Dec 8, 2016
Order Pick-Up Peril: Restaurants, Foodservice Need to Consider “Last 10 Inches” of Customer Experience
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Starbucks understands a focus on the last 10 feet is critical to increasing throughput and same store sales. In a recent interview with CNBC, Starbucks incoming CEO, Kevin Johnson, talked about how they’re using technology and digital innovation to end lines and improve the customer experience.
The seemingly ubiquitous coffee brand‘s approach may be innovative, but their effort is no surprise. It’s addressing one of Starbuck’s biggest issues. As Jim Kramer notes, at the 8:15 mark of this extended interview, “Everyone loves (Starbucks) coffee. But they hate the lines, they can’t get it fast enough (in North America).”
As Starbucks already attributes 14 per cent of sales to customers using their mobile app, it has plenty of incentive to improve. Their mobile order and pay programme gathers customer data, increases customer engagement and decreases costs. And studies show convenience is a top driver of consumer purchases. It’s a win-win.
Apps Alone Can’t End the Queue
Since launching its app, Starbucks has inspired restaurants, regardless of segment, and foodservice brands to make it as simple as possible for customers to order and pay.
Their efforts are having an impact according to the Chicago Tribune. “Customers spend more and visit more often, on average, when they’re using a phone to order their food.”
Customers spend more and visit more often, on average, when using a phone to order their food.
In fact, mobile ordering will be a more than £30.2 billion industry by 2020, accounting for more than 10 per cent of sales for the North American quick serve restaurant (QSR) segment alone. Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts are among the QSRs with apps that support mobile ordering. But none give a clear idea as to how customers should pick up their order. In fact, many mobile ordering apps require customers to have their phone scanned at the register to complete the transaction.
Shifting to fast casual, Panera’s Rapid Pick-Up programme eliminates customer-employee interaction. But it’s probably increasing its shrink rate as well. Each store has an unattended shelf were orders bearing each customer’s name and receipt are placed. College students have called it the best free meal in town. The honor system addresses the issue for the consumer, but it simply shifts the costs for Panera.
Order Pick-Up & Automated Lockers
Mobile ordering’s popularity could create more issues than it solves if restaurants don’t consider order pick-up. Order pick-up is the last 10 inches of the last 10 feet. But it’s usually the first step that is ignored in the process. The promise of mobile ordering isn’t being realized for consumer, employee or brand if this final step isn’t seamless. Luckily there is proven technology that can help with this handoff.
Adding automated, self-serve lockers to handle order pick up will help restaurants finally eliminate the queues caused by customer-employee interaction. These lockers are already helping retailers across the globe provide click & collect convenience to customers.
Consider how a temperature-regulated locker can decrease the length of time between a customer holding their smartphone to holding their hot, freshly-prepared meal.
Ensuring the entire mobile ordering process, including order pick-up, works seamlessly without employee interaction, can help differentiate your brand. And it allows employees to focus on more important tasks.
Automated, self-serve lockers can help restaurants and foodservice brands improve their bottom line. Visit www.apexsupplychain.com to find out how.
Nov 16, 2016
5 Warning Signs of Asset MISmanagement
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There are certain assets that lie at the beating heart of any organisation, so when management of these critical assets is not up to scratch, it will be detrimental to productivity and the business operation overall.
Historically, process improvements and cost saving initiatives have been focused on production and service delivery, with little attention paid to support systems such as the provision of the tools and equipment needed for operations to run smoothly. Getting the management of these mission-critical assets right will eliminate time spent locating functioning tools resulting in more efficient businesses overall.
Julian Adams, Managing Director of Apex Supply Chain Technologies Ltd, talks through five key signs that assets are not being properly managed that every operations manager should look for.
1. Time away from task
It is not uncommon for workers to leave their primary work area to retrieve a tool or an asset that they need to do their job. The time away could be a few minutes but it could also be much longer, depending on the size of the premises and availability of equipment.
In much of industry, there are two people involved in the acquisition of the equipment –the person using it and a manager or a stores operator who has to sign out the kit. The equipment allocation process does not add any value to the operation and in fact often detracts from high-value duties, highlighting a key area for efficiency improvement.
2. Search for missing critical assets
On arrival to work, the ideal scenario is for all employees to have critical equipment charged and ready for operation. In situations where equipment is not available to hand out, jobs can be dramatically delayed. To determine the cost to a business of missing, misplaced and not-ready-for-use equipment, the following calculation can be used:
Time in minutes for an employee to travel to and locate required equipment x the number of trips per year x the average pay per hour of those in this position.
3. Delayed jobs and services
If a worker can’t do their job due to the correct equipment being unavailable, there is a knock-on effect for the whole production process. In a warehouse environment this could mean delays to order deliveries and disgruntled customers. For an operative working in the automotive sector, it could mean delays to a maintenance programme leading to equipment downtime and manufacturing delays, which cost hundreds of thousands per hour.
4. Elevated labour costs and overtime
When a job isn’t completed within the required window, businesses will often see a sharp spike in overtime expenses. For some businesses, this can lead to the recruitment of temporary staff, who often operate at a higher wage level and require additional safety and job training – a further cost to the business.
5. Increase in unplanned costs for processes, orders and services
When production times shift, so too do other factors, such as shipment costs, particularly when there is a deadline to meet. Where additional costs are mounting on the balance sheet, the knee-jerk response is to look for a new supplier when the cause can often be much closer to home.
A lack of control over critical assets, will have a trickle-down effect on other productivity initiatives, which may not be fully realised. The solution, though, is fairly simple. Just as self-service cash machines revolutionised the banking sector, self-service asset management is doing the same for industry through the use of automated locker systems, positioned strategically near the point of use.
Equipment can be checked in and out through the automated system, which is both secure and easy to implement and support. Distribution can be controlled and determined on a case-by-case basis, meaning that every operative can have their own profile, identifying each and every piece of equipment they require to do their jobs. Only those profiles programmed to have access to certain pieces of equipment can retrieve those items – ensuring a high degree of control and compliance.
Furthermore, systems can be designed to lock down assets that are due for calibration, service or inspection – ensuring that no piece of kit is released from the locker until it is in optimum condition. Businesses can also ensure that equipment is replenished when stock runs low, recording each and every dispense and logging the data.
Long gone are the days when equipment was signed out of the storeroom using a simple sign-out and sign-in sheet. With automation, businesses have full visibility, control and traceability for all their assets day-in and day-out.
For more information about Apex Supply Chain Technologies, please visit www.ApexSupplyChain.com/gb/asset-management, email email@example.com, or call 0800 840 4776
Sep 16, 2016
THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF ASSET MANAGEMENT
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Can you imagine trying to run your operations without key items, like calibrating tools and electronic devices, including handheld data terminal, scanners and tablets?
Yet many businesses don’t have the systems in place to ensure that their workers have reliable and efficient access to such ‘mission critical’ assets. This causes disruption in operations, which in turn results in unnecessary and costly downtime.
Here Julian Adams, Managing Director at Apex Supply Chain Technologies Ltd, shares the seven deadly sins that businesses must avoid to ensure their asset management programs are efficient and effective.
1. Centrally-located equipment
While keeping all your assets in one place seems like a good idea, it also means that workers must leave their workspace, travel some distance in many cases and sometimes queue to retrieve their mission critical assets. This ‘walk and wait’ time decreases productivity and increases costs.
2. Manual asset check out and return
In some operations, a staff member manually issues, accepts and tracks assets. This is a common approach to managing equipment such as handheld data terminals, scanners, tablets and calibrated tools. Depending on the size of the operation, this job can be a part-time or full-time position. Either way, when it is viewed on a ‘per transaction’ basis, it’s an expensive, inefficient and unreliable way to manage assets.
3. Self-service asset check out and return
Self-service processes can be even more ineffective as far as managed processes go. Workers can take and return mission-critical assets from unattended storerooms, cabinets and other storage places without supervision or observation. While there is no asset manager labour cost, there is also little control of these assets. Inaccurate or incomplete data capture makes it almost impossible to manage these mission-critical resources effectively.
4. Ineffective tracking and accountability
Most systems still rely on log books or manual scanning to record where and when an asset is issued. This can lead to inaccurate or incomplete data due to errors or shortcuts in logging or scanning. When items go missing, it’s difficult to track exactly where assets are or to hold workers accountable. And there is no accurate audit trail for safety, quality and regulatory compliance.
5. Assets not ready for action
Some mission-critical assets need to be calibrated or serviced regularly to ensure they are ready for use when needed. Without proper management, workers may find that the assets they need are not ready for action. Replacing the item results in unscheduled downtime and a loss of productivity.
6. ‘Hoarding’ and ‘misplaced’ assets
With ineffective or non-existent controls in place for devices or equipment some workers feel the need to build their own, readily-available supply. Insufficient control may also lead to the loss of assets such as two-way radios and power tools, which can be used outside of the work environment. This all increases replacement costs and productivity suffers due to a shortage of resources.
7. Frequent searches for assets
When accurate real-time data is not available on the whereabouts of handheld scanners, for example, workers will spend significant amounts of time searching for and retrieving them. When it comes to tasks that decrease productivity, estimates suggest these searches can account for up to 40 per cent of a supervisor’s misspent time.
There are many ways that the mismanagement of assets is failing businesses. But there is hope, in the form of automated systems, which are able to track, manage and control assets in the workplace.
Automated locker systems replace inefficient manual processes with technology that manages check-out/check-in processes, provides 24/7 access and availability at the point of use, improves control and accountability and eliminates asset loss and replacement costs.
Automated lockers containing these vital devices and equipment can be conveniently located in multiple areas around a facility. This makes them easily accessible to the workers who need them. Workers simply scan an ID card or enter a code on the key pad or touch screen to open the locker and retrieve or return their asset. An automated locker system can be set up to grant access to only those assets that have been authorised for specific users.
Automated locker systems, like those available from Apex Supply Chain Technologies®, rely on cloud-based software to capture every transaction and detail so that data can show which assets have been checked out, by whom and when.
It also manages loan periods for each asset by sending notifications automatically if an item is not returned on time. Certification and calibration downtime can also be managed automatically by the system, and some systems can even capture reasons for return such as the need for an inspection or a repair.
With an Apex automated locker system, all data, reports and audit trails can be viewed on demand and in real-time, helping monitor accountability and compliance.
For businesses struggling with mission-critical asset management, salvation has arrived.
For more information about Apex Supply Chain Technologies and Automated Dispensing solutions, please visit www.apexsupplychain.com/gb/asset-management-3/, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 0800 840 4776.