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SGB talks to Peter Danby, Managing Director of the DMC Group, the human
resources consultancy that specialise within the outdoor, fashion and sports
sectors providing services to corporate clients including training, consultancy
projects and also recruitment.
SGB: What can DMC offer the Independent retailer in these difficult times?
PD: The first thing that goes out of the window when times get tough is
"That’s one of the keys to good retail,
training and any budget for training. Unfortunately there’s a dearth of really
keeping the morale up; staff will
good man managers around and I think that’s one of the keys to good
retail, keeping the morale up; staff will perform better if they feel better. perform better if they feel better."
Good managers should be judged by the quality of their staff, so it’s very
important that those managers constantly train and develop. because they are pretty good at their existing job, but what you actually
need to see is if people have natural coaching skills. What people like
SGB: Is there a basic strategy that Independent retailers can follow? MacDonalds have done is the buddying system, where someone with three
PD: One of the greatest things I’ve ever done, making retail into training, is stars looks after the guy with two stars and it’s for him to get that guy up to
what we call a Business Focus File. On a cold and wet day when perhaps the that level. Eventually you will spot your managers very early in the chain of
shop is a little bit quiet it's a great opportunity to find out what’s happening command as it’s gives people the opportunity to prove that they are natural
in the local areas, things like: Who else is promoting your products? Who coachers.
else is running window displays and who else is running staff promotions?
Are people offering student discount at that particular time? So what I SGB: Are there any brilliant words of advice?
would say is actually to go out and to be aware of your local environment PD: The key thing is standards: You need to have a standard that would
and the local competition to get ahead. Don’t sit in the retail outlet waiting outstrip your competitors in terms of customer service, the way you dress
for people to come in, it’s not going
"Go out and to be aware of your local
your mannequins, your windows, the
to happen. way you greet your customers. We
environment and the local competition
introduce company standards and get
SGB: Is this process for management the team to gain ownership to those
to get ahead. Don’t sit in the retail
standards by agreeing and adding to
PD: The Business Focus File is built by
outlet waiting for people to come in,
them. The manager’s job then is to
the entire team as business awareness give evaluation and appraisals so
at every level should be encouraged.
it’s not going to happen."
everyone’s aware of their strengths.
So if you’ve got an expert on ladies The team ethos can be brought into
wear, she might go out and look at all the ladies denim in the area and by play by brainstorming: So the manager will introduce a new collection and
communicating her findings to the group; it'll give a really good feeling. ask. "What are going to be the challenges?" Could be price, could be
Encourage staff to read the magazines and find out what’s going on in the quality, it could be colours, and the team brainstorm the solutions. So a
world. Some of the best people who have 'worked out' in the outdoor really good pro-active manager gives his team direction and vision, and then
industry have started in retail and worked their way up. helps to set standards. It’s a constant personal development plan as well as
a team development plan.
SGB: So what would be your advice for staff advancement?
PD: In the hard times, people have got to be that much smarter; the SGB: What about relationships with suppliers?
selection of managers are often made for the wrong reasons. It's usually PD: I think even the independents should try and use their muscle and
stress their importance to their particular suppliers. I think the representative
"You need to have a standard that
from the brand needs to understand the business he’s dealing with and the
would outstrip your competitors in
retailer – even a small multiple retailer – needs to know the strength of the
brand and then to agree a joint strategy, so you’re working together on
terms of customer service"
maximising the sales. This strategic partnership between the two people
means retailers will maximise what the brand have got to offer.
For more information, and to find out how the DMC Group can benefit your business, large or small, contact:
DMC GROUP HUMAN RESOURCE CONSULTANTS
t: 01582 461555 e: email@example.com
12 SGB OUTDOOR JULY 2009
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