From the Principal’s Office
In the last few years I have come to realize that retailers have at their disposal an often underutilized tool that can improve productivity and save significant amounts of money; re-training the user community on how to use existing software assets.- Bob Amster – Principal, RTG
We work with all types of retail companies, large, mid-sized and small, neophytes and seasoned veterans. Yet, it is revealing to see how many retailers all over the spectrum don’t use free or relatively inexpensive training services from their software solution providers to train and re-train the user community. Follow along and you will see clearly what happens in the life of a software application.
The application is installed and everyone involved is given a basic training course on how to initially use the system. This is typically what I call entry-level training: the basics. Months go by, and some people really learn, but seldom does the retailer arrange for advanced training for its seasoned users six-to-nine months after initial implementation. More time goes by and system users leave the retailer and new people are hired. Who typically trains the new hires? Old hires do. What happens then? There is a natural dilution of knowledge resulting in a watered-down system. This can lead to further deterioration and, in our opinion, it has lead to critical situations.
To those users who never learned the system well, or never attended the advanced course, there can be a perception that the system itself is limited even though, in many cases, it is the user community that is limited in its knowledge to elicit the full capabilities out of the application. People start complaining about how “the system can’t do this and the system can’t do that.” An aura grows over the system and not too long afterwards, and if the retailer thinks it can afford to, a search begins for the replacement system. The result is clear; time and money have been wasted, and more money will be spent. And to think that many solution providers offer re-training for free or for nominal fees and the training doesn’t even take that long!
How much more juice could retailers squeeze out of that fruit if the people using the system knew how to, or were trained to use more than 40% or 50% or even 70% of the systems capabilities? How much longer could the original investment in the software be preserved if the users of the system could garner more of the functionality that was buried in there but few people knew how to extract?
Training and re-training are relatively inexpensive endeavors that allow the users to uncover new and creative ways to do some of the things that they thought the system couldn’t do, and for which they maligned the software to the point of replacing it with something not much better, but at significant cost to the company? Have you exhausted the training option before you decided to replace your application?
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What’s New with Us
J. McLaughlin – We have completed a process-re-engineering project for the Merchandise Planning, Merchandise Allocation, and Product Design & Development functions. We are now engaged to conduct a multi-software package selection project for this specialty retailer of classic apparel and accessories.
Chanel – We are assisting this international luxury client with the US implementation of a global solution to process and monitor after-sales service.
Luxury Retailer – We have been engaged by an upscale jewelry retailer to assist with the evaluation and selection of a suite of retail applications.
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