Why Contactless Audits Should Continue Happening at Grocery Stores – Even After a Pandemic

By October 13, 2021 Blog
female staff using tablet device in supermarket

Grocery stores have changed their standards of operation in response to COVID-19. For example, many stores have implemented contactless audit applications, which allow field auditors, managers, or employees to conduct complete store reviews on their personal mobile devices and upload the results to the cloud.

As COVID-19 slowly subsides to health measures, grocery and c-stores should not abandon the processes they worked so hard on optimizing. Instead, contactless mobile audits will continue to add value above and beyond the safety concerns which motivated them in the first place.

Keep a Healthy Track Record

Grocery and convenience stores have updated health and safety SOPs in the last year. While the pressure of COVID-19 may lighten up, keeping your team healthy – even against colds and flu –will improve performance.

Common illnesses attack millions of workers every year, but 90% of people still come to work when sick. That means someone with a flu is likely to pass it on to others, degrading your team’s efficiency and possibly causing serious harm to some employees.

And if you’re still using paper audits, the germs spread by handing checklists, audit forms, pens and pencils from person to person will counteract safety measures. Thus, it’s important to keep safety measures in place and use contactless audits to reduce germ exposure and reinforce compliance to all health standards.

Keep Management Efficiency

While managers are using mobile audits, they’re spending less time on administrative tasks, such as filling out paper reports and compiling audit data. They may also be coordinating with onsite employees to run the audits remotely, saving travel time.

These efficiencies do more than limit face-to-face interactions. They free up management schedules to work on improving and growing the business. Managers have more capacity for better analysis of the information collected from audits, innovative programs to improve customer experience, implementation of new technology, or employee retention plans.

Keep Performance Insights

Because mobile digital audits are completed on cell phones or tablets, field managers and owners have a much richer record of store performance. Reports include photos, recorded audio comments, written notes, time stamps, and auditor names.

All of the audit data can be compiled and sliced and diced for better insight into store performance than ever before. Analysis of the information also highlights areas where you can make meaningful changes to grow revenue and reduce costs, whether that means more or different training, improved procedures, or new services.

Keep Your Brand Unique

There are plenty of general grocery and c-store audit forms and checklists available, but if the past couple of years have proven anything, it’s that employees and customers differ from one store to another. Your company culture is a big part of the brand that keeps customers coming back. And you can’t stand out from the crowd with one-size-fits-all audit forms.

Digital audits are customizable for an entire chain, a region, or a single location. You can easily update and share the right audit forms with the right stores. And field auditors have all the forms at their fingertips, so they never have to worry if they picked up the right piece of paper before leaving the office.

Customizable forms allow grocery and c-stores to address regional crises as well. Fires, floods, hurricanes may impact some stores and not others. Having the ability to quickly run a preparedness audit at any location can save inventory and help you and your customers recover quickly.

Keep Your Inventory and Employees Safe

Unlike paper surveys, digital audit applications can communicate wirelessly with sensors which monitor food storage temperatures and even employee temperatures (for illness). Managers have a real-time situation assessment for how every store is doing.

Any deviation from temperature requirements will trigger alerts and you can fix the issue before sustaining loss or accidentally selling spoiled food.

Keep Your Best Employees

There’s a lot of discussion these days about the difficulty of hiring for grocery and c-store jobs. But even before 2020, the turnover rate for the industry was pretty high. In 2019 for example, the turnover in food retail was 52%. So whether we’re in a pandemic or not, grocery and c-stores need to get good at hiring and keeping employees.

Mobile digital audits support this effort by identifying areas where more training is needed, uncovering environmental or organizational problems that could be lowering employee satisfaction, and providing performance data against which to set employee goals and bonuses for higher job motivation.

Keep Your Stores Ready for the Future

No one was expecting COVID-19 when it hit, and most of us were caught off guard. Grocery and c-store management and employees rallied to support a traumatized public, but no one wants to endure that again.

It makes sense to maintain the best practices and technology that got you through the pandemic. Whatever form a fresh crisis takes, it’ll likely impact supply chains and distribution. It may result in more lockdowns, and the employment market may tighten again. The improvements you’ve made to handle those challenges will help you weather the next ones.

Mobile audits will help ensure your stores are operating at maximum efficiency in normal times, so if we do face difficulties, you have good processes to lean on. The audits let you keep track of store operations with a smaller team and remotely if necessary. And if you need to pivot or innovate to stay in business, audits help you adjust procedures, share them with employees, and follow up on how they’re working.

Outpace Post-COVID Competition with MeazureUp

You have no control over external events, but MeazureUp gives you and your managers the insight to ensure your stores are operating smoothly.

  • Implement the system quickly and customize to your needs.
  • Make audits available on any mobile device for maximum flexibility.
  • Monitor food temperature and employee temperatures with smart tech.
  • Ensure consistent and comprehensive training across all locations.
  • Assess loss minimization, visual merchandizing, inventory controls and health and safety compliance.
  • Save time and money over paper audits.
  • Build a rich data trail of performance over time and across locations for analysis, trends, and improvement.

Schedule a brief product tour to learn how MeazureUp can help you keep the advantages of contactless audits regardless of what the future has in store.