Monday, July 23, 2012

The New PA Position

I have now officially been moved into my new position as a Produce Associate at Target for two days.

It's been a couple long days at work, but overall I've been pleasantly surprised by just how much I've been enjoying it.

(Perhaps I was more bored with Instocks than I thought I was....)

Today I spent almost an hour with Craig, who was the PA last year before getting promoted to a Team Lead position, talking in depth about different aspects of what needs to be addressed over there.

Right now the Market scores suck. Really, they're just terrible all across the board. We're ranked one of the last in every possible evaluated category, except one: QMOS.

QMOS is the stuff that's thrown away. Meat that's past it's expiration date, strawberries that have gone moldy, cupcakes that were knocked over in their packaging and no longer look nice. And we're number one in the district for it.

There's a couple of factors that I can actually address to reduce the pure waste.  Getting the inventory in the back better organized and dated correctly is huge, as is making sure stuff gets out on the floor to sell BEFORE it expires. With better inventory maintenance, ordering should be more accurate and easier to do, and result in better orders being placed. And then being really aggressive with sales and markdowns, as it is better to sell it at a major discount than to throw it away, should also result in less food just being trashed. 

But interestingly enough, that isn't what people think is wrong over there. What management levels in the store thinks is wrong over in market is guest service, mostly from our guest survey and the horrible marks we've been getting. This one is harder to address directly, but I have some ideas.

The biggest one is creating and keeping a core Market Team. The Instocks Team is a very set 6-9 people (four of them that are there now were there when I started a year ago) who spend 40 hours a week doing Instocks and practically nothing else in the store.

I want to see the Market Team become that. Not only will it allow for better training and for the individual people to be better at their jobs, but it will create a better sense of ownership. If the people working in Market are actually on the Market Team and work there every day, there will be more of a sense of personal responsibility and feeling invested in what is being done, and then they are more likely to just care more about their job which will transfer into more personal motivation to do it well without needing constant babysitting or other external motivators. 

Today I started talking to Craig in the office. He wanted to show me some stuff out on the sales floor as our conversation continued, and within moments the other PA and the two salesfloor people who were scheduled in produce that day were also there, listening intently to what he was saying.

It's not that people don't care, it's that nobody has taken the time to create the TEAM that needs to be in that section of the store, and then worked with them as a unit about how to make things better.

I do not control the scheduling. However, I suspect I can influence it, and I know I can help the people who I get be better with all aspects of their job. And that will indirectly lead to providing better guest service.

Or so I hope.

The store manager, along with many other people there, maintain that I consistently provide outstanding guest service. But see, I don't actually TRY to do guest service. I try do my job, the tasks that need to be done right then, and I simply help people as I go along as it's needed. So I don't know what the difference is. I'm happy most of the time (and good at faking it even when I'm not)? I make eye contact and smile? When there is something someone needs, I genuinely try to help them with it?

So, I don't really know what I do that is so awesome. I'm hoping by focusing on getting everything else that I can physically control where it should be and just being me that the guest service component will fall into place with everybody over there.

Tomorrow is a truck day, which are always a little crazy, but of particular interest for me since I placed the order for it on Sunday. And in addition to really seeing how I did on said order, I also get to learn how to lead the truck team for unloading, pushing to the floor, and backstocking. 

It's going to a few more long days, but I think they will be very good days for me as well.

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