, and use that data to help your stores improve.

Save Time Every Day

In its most basic form, a digital checklist takes all the manual processes you’ve been tracking on paper and rebuilds them digitally. Then the same version of each checklist, each set of standards, each process is available to everyone within your organization, in real time. Moreover, if any checklist or standard must be updated, it’s a matter of a few clicks, and the updated information rolls out to every employee, device and location, instantly available for their use and reference.

Your employees simply download an app onto their smartphone or other mobile device, and they can complete an online, standardized checklist with just a few swipes and taps, adding photos or video to the record as easily as taking a selfie. Similarly, your managers can use the same quick process to relay priorities and other important information between shifts and to perform quality checks on any topic at any location.

When action plans are needed, managers simply choose a template, autofill the details, and tag the relevant employees to complete it, which takes just a few minutes before they leave the site. As employees take remedial action, these and all other field entries are automatically tracked by GPS and time-stamped for your official records, helping ensure that no ‘pencil whipping’ is being done.

As soon as employees in the field hit send, an app dashboard updates with an instant and clear summary; anyone can easily find any specific data they need — either aggregated or by location. Your team is prepared to identify and take action on any issues that arise before they become serious. This paves the way for your locations to develop and maintain the high-quality, consistent customer experience that develops repeat business.

And just like that, you can stop worrying about your employees properly following company policies and compliance requirements during every shift in every location.

Save Time Long-Term

One of the most far-reaching benefits of digital checklists is that your organization can stop wasting time searching for any type of documentation. All data on checklists, action plans, and assessments is online, searchable and available to anyone at any time. Preparing for external audits becomes a matter of a few minutes and a few clicks instead of hours or days searching for and analyzing old paper.

In addition, having all this data online means you have instant access to real time enterprise-wide analytics that can help ensure your operations are running smoothly and to take immediate action when they’re not. While underperforming stores or poor processes in multiple locations are easily uncovered, it’s also easy to identify and transplant best practices from one successful location to any other. It becomes much easier to bring individual locations in line with brand and operational standards, while at the same time identifying previously hidden opportunities.

In addition, the online digital app that supports your checklists can also house all your employee training. You can evaluate the performance of all your employees, improve and reinforce training, and update that training as often as necessary. Further, training modules can be assigned to job descriptions so that no employee spends time on any aspect of training they won’t need. Having all their training and job duties online increases employee engagement and job satisfaction, so you’ll also waste less time in dealing with employee turnover.

Get Your Time Back

No management team wants to worry about employee compliance with health and safety regulations – let alone standards for branding, marketing and shrink control. Simply put, MeazureUp’s digital checklist solution can ensure the right actions are being taken on time, every time, by every employee – and you can confirm exactly what they’ve done in real time. Your workflows are greatly simplified, which allows you to spend more quality time with your employees. And you gain unprecedented visibility into the environment inside every location and across your entire organization.

If you’d like more information about how MeazureUp can help you eliminate paper and make the best use of time throughout your enterprise, contact us today.