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AS WATSON IMPROVES IT SUPPORT I


n the UK and Ireland AS Watson operates nearly 1,400 Superdrug, The Perfume Shop and Savers outlets. In 2011, the company


undertook a tender process for the provision of IT support services across the three main retail brands as the existing contract had come to an end. One year on, the appointment of Vista Retail Support has resulted in a dramatic improvement in service quality, with every store - from large city centre outlets to smaller stores in the remotest geographies - receiving high-level support in line with AS Watson’s demanding service level agreement. In putting in place a new support agreement, the company was determined


to address problems of inconsistent service quality across its diverse estate and in particular reduce the number of repeat call-outs to address problems. Chris Greetham, AS Watson IT services


manager, said the company was looking for consistency of service had to be balanced with flexibility in order to meet the differing demands of the various retail brands, store sizes and locations. Vista was able to provide support


for arrange of technologies, including tills, handheld terminals and back-office equipment. Since its appointment, the number of repeat calls has fallen to less than 1%.


“Problems will inevitably arise from time to time within an IT environment, though the Vista approach has kept these to a minimum,” added Greetham. “When issues have arisen, for example when spare parts have not been available,Vista has not tried to hide things but has been honest and upfront in coming to us quickly. They have immediately taken ownership of the problem and found a way to rapidly resolve the situation.” AS Watson is currently looking at additional operational efficiencies and is working closely with Vista to consider and evaluate appropriate instore solutions.


CABELA’S DELIVERS RETAIL TRAINING


US outdoor recreational retailer Cabela’s has improved the management of everyday workflows at more than 30 retail locations, including the training and evaluation of up to 500 employees per location. To deal with the wide variety of complex products offered


in its various departments, as well as the large number of daily customers, employee training and evaluation became an increasingly important aspect of the everyday workflow at Cabela’s. It needed to find a system that would help develop and edit custom training content for employees. The Nebraska-based company selected SumTotal’s Learning


system. “We now have 64 different learning plans that multiple departments use to train employees,” said Heather Williamson, Cabela’s human resource (HR) training system administrator. “Every retail employee has a minimum of three learning plans they must complete. The SumTotal solution saves us a lot of time and is easy to use from the learner’s standpoint.” According to Williamson, each employee can now complete


Cabela’s Code of Conduct, the one course they must attend every year, using SumTotal, eliminating the time and cost of


bringing employees together for instructor-led training (ILT) courses in a central location each year. “Each department has different learning plans that they implement for their employees,” Williamson said. “New employees coming into a department are automatically entered into its learning plan thanks to SumTotal’s auto-assign functionality. That’s another huge time saver for us. We don’t need to have someone on staff to manually enrol people in all the required courses anymore.” The system also provides content development tools and assistance and a platform for staff to enrol and participate in Cabela’s-specific degree programmes from Western Nebraska Community College. And its measurement and reporting tools enable each store to track employee training and certification among the product categories. In the future, Williamson hopes to expand the use of SumTotal


in the corporate offices. Today, the retail section of the business is getting the most out of the system. Williamson said the company will continue to add product training to its roster of custom courses, while also adding a Retail Line Review to provide staff with a constantly changing look at new products coming to stores.


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 RETAIL TECHNOLOGY


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