Global Retailer

Redesigning In-Store Processes to Improve Efficiency, Save Time

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Hospitality Giant Increases Performance with Custom Analytics Management Software for Franchise Owners and Operators

Snapshot

The second-largest hospitality chain in the world was using an off-the-shelf franchise management solution to provide insights to their owners/operators. They discovered a need to provide clear, actionable, and consistent data to owners, operators, and franchisees in order to increase revenue and loyalty retention. But the company, like many companies, was battling disparate data, a lack of insights, legacy systems that take time to change, and the inability to meet the high demand for data innovation in the field. 

The solution? Refining a BI platform and a custom frontend application that make insights consumable by non-sophisticated data users, while also making data actionable for sophisticated users. 

middle-aged woman with black glasses and big smile

Incredibly exciting work! The progress is really wonderful to see and these products will make a real difference for our organization looking forward.

VP of Data

Services

Research

Vision-Casting

Strategy

Prototyping

Product Development

The Challenge

What We Were Up Against
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We were brought in to help Operations leaders reimagine the daily floor walk process. Essentially, each and every morning, store managers are responsible for walking the floor, looking for things that are out of place. Their goal is to find things that are out of place on the floor…basically critical tasks that need to get done. Those notes were then jotted down in yellow legal pads, via pen and paper, then handed off to department managers who are responsible for delegating that work to their team members.
Mason McClelland
,
Director of Strategy
,
RevUnit
female retail worker/manager with short hair and glasses completing tasks on a tablet.

Ops needed to rethink in-store task management

There was a tremendous desire to completely rethink the floor walk process inside of the stores smaller and supercenter locations, thus giving store management a redesigned system through which they would be able to more easily and efficiently identify, manage, and delegate all of the critical, day-to-day tasks required in order to keep their stores running smoothly. Doing so meant creating a new system that allowed store personnel to co-manage critical store operations and key daily tasks in real-time.

The existing process was inefficient and inconsistent

Store management was reliant upon an antiquated, analog system that actually had become more of a burden than a benefit. They had reason to question both the efficiency and usefulness of the floor walk, a daily ritual for leaders at each location across the country. In effect, store management was stuck between a rock and hard place — the daily floor walk was critical for daily operations, but it also took too much time, created unnecessary back-and-forth communication, and often created more headaches.

Consequently, store leaders often spent an hour each morning walking the store, jotting down notes, typing them up, and then delegating those tasks to department managers. And when hourly team members were finally assigned those tasks, there was no easy way to determine whether or not the task had been completed. What’s more, there was little-to-no uniformity in the process itself, which created a system full of inconsistency and irregularity.

The existing process was time-intensive and disjointed

We quickly found out the existing process was entirely dependent on a manual, inefficient, and rather tedious daily process. Each morning, store leaders would survey the store floor, looking for things which were either out of place or needed improvement. He or she would make note of these needed changes, and then pass them on to department managers, who would then delegate those tasks to hourly team members. This process was almost entirely paper-based, yet one of the most central to daily store operations.

There were a few, obvious limitations to this approach: First, the system itself lacked both accountability and consistency. That is, store management mostly relied on the “honor system” to determine whether or not these tasks were completed. Second, there were no uniform guidelines which governed how these tasks were documented or shared. This created a great deal of variability and inconsistency between stores (there wasn’t a standardized process that could scale across the brand’s massive footprint). Third, the process itself became a “time suck” for store management often creating gobs of unnecessary back-and-forth communication between various groups.

Spotlight —

In effect (and largely through no fault of their own), both store leaders and hourly team members were handicapped by both process and tools, and as a result, the primary actors responsible for running day-to-day store operations weren’t working together efficiently.

We noticed a few other critical issues, too

01—

There were some inherent biases that all involved had to overcome from the start

Many of the leaders making decisions back at headquarters had been former store managers themselves. Thus, there were some inherent biases that weren’t necessarily representative of what was actually happening inside the stores. What’s more, the floor walk process was inconsistent from store to store, so it was difficult to project research or qualitative findings across store locations.

02—

The existing process didn’t provide the level of accountability or intelligence desired

The existing, largely manual process didn’t give store management the type of accountability needed in order to know whether or not critical tasks had been completed. Consequently, the Ops teams back at headquarters also didn’t have access to the type of critical business intelligence that would help them quickly identify inefficiencies across its stores.

03—

There were unique, underlying data challenges that needed to be resolved quickly

Not surprisingly, getting access to store-level and employee-specific data proved difficult. At the time, most of that data was housed on a server inside the store. As a result, connecting to those systems was a significant challenge. Additionally, the sheer volume of available data (thousands of stores across the country) required a database architecture to match the unique, complex needs of such a massive organization.

The Partnership

How We Tackled the Challenge, Together
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It was such a close collaboration from the start, because, well, it had to be. The sheer scale of what we were trying to do required that everyone be “all in.” In fact, there was literally a period of time where our two teams were working shoulder to shoulder each day. We worked together and learned together for nearly four years.
Doug Mitchell
,
Vice President of Delivery
,
RevUnit

Phase 01: Research + Prototyping

team working on prototype and researching

Timeline: 8-10 Weeks

Key Activities:

  • Participated in countless store visits across the Midwest over the course of several weeks, including interviews with both store and regional managers across the country in order to better understand their roles, responsibilities, and workflows related to the floor walk process
  • Created a prototype that could be used to test initial hypotheses, elicit additional user feedback, and drive more meaningful conversations between the various internal teams; the prototype formed the foundations of our MVP build.
  • Worked with various internal teams to create a standardized design system, identify requirements for MVP, and performed a multi-week technical feasibility assessment that was then used to inform data and technical architecture decisions for MVP

Phase 02: Product Development

woman holding phone and taking notes

Timeline: 12 Weeks

Key Activities:

  • Outlined all requirements necessary to build MVP, identifying critical dependencies, technical requirements, architectural considerations, and potential blockers along the way
  • Worked in two-week sprints, working collaboratively with a variety of teams to determine priorities, remove blockers, and show quick progress (continuous release cycles)
  • Deployed critical functionality often, soliciting feedback from store management that was then used to validate or invalidate core features and functionality prior to system-wide rollout.
  • Tested all critical components prior to launch, worked predominantly with internal tech and systems teams, respectively, to plan and execute a nation-wide platform launch

Phase 01: Research + Prototyping

Group of people sitting around a table talking

Timeline: 2-4 Weeks

Key Activities:

  • Documented all critical platform components, including business requirements, technical architecture, and system components; provided end-to-end documentation for seamless ownership transition
  • Held multiple training sessions with internal teams to review critical systems, operational processes, and best practices for platform management; these sessions included critical technical support that enabled internal staff to more efficiently expand the platform in the future
  • Led ongoing training sessions to answer questions, provide guidance, and collect critical feedback from client stakeholders and associates; these sessions (including the resulting feedback) were then used in future platform enhancements to improve technical architecture and feature development.

Phase 01: Research + Prototyping

workers at a food processing plant, standing at a conveyor belt

Timeline: 4-5 Weeks

Key Activities:

  • First and foremost, we had to understand the existing processes in workflows in each production facility. So, we set out for several “ride along” visits, carefully watching how different facilities each handled the
  • First and foremost, we had to understand the existing processes in workflows in each production facility. So, we set out for several “ride along” visits, carefully watching how different facilities each handled the
  • First and foremost, we had to understand the existing processes in workflows in each production facility. So, we set out for several “ride along” visits, carefully watching how different facilities each handled the
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Spotlight —

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.