Patrick McDermott continues his series of articles on Stocktaking, with ways to create systems that last and how to communicate them to your team.
In the last issue of The Hardware Journal I discussed the task of getting organised to work towards a stocktake and have a successful, stock management system in your business.
You must first know what you want to achieve and then put in place a plan to achieve it. While daunting, it is a simple process of breaking down the tasks involved which will deliver the end goal.
First and foremost
Remember there is no “one thing” that will deliver efficient stock management. It is a combination of processes, people and your IT. The end-goal is not the success of this project.
The success is the process along the way to achieving the end-goal. This will require your team to be onboard, to have knowledge of your IT system and to have the discipline to stick to the plan.
Assuming that you know what your end goal looks like and that you have a documented plan (if not, go back to the last issue of The Hardware Journal to catch up), you want to have all stock on your Point of Sale (POS) with stock
quantities that you can trust.
Get your team on-board
You must communicate your end-goal to your team. If they are not on-board then you are fighting an uphill battle. In general, people dislike change as they become comfortable with the present and don’t want their stable ship to be rocked. When sharing the plan with your team, have a realistic timeline in place. If you try to do too much too quick, then you run the risk of losing long-term members and the
project is doomed.
Get some quick wins!
At this stage, you need to get your team engaged and working the way you want them to. You may have all this planned out in your head to the last detail, but you need to make the team feel like they are making progress on some simple tasks before moving into the real meaty issues that lie on the road ahead. A good place to start is be getting your shelves and stock room organised.
Make the change
Start to make the small changes that will visibly make your business immediately look better:
Now I realise that some of the above may lead to other issues, such as the obsolete stock that “could” be of use in the future. If you have not sold it in the past 2-3 years, I think it is fair to say that you do not have a requirement for it. Sell
it and sell it quickly. It is only costing you money holding onto it. Keep it simple and resist the temptation to do all of this in the first week!
As change is taking hold, you will find that momentum is building among your team and these small wins are making a difference.
A key part of a manager’s role is to get the team members to undertake the work and to ensure that they are being managed through the process. A simple way of ensuring this is to complete an accountability chart. This consists of each person’s role and what they are accountable for, not ‘responsible for’. Responsibility can be shared, accountability cannot. Multiple people can be responsible for a task but only one is accountable. Make this clear among your key team members.
Each person that reports to you should have a number, unique to that person, to gauge progress in their area of accountability. For example: number of shelves with SEL’s (shelf edge labels) displayed, or, knowing the top 100 selling items and ensure that they have the correct margin, retail price and displayed in a prominent area. The key part is that each person has an area of accountability.
This Business Support article featured in the July/August 2019 edition of The Hardware Journal.