By Alex Walker, Great North Way Store Manager
Lots of great initiatives have been rolled out lately, with all of them designed to make things easier for store colleagues. When I found out my store had been selected to take part in a trial, I was really excited. We were one of the first stores that would be trialling SmartGap, the new system that’ll replace paper based, daily gap reporting.
SmartGap has changed things a lot and made life in store much easier for my team. Previously we’d use the handheld terminal (HHT) to scan all the gaps on the shelves, and then have to wait a long time for the report to generate. This would be printed out, sometimes over 25 – 30 pages, so we could write down all the necessary stock adjustments that needed to be made on the back office computer.
Managing stock and replenishing our shelves is one of the most important processes in store. Without any products available to buy, customers would never make it to the checkouts. Now, we’re still using the HHT, but we can do everything straightaway on the SmartGap app. Gaps on the shelves are being filled much quicker, and I’m also seeing fewer stock errors because adjustments are being made there and then.
SmartGap is so easy to use, and really self-explanatory. It only took me about 30 seconds to feel comfortable using it. There’s a stock adjustment button and a button to request new labels; everything you is need is there.
It’s been great to be involved and help to shape the app. Recently I fed back that being able to see the date that a product was delivered, as well as the quantity, is really useful as it helps us know where to find it in the warehouse. My feedback was taken on board and it was only a couple of weeks later that the information was showing in the app.
Another huge bonus is that I’ve now got about half of my team using it, not just the managers. This is brilliant for colleagues’ development. The paper gap report could take weeks to learn, but with SmartGap I just showed them once and they got it.
I’m happy it’s going to be used in more stores soon. I haven’t found any negatives using it. It’s easier to use, it saves time and it saves paper. In fact, when this is rolled out across all stores, it will save 22.7 million sheets of paper being printed – this is about the same as 2,724 trees!