How did we help Schuh?

Is it quicker to sell a pair of kids’ shoes or an adult’s? What about men’s compared to women’s? These kinds of questions seem simple, but they can unearth a gold mine of useful information. We helped Schuh budget effectively and shed light on their business.

Schuh sell men’s, women’s and kids’ shoes. To do that, they employ a range of staff in their stores. Each role covers a bunch of responsibilities. And many different tasks back up each sale. The company asked us to find out how long it takes their people to sell shoes, so they could fine-tune their budget model. We knew we could help, but because that research links to so many aspects of their business, we also knew it would throw up plenty of opportunities to drive performance.

What did we do?

We turned our attention to seven Schuh stores. Some just sold kids’ shoes. Some had a mixed offer. We spent at least three days studying each one.

  • We accurately timed tasks, watched and listened
  • We quantified time spent serving customers
  • We spent a day in the life of managers

As well as measuring tasks like stock replenishment and label printing to find standard minute values (SMVs), we measured and compared selling times for kids’, men’s and women’s shoes. We looked at the percentage of time spent serving customers. And we analysed the responsibilities and effectiveness of each job role – not just comparing them within a single store, but across all seven of our research sites. We examined the impact that had on SMVs and overall store efficiency.

Schuh | Business Process Improvement Success Story

Finally, to help uncover the stories behind the data, we studied the wider picture. We looked at the aspects of the business that interact with everyday sales – like the distribution of equipment and the layout of stock rooms.

How did it help?

When a company asks us to find the numbers at the core of their business, it’s often just the beginning of a long-term shift towards improved productivity, sparking new leads and ideas.

We gave Schuh the granular detail they needed to start building a more effective budget model. Because it gives them a clear idea of the number of staff it takes to run each store, they’ll use the model to plan their wage spend for the entire workforce.

Schuh told us they’re also using the SMVs to set expectations for their staff. For the first time, they are able to back up discussions about performance with concrete facts. It can make a real difference on the shop floor; if employees aren’t sure how long they’re supposed to spend on a task, then it’s difficult for them to feel motivated to work more efficiently.

Our study showed that clarity is just as important when it comes to job responsibilities. We found the least effective role in Schuh stores lacked definition and had the widest range of responsibilities. And that had a knock-on effect to overall store performance. The highest achieving stores tended to give their staff a tighter focus. For example, they made sure that during each shift, one team member concentrated on observing customers, and as a result, closed more sales.

Our work’s improving the way Schuh budget and giving them plenty of food for thought. They think it’ll have a big impact on their business.

What our clients say

“We really valued ReThink’s willingness to share their experience and guide us through a process that was completely new to us. They quickly developed a good understanding of our needs, and suggested positive solutions. We’re looking forward to working together in the future.”

Phil Whittle, Head of Store Operations at Schuh