OPINION: How investment in technology can boost productivity in your store – Harj Dhasee, Mickleton Village Stores, Gloucestershire

Inflation retail sector cost of living crisis shopper

Recently, we have been using technology to reduce manhours and get more productivity out of our store. It’s so important to invest in your store at the moment, but you have to invest in the right way, focusing on things that will make things smoother and the store easier to run. With the current climate the way it is, it’s really important to look at operations and how you can be more productive or reduce costs. So, we’ve looked at things that take time.

We’ve worked with HL Displays to introduce pushers onto our shelves. They push the products to the front of the shelf – like a vending machine – which not only makes the shelf look neat and tidy, but also ensures that it looks full. It looks good and it saves the staff at least an hour and a half every day where they would usually be wandering around the store merchandising products and keeping shelves looking tidy and well stocked. It works for our wines and soft drinks, but also salads and cheeses as well.

We’re also working with Retail Guardian to install temperature monitors in all our fridges, so that’s now being done automatically instead of our staff having to do it. The other things we now wouldn’t want to live without is headsets.

All of these efficiencies have enabled us to knock out about 30 manhours every week. That’s a big saving. I found out about these technologies by talking to other retailers and by going to events. You’ve got to get out and see what retailers are doing and ask them how they’re doing it. Next year, we’re looking at installing solar panels to reduce our energy usage.

It’s a big upfront cost, but we think it will have paid for itself in three-to-five years. The pusher displays from HL have paid for themselves far faster than that. We also want to introduce electronic shelf-edge labels in the new year as this will save further time.

This isn’t about core staff’s hours or wages. They’re in a cost-of-living crisis, too, so it’s important to maintain their level of income. It’s just a matter of general time wastage and reducing it.

Read more of our expert opinion on the independent retail sector


This article doesn't have any comments yet, be the first!

Become a member to have your say