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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Supermarket Operations

I occasionally check my stats to see how people arrive at this blog, what search leads them here or what website. By far the most popular searches that lead here are for things like “Hawaii rugby” and variations on that. What’s a little odd, though, is the second most popular search that leads people here – “Supermarket Operations”.

Apparently, quite a few people are looking for information on business operations for supermarkets. Sadly, though, it’s probably not the people at my usual grocery stop. I’ve posted a couple of rants about the poor performance of my neighborhood Safeway, and they’re not really getting any better. Ergo, they’re probably not reading up on improving operations.

Since I’ve only posted a couple of these rants, I wondered why so many people (so many being a relative term) ended up at my site. So I Googled “Supermarket Operations”. And there I am, sixth down on the list. Behind a company named Supermarket Operations, the Food Marketing Institute an organization dedicated to the food wholesale and retail industry, a book titled Modern Supermarket Operations, and an article about how big supermarket chains in Britain are driving out the small shops (seems that happens everywhere).

I poked around in these other sites a little, just to see what kind of information about supermarket operations is out there. And it’s not much. The best stuff I found was in that book, Modern Supermarket Operations, and that was printed in 1963.

One thing I did find interesting in the book (the first page of each chapter is available online) was that studies found that fully stocked shelves led to increases in store sales by up to 25%. Which tells me that people want what they came in for, not a substitute item. I know that’s how I am. And that’s why I’m constantly ranting about my supermarket being out of what I want.

I think I need to look into this a bit more and see what I can do to help supermarkets improve.

Modern Supermarket Operations (book, 1963)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Who Would You Choose?

I’m reading an article in the paper and I’m thinking, “which company would you choose to do business with?” This is a perfect example of two (very different) views on customer service. By that I mean that one company displays an understanding of customer service and provides it, and the other does not.

The swine flu is causing concern around the world and many businesses are taking precautions, for their operations, their employees, and their customers. In The Tale of Two Airlines, those precautions look quite different.

Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines announced their new policies for blankets and pillows on flights between Hawaii and the mainland U.S. Hawaiian Airlines will change their pillows and blankets every day, at least while the flu is still an issue. Previously, they changed the blankets and pillows every three days. Alaska Airlines, by contrast, will no longer provide blankets and pillows.

So Hawaiian Airlines increases their level of services (amazing for any airline these days), while Alaska drops their service down another notch (which is also amazing for any airline since customer service and airline can hardly be used in the same sentence anymore.) I know which company I’ll choose to do business with.

Which company are you? Are you the one that customers choose to do business with? Or are you the other guy?