Charlotte Russe
STORE SPACES

Charlotte Russe tightens ops with tech

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Charlotte Russe is using technology to enforce consistent repair and maintenance operations across locations.

The young women’s apparel retailer is expanding the use of an SaaS-based automated platform from ServiceChannel that monitors the completion of service work orders conducted by various third-party contractors. The platform has been in use for some three years to monitor and repair maintenance jobs needed across Charlotte Russe stores.

“Our store-level and facilities management teams were using the platform for basic capabilities,” explained Shannon Markwell, national facilities manager for Charlotte Russe, which operates 532 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico. “Work orders were input into the system, but there was limited visibility into completion and contractor response times.”

In addition, third-party vendors didn’t have access to the platform, making it difficult to keep contractors accountable for job order completion.

Further exacerbating the issue was that store managers were building reports in Excel documents and delivering them to district managers through email. Besides being a time consuming manual process, work order data was often stale.

It was not until the retailer experienced employee turnover across its facilities team that “we found 1,800 work orders in the system were not yet even deployed,” Markwell said.

Upon further investigation, she determined that Charlotte Russe was only utilizing 5% of the platform’s functionality.

“A data portal can only process the work orders that are input into the system,” Markwell added. “We wanted to use the platform as more than a repository for work orders. We needed to better manage the platform and use it to deploy the workers needed to complete the tasks.”

Extended capabilities: Markwell spent six months learning how to further apply ServiceChannel’s capabilities across the company’s facilities management team and hit new department goals. This included implementing an analytics and reporting process for her team, as well as enabling store and district managers and contractors to access
the platform.

Using dedicated dashboards, store managers and district managers began using analytics to track mission-critical data and key performance indicators, including work order type and jobs at specific stores, among other metrics. Store managers also used the dashboard to track work order progress and measure their location’s performance.

“Store managers are using the dashboard to make sure maintenance is fully up to date, and can also view troubleshooting documents created by the facilities team,” Markwell said. “We educated the store teams on how valuable the platform is, and how it can save time and money.”

Meanwhile, district managers are accessing the dashboard via company-supplied mobile devices to stay abreast of work order status across all stores. They can also measure vendor performance through quarterly scorecards and track contractor compliance and documentation.

The efforts are paying off. Since leveraging more platform capabilities, the company has seen a 54% reduction in the timing of work order completion.

Eager for more gains, Charlotte Russe continues to expand the platform across other company divisions. By adopting the platform’s Supply Manager functionality, the retailer is simplifying its equipment replacement, an ordering process for supplies. The operation, which is now based on predetermined policies and pricing guidelines, has saved the company approximately $1.5 million over the past 18 months, Markwell reported.

ServiceChannel’s automated invoice processing and the integration of electronic data interchange, a standard messaging process that enables Charlotte Russe to transfer data to vendor partners, has eliminated more than 60 hours of labor each week.

“In the past, we would scan and print out every invoice and tax validate each one manually,” Markwell said. “Now we can process and transfer all invoices electronically.”

Markwell’s next plan is to use the platform to manage site audits.

“We want to partner with a vendor who can visit stores and report on their conditions on our behalf,” she said. “Their data will help us determine how to service these locations and evolve them into top tier stores.”

Markwell hopes to launch the program in the next six months.

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