If you're managing a facility in the retail industry, there is no way to hide behind the scenes or wait for downtime to address issues. Unlike other industries where facilities might be tucked away out of sight, your work is on display at all times in front of customers, coworkers, management, and competitors.
Here are 10 best practices of any retail facility plan:
- Give your store the top to bottom once-over.Are ceiling tiles damaged, light bulbs blown, windows dirty, carpets stained? In the world of retail, it's easy to get caught up in products and prices, but public perception can be a deciding factor when it comes to traffic and sales.
- Establish regular maintenance schedules. There are certain tasks you should schedule ahead of time. Relamping, painting, and carpet cleaning are good candidates to put on the calendar, despite the natural inclination to do things on an "as needed" basis instead.
- Use fixtures and finishes strategically. Work with your sales team to assist in merchandising efforts. Extra touches like signage and lighting can go a long way when it comes to promotion, even if it means extra work for you and your team.
- Make your store user friendly. Consider the traffic flow of your shoppers; careful planning and layout can transform a confusing space into an enjoyable experience that encourages better shopper return and retention rates.
- Remember the restrooms. Many people associate a dirty restroom with poor management. Top complaints like malfunctioning fixtures, messiness and odor can be avoided by adhering to regular maintenance logs. Also, while cutting costs in the restroom may be a common practice, it can backfire—if the more affordable option is ineffective, you not only use more, but you also leave a bad impression.
- Consider greener purchasing options. If your company is working to become more sustainable, you can support those efforts by adopting more environmentally conscious practices within your department. The restroom and breakroom can be great places to introduce green paper products and cleaning solutions without compromising quality. For more on this subject, see this web exclusive, "Clean Green While Keeping Labor Costs in Check" from FacilityExecutive.com.
- Investigate energy savings. Many retail facilities are now incorporating more sustainable lighting practices by switching out old lamps and bulbs. Energy saving LEDs are one option that can help save money.
- Watch your waste. Along with product purchasing measures, strategic waste management and recycling programs are easy ways to support your company's environmental policies. It's also crucial to know any hazardous waste requirements for your business sector and have a documented plan to adhere to these requirements.
- The security balancing act. Loss prevention is one of the biggest challenges for retail businesses. Security cameras are now commonplace, but they come with their own issues like customer privacy, staffing, and technical limitations. After all, a camera can certainly record a theft, but it can't prevent one from happening. While there are newer cameras that can help prevent loss by capturing customer behaviors through the use of video analytics, this equipment must be monitored in order for it to work effectively.
- Train your top-notch team. If you're going to go through the trouble of putting a strategic plan in place, make sure you include your staff in the process. Have written plans and procedures, and be sure to communicate these with your team.
During competitive economic times like these, facility management should be looking for best practices to put your shop in order and keep it operating that way. By adopting these strategic measures, retail store management can make the entire retail operation look sharp and run smoothly.