5 Morning Deactivation Exercises to Keep Profits Healthy
Many people have a morning workout routine to ensure they're awake and focused when they reach their desk. I choose to go for a 45-minute run before grabbing a coffee and a banana and heading to the office. A morning exercise regime can blow out the cobwebs and pay dividends in productivity.
Retail employees can apply the idea of a workout routine to preparing the technology and tools needed for their daily tasks. If problems can be identified and solved before shoppers start coming through the door, it lessens frustration during the workday, avoids unnecessary downtime and allow sales staff to focus on their primary tasks.
Retailers working with an integrated loss prevention solution need the relevant tag deactivation equipment to work efficiently and reliably. The equipment that needs to be checked includes deactivation and electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems.
If a store manager or delegated member of staff runs through a set of simple exercises at the beginning of the morning, it will reduce the chances of these problems arising later. These are the recommended “exercises” for a store manager to make sure everything is functioning properly:
1. Warm up: Switch on the software system and look at the diagnostic software tools that can identify problems. This is a basic first step, but it will tell you if any deactivators at the cash registers aren't working and help you prioritize.
2. Flex: Check whether the main power supply is on. This is something easily overlooked, but should be included on the checklist.
3. Gentle jog: Test the deactivation system for each register by taking an active label, passing it over the deactivation pad and then walking (or jogging) over to the EAS system to see if the alarm sounds. Another option is to use a deactivation verifier which will verify the deactivator system without using tags.
4. Jump: Locate any hand-held deactivation verifier units that might be used in-store and make sure they're visible and placed near the register. Check regularly whether the batteries for verifiers need replacing.
5. Stretch: Test the plugs and pins holding the cables and make sure they're all connected to the devices and power source. Cables can lie in an untidy tangle beneath the register and easily be jerked out of deactivators without anyone noticing. The risk can be minimized with an appropriate cable management system.
If any part of the EAS system isn't working and a fault goes undetected, it will lead to a number of problems during the day. These include the following:
- Slower throughput at the registers as cashiers struggle to deactivate labels and verify the deactivation. If a problematic register has to be closed it impacts customer flow out of the store and possibly prompts abandoned sales.
- Customer embarrassment due to EAS alarms from labels that haven't been deactivated. This can result in lost sales if irritated customers leave and opt to shop elsewhere.
- Genuine thefts being ignored as staff become desensitized to persistent alarms and stop responding.
Of course, the above checklist is for system and mechanical errors. The checklist doesn't cover failure due to human error. The best (and key) way to tackle this is to regularly train staff about the right procedure for deactivation. Retailers should combine the morning check of technology with putting the cashiers through their paces at the register. This will be a winning formula to produce healthy profits.
Frank Panebianco serves as key account manager at Checkpoint Systems, a provider of merchandise availability, loss prevention and inventory visibility solutions. Frank can be reached at Frank.firstname.lastname@example.org.