Innovative Retail Technologies

MAY-JUN 2017

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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"We're emulating that collaboration in our joint operations and marketing efforts," says Rattay, "and we're bringing merchandising into the fold as well. Developing synergy there is a big, important opportunity for us moving forward. Now, we're all working together to the nth degree, as opposed to just a bit." Putting Process Behind The Plan There's an old quote attributed to General George Patton that goes something like, a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. While that might be true from a tactical perspective, a blended operations, merchandising, and marketing strategy requires planning and orchestration to work for the long haul. Rattay recognizes that while her team's raw talent is powerful, Cavender's needs to get its processes, reporting, and data systems wrestled to the ground to make the effort sustainable. She draws from her experiences with Aaron Brothers and Michaels as she collaborates with others to pull those systems together. Still, Rattay eschews a heavy hand. "Top down is not my style, so we involve the team in process development. We ask them what they think, what they would do if they could do it all over again, and we invite them to walk their ideas to the top." Rattay also cautions that implementing processes where none previously existed isn't for the faint of heart. She says the maintenance of culture is incredibly important, especially at a family-owned, down-home, brand-intensive company like Cavender's. A brand's culture can quickly erode when the operations team attempts to teach new tricks to veteran employees. For example, Rattay's team is currently rolling out a process for ordering store supplies, a task that she says is currently executed several different ways from one store to the next. The new process is based on best practices gathered from the company's top-performing store managers and, importantly, worst practices identified among poor performers. She's taken the new process recommendation to district managers, some of whom, she says, have never participated in these types of collaborative processes. "We're careful to invite questions and concerns and to respond to those immediately. Always get back to them," she says. "You have to get your hands dirty and work side by side with the people you're putting these new expectations on. Earn their respect, don't just demand it. You may know process improvement better than anyone, but chances are they know more about the processes you're improving." Taking Process, Technology To The Stores As Rattay puts it, Cavender's store-level success was built on unparalleled tribal knowledge. That's unsurprising given the tenure of the company's store managers. "There's a tremendous amount of knowledge that lies within our managers and associates. It's the single greatest strength of our 52 years of success," she acknowledges. Until recently, however, that knowledge wasn't captured and documented in centralized, standard operating procedures. That's a product of Rattay's interdisciplinary endeavors. "Tribal knowledge wasn't all that dangerous when we operated 20 stores," she says. "But the company grew up quickly. We looked up, and we had 78 stores. Change needed to happen fast." That's why Rattay is at Cavender's. That's why she kicked off her 120-day process and procedure plan 90 days before it was complete, writing one to four new operational procedures per week. And all that is why Cavender's and Thompson hired her. 29 May-June 2017 Worried about systems that don't sync well together? Create an open IP surveillance solution that can easily integrate with all your systems. Visit the Axis team at NRF Protect to discover one total solution for proactive protection, stronger network health and greater business benefits: www.axis.com/retail Plays well with others . Network cameras Access control Audio Intelligent applications Network video recorders Video management software indoor, outdoor, box, bullet, dome, covert/discreet, thermal

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