eStar’s Patrick Gaskin outlines about the importance of change management in transitioning a retail business to store-based fulfilment.

As online customers expect faster click & collect and home delivery options, and retailers look to leverage their stores to achieve this, seamless integration of people, processes, and technology (PPT) framework is key to success.

In any organisational transformation, the human factor is pivotal. It is the store staff, the frontline ambassadors of the brand, who play a crucial role in ensuring the success of the shift to faster click and collect or store-based fulfilment. Their buy-in, commitment, and understanding of the broader objectives of the business are paramount. As the first pillar of the PPT framework, people need to be at the forefront of change management strategies.

Motivating store staff to embrace the new fulfilment model requires a thoughtful approach to incentives. Traditional retail roles may not have included order picking and packing responsibilities, making it essential to align incentives with these additional tasks. This can include performance-based bonuses tied to successful order completion, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility among the staff.

Clear and transparent communication is a cornerstone of successful change management. It is imperative to convey the reasons behind the shift to more online-related tasks being completed in-store. Its positive impact on the business, job security, and potential for personal and professional growth should be clearly outlined. Regular updates, town hall meetings, and open forums for feedback can help address concerns and build a sense of community among store staff.

Empowering store staff with the necessary skills and knowledge is also vital for a smooth transition. Comprehensive training programmes should be implemented, covering not only the technical aspects of order fulfilment but also the broader context of how their role contributes to the overall success of the business. Training modules should emphasise efficiency, accuracy, and customer satisfaction, aligning individual tasks with the overarching objectives of increasing sales and providing excellent customer experiences.

The second pillar of the PPT framework, process, is about optimising workflows and ensuring that tasks are executed efficiently and effectively. In the context of store-based fulfilment, this involves redefining traditional retail processes to accommodate order picking, packing, and shipping seamlessly.

The integration of store-based fulfilment requires a redesign of existing workflows. Inventory management, order processing, and fulfilment workflows must be streamlined to minimise disruptions and enhance efficiency. Technology solutions, such as an Order Management System (OMS), play a crucial role in this process, facilitating real-time monitoring and control.

Breaking down silos between different departments is essential for successful store-based fulfilment. Cross-functional collaboration ensures that the efforts of various teams, including sales, operations, and logistics, are synchronised to meet the overarching objectives. Regular collaboration meetings and a shared understanding of the end-to-end process are crucial for maintaining a cohesive and agile operation.

The third pillar of the PPT framework, technology, acts as the enabler that brings the people and processes together. In the context of store-based fulfilment, technology plays a central role in ensuring accuracy, speed, and scalability.

Automation is a key element in enhancing the efficiency of store-based fulfilment. Digital picking and intelligent order management systems can significantly reduce errors and increase the speed of order processing. Systems that route and prioritise orders, whilst automatically handling exceptions (short picks, backorders, etc.) with state-of-the-art technology are not just a necessity but a strategic move to future-proof the business against evolving market demands.

Moreover, a modern OMS should provide transparency over all aspects of fulfilment and inventory and therefore provide valuable insights into customer behaviour, inventory trends, and operational efficiency. Utilising this information enables retailers to make informed decisions, optimise inventory levels, and refine fulfilment processes continuously. This data-driven approach is integral to achieving the primary objectives of increasing sales and delivering outstanding customer experiences.

In summary, the successful shift of a retail business towards quicker click and collect or store-based fulfilment hinges on seamlessly integrating people, processes, and technology. Store staff are pivotal and require alignment through well-crafted incentives and thorough training. Effective communication, highlighting positive impacts and fostering a sense of community, is critical. Processes need to be optimised, workflows improved, and inter-departmental barriers removed to enhance efficiency. Technology, as the facilitator, involves automation and the use of sophisticated order management systems.

A contemporary Order Management System ensures transparency, enabling data-driven decisions to boost sales and deliver outstanding customer experiences. Embracing this comprehensive approach empowers businesses to navigate change successfully, positioning them for success.

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