Changing the Process Sucks

If I'm honest, many parts of our work can be really frustrating. I can't tell you how many businesses make an investment in having someone from Streamline Retail visit their business to provide on-site training and workflow consulting for their business and then don't change their process. Most times, we end up doing the retail process training all over again when the buyer needs better data when they are preparing for market. Of course, we get to bill more time but ultimately, we aren't bringing an extra level of value so it's not a celebrated meeting to schedule. We want every business to know they received a huge value in our time with them and it's difficult to do that when we are simply going over the same data again and again. To prevent this, I recommend considering a few things. 

Know What You Don't Know

The biggest reason people don't adapt to a new, better process is because they don't see the reason it is beneficial or necessary. I had a the inventory control person for a client not adding brand info to products because they didn't need it for their particular job and didn't know that the buyers, owners and store managers desperately need that info. Talk to us and your colleagues and get an idea of the bigger picture of the business. 

Also, it doesn't hurt to chat with your buyer and find out what helps them make better decisions at market each season? From there, we can start to work backwards in better inventory organization methods like categories, sub-categories, tags etc. 

At the end of the day, there are probably aspects of the business you aren't aware of or haven't had experience in that a process refresh would help you get on top of. 

You Are Probably Too Successful

I work in small retail. This means I meet a TON of retail entrepreneurs that have the most amazing taste, understand where trends are going before they start and can assemble a dream-team staff. Here's the problems with people like this, most of the business is in your gut or your head and not on paper. Did you know only 13% of businesses that go from one generation to the next will make it to a third generation? This is because the secret sauce was in the head of the owner and not in something that could scale larger.

In practice, this looks like a owner that goes to market without looking at reports and leaves a staff to rush to enter products when a random box arrives from who knows where. Staff had very little time to properly organize inventory and items are likely to be added incorrectly or put on the floor with no organization at all. 

To fix this, implement an inventory control system and hand off your PO's/receipts from market to someone else to be entered before the box arrives. Try running a few reports before market and see what is selling. Did you sell 100% of denim and only 60% of your dresses at full price? You clearly need to allocate more square-footage in denim and evaluate who your client is and what they actually buy rather than feel who they are and what they buy. 

Have An Open Mind

You love those paper gift certificates? They're cheap and you don't actually have to keep track of anything. Here's the problem, customers hate them because they don't fit anywhere and they are an accounting nightmare. Have an open mind about how you've always done it and be willing to make minor changes that can have a major impact on the business. Hate doing an inventory count? So does everyone else. Inventory counts suck. But they help you pay less taxes, understand what's going on in your business and help you make better decisions. 

We understand that change isn't always easy, in fact it sucks. We don't take it lightly that most of your employees will hate us at first because we represent "unnecessary" change to their daily job. But once the process is complete, we've found that people are happier with the more effecient process and have a better sense of control of what is going on. 

Need help? The Streamline is a Houston-Based Retail Technology Consultancy that specializes in Point of Sale (either finding a new one or using your existing system), Inventory Control, Process and Tech Support for small retailers. We nerd out over the details and want to help your business not hate technology. Also, we prefer Macs but we'll be cool if you use PCs. Contact us at