Moving the electronics department to the front of the store would not be wise because shoppers tend… 1 answer below »

A Manager"s Woes

Kyle Peschken has been a manager for the discount store, Zelmart, for the past two years. It"s time for his annual performance review, and Kyle would like to make a big impression on the corporate staff. Walking through the store, he makes a mental note of which departments need to be straightened, which ones need to be reorganized, and which employees he"d like to schedule during the week of his review. And then he sees it—blocking the aisles, creating commotion, and looking very unprofessional—the long line in the electronics department. It"s time to confront Chris, the sales clerk.

"Chris what"s the holdup here?"

"I"m waiting for a manager to approve this $120 check. And then I have to show this lady a digital camera from the display cabinet. She"s been waiting half an hour, and then. . . ."

"Alright Chris . . . I can help out for a little while . . . "

Two hours later, Kyle exited the electronics department disheartened. That"s no way for a store manager to spend his afternoon. There"s got to be a logical way to solve this, thought Kyle. He walked back to his office and wrote down the facts as he knew them. Customer service managers (CSMs) must approve all checks over $100, and over 50% of purchases in electronics exceed $100. It"s more efficient to stage CSMs at the front of the store by the 12 checkout lines. It takes an average of 10 minutes for the CSM to reach electronics after being paged. Because of cost controls, the number of CSMs is limited to two per shift, and there is no room in the budget for additional hires of any type. Electronics must be purchased in the electronics department (to prevent theft). Store policy allows customers to check out other items at the electronics counter if they are making purchases in that department. (This makes sense especially if the customer wants to write a check for the entire purchase.) Store clerks must monitor the locked cabinets and stay with a customer who wants to view an item from the cabinet. Because of the size of the enclosed department, only two checkout counters will fit in electronics. Moving the electronics department to the front of the store would not be wise because shoppers tend to pick up impulse items on their way to the center of the store where electronics are located. The average time a customer spends in electronics during peak periods is an unacceptable 40 minutes.

Help Kyle come up with a solution to his inefficient department. Draw a flowchart of the current process from the customer"s point of view and try to identify areas for improvement. If small improvements will not fix the problem, try a more innovative approach. Chart out your suggestions and bring them to class. [It may help to visit a similar store and watch their checkout process.]