When Google makes a doodle to thank grocery workers, you know the world has changed.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the critical role retail businesses play. As people are stuck at home, in quarantine, in lockdown, or maintaining social distance, supermarkets have been keeping society going, guaranteeing a sense of normalcy and delivering both essential items and much needed human connections.
Being able to react quickly to a fast-changing environment has long been necessary for success in retail. Today, the stakes are even higher. Being able to quickly adapt and transform your services to a changing world means you are staying in business, keeping staff employed and delivering vital services to the community.
Iconic Western Australian retail supermarket group the Spudshed is among the retailers that have managed to innovate and adapt to the needs of a society in lockdown. Across the world, the prospect of quarantine led consumers to stockpile items. As images of empty shelves – no pasta, no flour, and of course no toilet paper – multiplied around the world, panic buying increased, and some retailers were forced to set limits on specific items. Supermarkets needed to look for solutions that would enable their customers to access the items they would need in the weeks to come. This meant revolutionising the supply chain, and relying two key assets: people and technology.
#1: Control over the supply chain
Spudshed’s success and competitive advantage is partly due to its ability to control its supply chain, from the farms where the fresh produce is grown to the distribution centres for perishable and non-perishable foods. This enabled the business to quickly adapt and prioritise deliveries from the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. With the stores already open 24 hours, the farms and distribution centres worked around the clock to ensure product was always available for customers.
#2: The right people
Having control over the supply chain is important and a significant advantage, however in this business having the right people is the key to success. Spudshed is a family business that is still owner-run and operated, and many of the staff have been with the business from the beginning. Their loyalty, dedication and hard work keeping products moving through the supply chain, keeping the shelves full and serving customers with a friendly smile was critical to Spudshed’s ability to respond to the crisis.
#3: Unified retail technology
The final piece and the link that joins everything is having a centralised retail and warehouse platform. Spudshed recently implemented LS Central from LS Retail. “It could not have been timelier. We can control the entire business from one platform – see all our locations, sales, customer numbers, adjust warehouse purchases, manage transfers to stores… you name it. Having technology that supports the business and allows your employees to do their job wherever they are, and keep it all under control, is priceless,” said Mr Kelly French, CIO at Spudshed.