The ThinkTime maxim is, " we make retail work" for a reason. We've learned all the painful lessons that retail can teach. As such, we're uniquely positioned to understand and solve some of the toughest challenges retailers face today.
You see, we got fed up - really fed up - with the “solutions” software providers pawned off on us while we were in leadership roles at major retailers including The Home Depot, Sears and Pep Boys. Each sales pitch seemed like the last, a fancy presentation with lots of big words and theory, but lacking in substance and practical application.
We vowed to do better, and we have. We put more than 60 years of retail experience to work identifying eight key challenges retailers face today. With the technological expertise of our parent company, Productive Edge, we’ve created a cloud based task, support and communications platform designed to solve those problems. We call it ThinkTime.
The eight problems we sought to fix are as old as retail itself, but ThinkTime offers a modern, advanced solution to each. We did not, however, do rocket science. We kept it simple, knowing that ease-of-use is a key factor in boosting associate engagement and productivity. That’s why retailers worldwide are adopting our platform and experiencing significant results.
So what are the 8 problems and how does ThinkTime solve for them?
Let’s dive in and take a look...
1. Lack of consistent execution at all levels
We’ve all heard the story that a McDonald’s hamburger tastes the same in China as it does in Milwaukee. We’re not sure that’s true, but hundreds of franchise and chain stores have based their business model on that goal of consistency. However, often times consistency falls victim to poor communication. When standards are unclear, leaders and associates are free to interpret them. As a result, information gets watered down, and in turn, so does execution.
ThinkTime combats this challenge by creating:
- One clear stream of communication from corporate to associates. Your hierarchy, roles and users are uploaded into the platform during implementation. You can cascade your standards through every level, delivering communications and tasks that reach your intended audience without filters.
- Personalized communication.. Associates get only the information and instruction they need to deliver consistent execution, every time. Field Leadership can use ThinkTime to audit stores and ensure that the vision has translated to reality.
- Store Walk and QuickWalk tools. Scripted Store Walks using pre-built questions structure the flow of store walks and build consistency - chainwide. Leaders capture opportunities as they see them and can translate them into QuickWalk tasks that can be tracked to completion.
One other thing to consider here: Consistency doesn’t guarantee excellence. That’s why we spent as much time thinking about how to help you raise the bar on customer experience as we have developing our communications tools. You want consistency, but you also want to evolve as the customer demands it. ThinkTime lets you do both.
2. Lack of real-time visibility on the status of work being performed
We all remember the iconic scene in the movie A Few Good Men. Lieutenant Kaffee, played by Tom Cruise, is interrogating Colonel Jessup, played by Jack Nicholson. Kaffee demands the truth, to which Jessup explosively responds, “You can’t handle the truth!” Unfortunately, that’s exactly how many systems handle real time data, the truth of what’s happening within your organization. They make it as difficult to access as their after-sales service.
At ThinkTime, we believe you can handle the truth and we strive to bring it to you in ways that are:
- Timely. ThinkTime has a robust series of dashboards, widgets and in-task drill down reports that put a real-time view of the truth at your fingertips.
- Trackable.. ThinkTime also features a personalized calendar view for every user, allowing proactive planning at all levels of the organization.
- Meaningful. Data is personalized to show each user the information that is most important to them, while blocking out data that is irrelevant and will only distract.
(Oh yeah, we also believe in post-sales service too.)
3. Corp or Field Managers overload stores with work they don't have time to complete
Overloaded workers may fail to perform at their best, which can reduce productivity. At the same time, many retailers need to meet payroll ratios by increasing the workload. We’ve seen the ebb and flow of success at retailers tied to this service model dilemma.
So, how do you know where that line is? How do you know when to move a task from one week into the next because it is just too much for your workforce to handle? ThinkTime lets you:
- Visualize the impact of scheduled work week-to-week.
- Balance the load through workflows, gatekeeping functions and our comprehensive calendar,
- Ensure associates complete what’s important in stride.
- Make wise decisions that result in a more engaged and happy workforce.
4. Communications and task requests aren't targeted or personalized
Though we may not always be conscious of it, communication today has evolved from a pull process to a push process. Time consuming one-on-one briefings have been replaced by instant, but generic, broadcasts of information . The downside is that not all information is relevant to all associates. Too much information can be distracting and counterproductive.
At ThinkTime, we believe that personalization makes a big difference in how you engage your associates. From the moment a user logs into ThinkTime, they see what you want them to see and not what you don’t.
- What associates see, what they can access and what they are asked to do are personalized based upon their location, role and profile.
- Associates still get the benefit of real-time updates without the distraction of filtering through irrelevant information.
We learned a long time ago that each individual is important and unique, ThinkTime ensures they feel that way.
5. There is no validation that the work was done correctly
Every retail industry has certain mission-critical tasks that must be done exactly right, Sometimes, the results of poor performance can be catastrophic.
When three of our leaders worked in the automotive space, there was this awful thing called a “wheel off”: new tires were installed, but for some reason the rims were not properly reattached to the vehicle. The customer drove off and the wheel came off, potentially causing a serious accident. Obviously preventing “wheel offs” was serious business, with checks and balances put in place to ensure every tire installation was flawless.
What are the mission-critical tasks in your industry, and how are you ensuring that a high level of checks and balances exists? ThinkTime:
- allows managers to require validation of critical tasks by the associates that report to them;
- enables photo validation of tasks that can be reviewed and then accepted or rejected, in real time.
We fully understand how important these “moments of truth” can be and we’ve designed the platform to facilitate protecting your business from unwanted consequences.
6. Task requests to the field are not well supported
Until recently, retail was connected to a time and place. Now, shopping happens everywhere, with no restrictions on location, device, or business hours. Customers have informa- tion at their fingertips, so must your associates. For retailers to win in today’s fast-paced environment, there can be no delay between question and answer.
We constructed ThinkTime with fully integrated support tools.
- Knowledge Base: Associates can access documents, procedures and Q&A’s
- Support Groups: Associates reach out in real time for the answers they need - no more awkwardly dialing the home office to try to find the right person to answer their question.
- Task Integration: Our tasks include the ability to link a knowledgeable support group directly with the associates on the front line.
When they need assistance, you’ll be able to give it fast.
7. No way of automating work based on triggers or events in your internal systems
Many operating tasks & calendars are frequently planned months in advance. There are, however, tasks that occur on a daily basis and need to be performed real-time.
Real-time tasks are often triggered by internal systems such as Inventory Management, Pricing, Point of Sale, eCommerce, KPI Dashboards and many other sources. Events occur daily in these systems that require action, but these events are frequently ignored because associates don't have visibility.
With ThinkTime's 'StoreLink' Integration Services, tasks can be generated based on events occurring in external systems. Imagine a store's inventory count on a fast selling product has been '3' for one week. ThinkTime could receive an event from your Inventory Management system that triggers a task for the store to perform an on hand count. ThinkTime's native mobile application can deliver these tasks real-time for immediate action.
Examples of events that might trigger tasks in ThinkTime include:
- Product price changes > trigger price price / signing update
- Planogram resets > trigger action for reset
- Buy online / pickup in store order placed > trigger pick, pull and stage
- Inventory counts not changing > trigger on hand count
- Weekly KPIs that drop below standard > trigger a review of best practice documentation
ThinkTime allows you to manage all the tasks occurring in your company, including the daily tasks that your associates perform today but might not be performing at an optimal level.
8. Lack of a mobile communications platform leads to over-reliance on email and breeds "office managers"
Some would argue that we’re well into the “post-PC” era, where very few people access the Internet though traditional desktop or laptop computers. Mobile devices have come to occupy a vital place in our day-to-day lives, which begs the question: How ready are your internal systems are to handle that change?
ThinkTime was built to be mobile from the very beginning. Every function, screen and flow is designed with a hand-held device in mind.
- Access details and information where the work actually happens.
- Deliver your business into the now, improving productivity and engagement for every member of your workforce.
Retail works with the right software solution.
Any one of the eight problems we identified can cause significant disruption in a retail enterprise. That’s why we created a platform that delivers concrete solutions. ThinkTime’s personal and user-friendly interface enables unparalleled interaction between the home office and individual associates.
We've been in your shoes and we understand every dollar you invest with us needs to be returned many times over. We are confident that the increased productivity and engagement ThinkTime facilitates will do just that.
We invite you to schedule a demo today and see for yourself.