My Store in General
I have been at the store for a month now. I haven’t taken any new pictures but things are starting to come around. I know the general thought is “It’s a discount store, whatever!”, but this company is huge and it is actually very organized. They have set up a work flow that if properly followed, can allow for a really nice, well run store. I love organization so this suits me very well.
The first thing that I worked on as a new manager was assessing the problems so that I could address them. The first day I was there I found that we were out of bags. Are you kidding? A store out of bags? We now have forty cases stock piled and ten more being ordered every week because at Christmas time the distribution center will start running out and we won’t be able to order them. This won’t be a problem for my store because I will have enough that they will be able to order them from me! lol
Then I found that the credit card machines stopped working several times a day and caused major havoc. Being without a credit card machine is as bad as being without bags. The first thing I did was get on the phone with the credit card machine company and get new machines sent out. Ours were old and they get rough looking after a while because they are handled so much. Once the new machines got there, I realized we were still having problems, so I pulled the computers out and started looking at all the connections. First of all it was filthy dirty under there which can cause problems itself so I cleaned everything good. Then I realized that everything was plugged into a plug bar and there was no surge protector at all. REALLY??? One of the girls said, “Well it quit working so we went and got one off of the shelf and used it.” I forget that a lot of people don’t know the difference between a plug bar and a surge protector. So the problem ended up being that when ever there was a power surge or a brown out, the computer compensated by shutting down the credit card machine. Well, after nice new surge protectors with battery back ups built in and the new credit card machines, we no longer have a problem. Yay!!!!
Then there was a refrigerator in the break room with two inches of ice in the freezer that didn’t let the door close. They used it anyway and warned me that it didn’t keep things very cold. Great! I went to Walmart and bought a newer bigger one. That made everyone extremely happy.
There was also a filing cabinet in the office, the one that is supposed to hold personnel files and be locked that looked like someone had beat it with a hammer. The drawers wouldn’t open and close so all of the files that were supposed to be in there were stacked in a corner. A lot of these were things I needed so when I needed to do certain things I had to dig through these stacks to find a paper. Lord help us! A new filing cabinet and some serious sorting fixed that problem. The calculator didn’t work in there either so they were spending an extra fifteen minutes at night closing because they had to add everything on paper. Needless to say we have a new electric calculator in there now.
Those are just a few of the problems I’ve had to deal with in order to get started working. The next step was to see who did what in there so I have been assessing employees. This is the deep woods country so no one there is really what you would call educated. However, I was taught years ago that you can train anyone and it’s true. The only drawback is that they have to be willing to learn. I have found that four out of six of them are excited to learn and the other two are mad that someone is actually making them do their job. Those two are on their way out the door. They both have called out on me at least once a week since I have been there and this weekend I ended up without a cashier Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night. All righty then. This week I am hiring three new people. I have to go through the processes to fire the two of them, however, they are already on their last couple of steps. I will have my new folks trained and ready to go by this weekend and I am hoping these two call out then.
The stockroom was so far behind you could barely walk in there. Our merchandise comes in off the truck in these big rolling carts called “rolltainers.” My store is averaging about 1,100 cases a week in merchandise right now which will equate to about 28 rolltainers. Now, if you don’t get all 28 rolltainers emptied and put out on the sales floor each week, then whatever is left over is added to the new 28 next week. It doesn’t take long before you can’t walk in there.
One of the things that happens is people aren’t sure where to put something out at, so they throw the boxes back in the stockroom on the floor somewhere and they start to pile up. I have found boxes that were sent in as far back as March that had never been put out. Huge mess! We carry a lot of food products that have expiration dates so I have so much out of date merchandise back there that it is pitiful. It all goes in the trash and that equates to a lot of shrink, or profit loss. Luckily, I won’t be responsible for the first inventory.
Another thing I have found is that the local thieves think they have a little haven of free merchandise there. I have befriended all of the local police and they are making their rounds in my store regularly now. I caught my first thief red handed the other day and with the cooperation and quick response of the police department had him arrested. Very exciting stuff! This boy was in there two and three times a week hitting us for $20 to $30 a day in merchandise, mostly clothing items that are our highest profit margin product in the store. I also have what I call the tuna salad thief whom I have yet to catch, but I will. Whoever this person is, steals two packages of these little tuna salad kits every day. That one is actually kind of comical but it’s still thieving and I need to put a stop to it. If it’s someone that is just truly hungry, I would rather just feed them than to have them stealing from me.
Well, that’s kind of a quick assessment of some of the problems I’ve faced so far. It will probably take me a couple of more months to get things caught up and running halfway smooth. This store is capable of doing 1.25 million a year and WHEN (not if) I get it back to that point I can make about $6000 a year in bonuses on top of my regular pay. I have plans for that bonus money! lol