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Operational Excellence
The basic path to success is the same for all. To increase sales and reduce expenses in order to improve profitability- the goal is the same but how we achieve each milestone may vary. Meghna Dugar reports on following ways to better your business by improving our daily operations and reducing unnecessary hassles and improving productivity.
By: Diamond World News Service
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Aug 18 2012 7:04PM
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Reference: 7187  

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In the past decade, retailers have invested billions of dollars on advertising and technology to attract customers and get the right product in the right store at the right time at the right price. Retailers have invested in new technologies such as wired and wireless networks, supply chain systems, planning software, and more to improve efficiency and reduce costs. At the same time, retailers have spent significant time and money developing and implementing marketing and merchandising strategies to drive increased customer foot traffic and build customer loyalty.

Most of the technology retailers have implemented in the last decade has enabled improved performance in one functional area, such as merchandising, marketing, or supply chain. Although these applications can streamline planning and approval workflows and increase efficiency within one department, they do not do as well at improving collaboration among two or more functional areas. Furthermore, when it is time to communicate and implement their retail strategy in their stores, many retailers still rely on obsolete tools such as email, plain old telephone, and even faxes and paper memos. The use of these manual tools makes it difficult or impossible for retailers to monitor how well their strategy is being implemented, analyze the effectiveness of the strategy, and respond on a timely basis if necessary.

The gems and jewellery industry occupies an important position in the Indian economy. It is a leading foreign exchange earner, as well as one of the fastest growing industries in the country. The two major segments of the sector in India are gold jewellery and diamonds. Gold jewellery forms around 80 per cent of the Indian jewellery market, with the balance comprising fabricated studded jewellery that includes diamond and gemstone studded jewellery. Besides, India is world’s largest cutting and polishing Industry for diamonds, well supported by government policies and the banking sector with around 50 banks providing nearly $3 billion of credit to the Indian diamond industry.

The lack of cross-functional visibility and collaboration in four key retail processes – new item introductions, promotions, price changes, and recalls – often leads to suboptimal execution of retail strategy. Retailers use inefficient tools and processes in their operations when better solutions are available that enable success in the increasingly competitive and dynamic world of retailing. By implementing these tools, retailers could realize the following benefits: A retailer could drive a positive impact of millions of dollars by:

• Executing new product launches as intended – a retailer could increase sales by 2-5%.
• Carrying out promotions as intended – a retailer could increase sales by 2-3%.
• Improving price change execution – a retailer could increase compliance by 20%.
• Executing product withdrawals more efficiently – a retailer could improve brand loyalty by reducing the time to complete a product recall from 5 days to 3 hours.
With economic turbulence around the world, stemming from the credit crunch in the United States to inflation concerns in Europe and Asia, retailers are feeling the pressure. Some retailers, however, are responding to these concerns with actions – moving on their global expansion strategies, improving their operational processes and capabilities, and revamping their existing stores to improve ROI. Streamlining and harmonising retail store operations and supply chain processes to gain the necessary speed to respond to consumer requests remains a top priority for Retailer. And to put more light to it; we happen to interact with Ashok Minawal, Chaiman and partner in Danabhai Jewellers & Sons, and director in Danabhai Arcade Pvt Ltd – Pallazzio and Danabhai Jewellers Pvt Ltd. With his expertise in sales and purchase executives, he has expanded various stores with bright light. Ashok Minawala is would also be an active moderator at IIJS 2012 on topic “Excellence in store operations”. We are greatly obliged that he shares his knowledge and operational insight for gathering manifolds of store operations.

According to Ashok Minawala the store or the shop is the most revered part of retailer’s life regarded as “TEMPLE”. The discipline expected in our retail store is of high reverence. He also added, the store culture reflects on the owner’s attitude and identity. He further explained retail is the process management of the details so that it allows what is extremely beneficial- taking care of customer. I am sure many have experience the situation where you walk into a jewellery retail store and employees are too busy with “operational items” to help a customer. That show lack of pre-planning and operational execution that should have been completed well in advance of a customer walking into store. Being operational excellent is about developing system and procedure to address all of the little details of running your store-many of which are transparent to the customer. “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeteadly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit”, said Ashok Minawala.

Between operations, merchandising, marketing and facility upkeep, retail business owners have their hands full. Managing the details of retails is the difference between making it or not. All too often, retail owners become lax in their operation and put themselves at an unnecessary disadvantage with their customer. It may seen elementary, yet so many retailers miss the little things- the details that customer notice. They miss the chance to be operational excellent.

In retail, it is the little item that add up- operations is about preparation first, then execution. Having your store buttoned-up from top to bottom not only puts your best foot forward to your consumer but ensure that your entire staff is in alignment to your executional expectation. Consistency and execution will take your store futher and be harder for your competition to replicate. Focus like a laser on operational excellence and your sales will see a steady increase in sales.

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