Challenges Facing Retail Shop Maintenance
Maintenance experts who operate in retail shops work on different types of equipment. Their operations are limited by industry-specific measures. This calls for high versatility and flexibility. In the retail shop operations, various equipment must be maintained.
For instance, in supermarkets, various equipment must be maintained like refrigerators, ovens, and cash registers among others. Megashops and superstores have over 3000 pieces of equipment to maintain. This does not include the equipment in distribution centers and warehouses.
Maintenance technicians play an important role in maintaining retail shops. Little things like a shopping cart can give a customer a good or bad experience. When a refrigerator fails retail shops could experience massive losses.
In this article, we will look at the major challenges facing retail shop maintenance. So, let’s get to it!
Selecting between outsourcing and in-house maintenance
For high-quality service delivery, retail shops prefer in-house maintenance personnel to take care of the basic equipment. The maintenance of complex equipment is given to the aftermarket equipment maintenance teams.
Chain stores like those in the fashion industry hire their maintenance teams to support their different sales locations. Or they hire service providers with a national presence. Shops positioned in a shopping mall may depend on a common service provider or share maintenance resources.
The decision of whether to hire in-house or outsource maintenance services depends on the store size. Location, target audience, and operation hours. A retail shop selling frozen foodstuff does not have the same challenges as a shoe store. The same applies to an all-purpose megastore that does not have similar equipment as a DIY store.
Getting top-notch versatile technicians
Technicians need to be versatile in retail. Maintenance teams are small and these are not industrial places. Technicians need to be ever ready to jump in at any time and be able to work on a wide range of equipment like air conditioning, refrigerators, generators, electrical, and lighting. Technicians are required to have multidisciplinary skill sets with a broader knowledge of pressurized systems, mechanical work, electrical engineering, and refrigeration.
In addition to these technical tasks retail shop maintenance technicians are required to perform other tasks like tiling a floor or painting a wall. Masonry, plumbing, and welding skills are also very valuable. Therefore, maintenance technicians need to be jacks of all trades.
Retail shop maintenance technicians do not know what the day holds for them so they need to maintain their cool even if priorities and emergencies interfere with their schedules.
During non-busy periods retail shop maintenance technicians can focus on planned preventative maintenance operations to detect mechanical failures due to wear and tear and replace worn-out parts. While performing these duties they must follow cleanliness and safety standards.
Assuring a wide range of behavioral skills
Maintenance technicians in retail shops need to have wide behavioral skills such as flexibility, organization, responsiveness, and self-discipline. They can work individually or with a team. They should also bring dexterity and physical stamina to the job.
Technicians are required to be teachers hence strong relationship skills are required of them. Think of a maintenance technician trying to explain to a butcher how to maintain and operate a meat slicer. Teaching and empowering employees is part of the job.
Maintenance technicians are required to be of service just like other employees. They’re subjected to challenging schedules and are also required to report to emergencies on the weekend. More maintenance services must be carried out after the closure of the retail shop to ensure a positive customer experience the following day.
Experience and education are prime
When technicians are promoted to be service managers their growth opportunities are limited. Thankfully, the profession has not experienced little growth and you can see the number of maintenance technicians’ jobs being posted online daily.
Technicians are required to have done an apprenticeship program. However, some job ads may specify high school education with maybe a diploma in industrial engineering or facilities maintenance.
You cannot avoid going digital
With all the requirements discussed it is also important to manage maintenance operations with a digital solution. With a digital solution, you can be able to manage maintenance for diverse assets and their related parts and ensure inventories are always updated.
High operation cost
Maintaining retail facilities is not cheap when you factor in things like health and safety procedures. If things such as managing and ordering spares, doing corrective maintenance, and maintaining high product quality can have negative effects on your balance sheet if not done correctly.
Time wasted by shop management on maintenance
Shop management in some shops does not have training or required information to handle repairs and facility problems. Retail shops must make sure that they have the correct maintenance processes in place. They should also empower their staff with proper training and tools to manage the inventory and workload.
Preventive and predictive maintenance in retail shops is important since retailers cannot afford disruption caused by broken or faulty appliances. Facility managers can keep track of when the equipment was bought and predict its failure time based on the data from the manufacturers. This is where technology comes in.
Risk compliance and mitigation.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for a retailer is lacking a mitigation plan for when equipment will inevitably fail or facilities become unfunctional. With planning and accurate identification of the risks, mistakes that cost the retailer money and time can be avoided.
Complicated vendor relationships
Retail shop facility managers need to know when vendors will be paid, the number of contractors on site, the length of time contractors were on-site, when will they be paid, etc. Such questions show the complexity of vendor relationships with businesses. Just imagine how complex this relationship would be for a 10-location business. The vastness of managing these relations would lead to inaccuracies when reporting, payment delays and so much more.
There are many challenges facing retail shop maintenance from equipment maintenance to the general activities done in retail shops. It is up to the retail shop management to identify these challenges as soon as possible and amicably look for a lasting solution before making serious losses.