Technological advancements within our industry are currently being felt more than ever, particularly by retail suppliers operating in front of house areas. Indeed, the traditional reception is now being challenged by a cashless, ‘concierge’ model. By automating everyday tasks, this model increases operational efficiency, allowing staff redeployment and/or reduced labour hours. SRS Leisure has always taken pride in being the first to market with innovative retail solutions to address challenges and change, and today is no different.
Data-driven Automated Stock Management (ASM)
Empty shelves, damaged stock and an incorrect product mix are costs that leisure operators cannot afford to bear. SRS Leisure’s ASM solution uses data and technology to fully automate stock management within facilities. It takes product data from point-of-sale equipment to measure and analyse stock movements, automatically generating fill-to-maximum replenishment orders specific to an individual facility.
Implementing ASM with Serco Leisure
SRS Leisure has been working as Serco Leisure’s exclusive supplier of swimwear and learn-to-swim products for more than 10 years. Over the past 12 months, SRS Leisure has implemented its new ASM system across Serco Leisure’s 40+ swimming facilities, changing its goods-for-resale (GFR) operations.
Customisation was the key starting point, as every site was different in terms of visitors, programming etc. This meant that the bulk of the work involved getting the initial stock par levels correct. SRS Leisure spent time working with Serco Leisure to set parameters for each site – parameters as specific as product colours and swimwear styles.
After the initial set-up, an open flow of data was created to allow weekly sales reports to be received from each individual site. This was a vital step, as this data enables uplift to be tracked, trends identified and product listings refined to ensure responsive and exact offerings. Data is knowledge, and SRS Leisure’s ASM system builds valuable insight and allows Serco Leisure to be more informed about every single one of its GFR decisions.
The ASM in practice
Weekly replenishment orders are automatically generated to replace stock via a next day delivery service. Fully stocked shelves are more commercially attractive than half empty ones, but effective par levels require a balancing act: shelves should be fully stocked without exceeding maximum values, as this reduces the risk of shrinkage and stock damage.
The automation provided by the system has reduced Serco Leisure’s labour costs, as manual ordering and stock checking are substituted by automatic ordering.
Data integrity is critical for this system to work, so cycle-counting is used to back up stock data. Instead of checking shelf stock at every order, SRS Leisure’s system handles manual stock level checks every four to six weeks in order to ensure that data is as accurate as possible.
Results: 25 per cent sales increase
GFR sales across Serco Leisure’s sites have improved over the past 12 months that the system has been in place. Kate McKnight, head of aquatics for Serco, says: “The results speak for themselves; we have seen a 25 per cent increase in sales of swimwear and learn to swim products at our leisure centres since installing the new ASM system. Our front of house employees have been freed up from manual tasks such as counting and ordering, so can now concentrate on training and upskilling them to improve the overall customer experience.
“SRS Leisure has acted as an extension to our business, delivering an effective technological solution and driving its implementation. This has resulted in better performance for both of our organisations and I hope to see continued growth over the next 12 months.”
KEY BENEFITS OF SRS LEISURE’S ASM SYSTEM
• Integrates with numerous internal systems, including Legend and Gladstone, because it relies on an open flow of data to SRS Leisure
• Removes the requirement for purchase order numbers, as the risk of budgets being exceeded with replenishment orders is eliminated. This ultimately speeds up the process
• Reduces labour costs due to automation of traditional front of house tasks. Staff can instead focus on welcoming visitors and upselling to further drive sales
• Smart, data-driven inventory management that improves performance of GFR by eradicating out-of-stocks, and reducing shrinkage and the need for price markdowns
• SRS Leisure conducts initial setup, including par levels and sales forecasting, and ongoing cycle-counting stock checks to maintain data integrity and accuracy.