Select Page

    Often in businesses when an organization is set up or is growing, all the necessary decisions are taken by the core management team. The simplest or the rather intricate matters are also dealt with great interest by the founder or the core team. While everything is taken care of, we overlook the fact that one day when the organization has grown and there are larger scale strategic decisions to be taken, who shall deal with the routines? As the company reaches a certain size, this form of decision making can limit its capacity to grow further. You may have valued human resource by your side for a handover, however, how can we ignore the basic philosophy of functioning?

    While everyone may want to do the right thing, often everyone’s edition of that right thing is always different.  

    Which in turn portrays the essential fact that how things are done is going to inevitably vary according to who is doing it.

    This fact alone is enough to establish the necessity of a documented set of procedures or processes for the functioning of a qualitative and sustainable system that works in alignment and accordance of the standard of the management’s mission and vision. In this instance, the SOPs i.e. this documented set of processes would typically take over and act as your governing word.

    Now the question arises what is this Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) after all?

    Well, an SOP is an operation specific procedure that describes the tasks to be undertaken and stay in complete accordance with industry standards & regulations, abide state laws or even your own standards for running your business.

    In short, SOP is a document that clearly defines WHO, WHAT, WHERE, HOW and WHY.

    An SOP, by and large defines expected practices in all businesses where quality standards exist, especially so in small business. The requirements for SOPs and their format may range from industry to industry, depending on the type of activity your organization is undertaking, or what regulations your business is governed by.

    For all those business owners who are experiencing SOPs for the first time, or are working in a small organization that is looking to put SOPs in place, Your Retail Coach has put together a slim introduction to what Standard Operating Procedures are, and why your organization needs to put them in place.

    Why do you need SOPs at your organization?

    Though we all know and understand that procedures are not an end in themselves – they will not secure good performance nor guarantee good results.

    However, what SOPs will do is ensure that you have a structured quality system and processes in place, qualified employees, and a motivating company culture.

    SOPs not only help you to evaluate what you’re doing now but also help you decide how to go moving forward.

    Standard Operating Procedures at a minimum gives you the following:

    Routine and Consistency

    The number one reason for procedures is consistency in the way an individual carries out a particular task or activity. A well-written SOP explains visually or through illustrations, the tasks to be done, in whom, how and where category.

    Your staff can skip guessing or plan upon the mechanical set routines tasks.

    Instead, they can now put in some quality time creating ways of efficiency and productivity. Not to mention the pep they themselves receive due to higher predictability in their jobs. The more consistent a process is from person to person, the less chance there will be quality problems.

    Quality Control and Error Reduction 

    Often have we seen that while dealing with mass purchase and/or production there are chances of errors or variations. Also while delivering a service again and again one faces the problem of duplication of services.

    These hassles of quality and human errors can be handled effectively with a written procedure of instructions for the performing a task.

    Therefore, more the SOP is being followed; greater are the chances of reducing errors and gaining checks in quality control.

    Training and Communication  

    Another great reason you need SOPs in your organization is for the benefit of communication. This communication is could be of an update in the existing processor putting in place an entirely new process.

    SOP provides a method to communicate uniformly and in a time-efficient manner. It reduces verbal communications and increases written communication.

    Performance Management

    SOP run systems, also make it easier for you as an employer to conduct employee performance and decide the appraisals too.

    Each employee’s job description falls under SOP and hence establishing key performance index (KPIs) and productivity is much easier and accurate than before.

    You could also compare the performance of employees performing the same task and determine retention or dismissal. Not only does employee management becomes easy but it also increases employee performance.

    Growth and Replication

    Growth in your business often means expansion in scale of production/service but also mean setting up of different geographical locations with an entirely new unit of people. In such cases having an SOP enables you to replicate the work processes of the headquarters.

    Staff at each location can use the same manual and reduce dependability on the headquarters. This, in turn, increases the revenue by supporting your expansion plans and  Owners get time to concentrate more on strategies and engage in enhanced customer happiness ratio.

    Customer Delight

    Who doesn’t know that in today’s competitive and social media-centric environment, a customer has become informative and powerful; Customer Success now more than ever is a must and not an option. The overall performance of the unit can also be gauged and can be instrumental in deciding to scale up or scaling down your business.

    To maintain uniformity in standards of customer service, shall require a well-defined and easy to understand SOPs for the team facing your customers.

    While most of us are of the thought that the application of SOP is only relevant to complex businesses and organizations, we assure you that its benefit extends to cover even the most minor aspects of work. In some business, the values of SOP is highly established and acknowledged, while in many others the case may be different. In those where its values are appreciated, SOP is claimed to have the role of some essentials like:

    • A way to resolve conflicts between partners
    • Protection of employers in areas of potential liability and personnel matters
    • A roadmap for how to resolve issues – and the removal of emotion from troubleshooting  
    • The first line of defense for a client, possible purchase, partnering up or just a regulatory check

    Every business has a unique market, every entrepreneur has his/her own leadership style, and every industry has its own best practices. No two businesses will have an identical collection of SOPs.

    It is mandatory that your SOP is designed to keep well in mind the best format, language, and complexity of your business. Write to us and we will evaluate your needs to design SOPs tailor-made for your business because having it is a MUST!

    Benefits of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

     

     

    To read more articles related to this topic click here: 4 P’s Of Retail Sales, Are You Taking Care of your Customer??? | YRC05 Essential Benefits of SOP Implementation | YRC5 Most Powerful Ways to Create a Brand | YRC, 5 Most Important Roles of a Business Owner | YRCHow Predictive Analysis is doing Wonders in Retail !!! | YRC,How to write Standard Operating Procedures for Furniture Showroom | YRC, Communicating with the GenNext Customers5 Most Powerful Ways to Create a Brand | YRC.

    YRC is an “Expert Service Division” of Mind-A-Mend Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.

     

    PROCESS AUTOMATION

    The idea of having Ecommerce Consultants on-board from the beginning itself points towards reducing the involvement of the promoters in daily operations. Ecommerce Businesses willing to be a brand reaping profits & sustaining the competition must ensure that most of their processes should be automated. The more the manual intervention, the more would be the errors.

    In Ecommerce business, you get only 1 chance to impress the customer & if you mess up there, you lose the customer for long.

    Process automation in respect to all the activities pertaining to customers from order receiving to order fulfilment is a must for a seamless experience for the customers.

    Task Management is another grey area where most deadlines fail as 90% of the tasks are assigned manually & are forgotten, unheard, misunderstood or mistaken.

    YRC Team of Ecommerce Management Consultants helps to make maximum of the processes system-driven to ensure minimalistic manual intervention.

    VIDEOGRAPHY & PHOTOGRAPHY

    No matter how good your product is, the customer would know only if it looks good.

    Photography includes the following steps:

    • Cataloguing your products
    • Cataloguing your images
    • Backup your images (A few cloud storage solutions include Dropbox, Google Drive, Bitcasa, Apple’s Cloud Storage etc.)
    • Choose the right camera & lens (You may also outsource the photography to a third party agency)

    DIGITAL MARKETING

    Digital Marketing includes SEO & SMM. SEO i.e. Search Engine Optimization includes activities like back-linking, meta tags, blog-writing etc. to ensure your website ranks on the 1st page on Google Search.

    Next comes SMM i.e. “Social Media Marketing” which as the name suggests including promoting your products on all the social media sites, email marketing, influencer marketing & several other BTL activities.

    These activities are going to be recurring & would decide the traffic on the website, the conversions, whether the right target market is tapped, the likes, the views, the orders, the reviews & much more. YRCs Ecommerce Consultants create a budget for digital marketing right from pre-launch to launch & for each month thereafter.

    Building digital marketing strategies in coordination with the agency, selecting them to signing them off would be the role of YRC.

    This ensures seamless coordination, detailed interactions & desired execution as it is always advisable to work with a single agency than multiple of them.

    IT INTEGRATION

    Selection of the right software for smooth functioning of back-end operations right from production to webstore display would be suggested and integrated by YRC Team.

    YRC’s Team defines SOPs of Product Movement, maps it with the locations & people. They then create a blueprint of all the features required in the software & help in shortlisting & selection.

    IT Integration involves connecting your offline inventories with real-time online webstore so when a sale occurs, inventories get deducted real time across offline as well as online platforms.

    This helps in accurate inventory management, maintaining the MOQs, re-order levels & achieving the optimum inventory levels.

    Some popular software include unicommerce, viniculum for your front-end website management & Genisys for your entire back-end Purchase, Production, Accounting, Invoicing etc. management.

    WAREHOUSE & LOGISTICS PLANNING

    • How many cities or countries you wish to sell in?
    • Where should your Warehouse be located?
    • Should you have one warehouse in each country or city?
    • Should you be having your own delivery team in your base city?
    • Would the 3rd party vendors be reliable? What happens when they lose or misplace your product during delivery?
    • How should I manage the logistics if my goods are coming from different countries?
    • How should the goods be stored and barcoded?
    • How much space do I require for warehouse?
    • I am sure several such questions must be haunting you while you think of starting your own fashion ecommerce brand.

     

    At YRC, our warehousing and logistics experts can help you devise a strategy for all of the above mentioned queries and much more.

    We design the layout of the Warehouse considering the inward, goods processing, software entry, barcoding, outward, goods return, scrap storage, goods stacking & much more.

    Logistics route plan is devised considering the manufacturer to your warehouse and from there to last mile delivery locations.

    UI & UX DESIGNING

    This Step involves 03 distinct parts:

    Part 1: Choosing the right Platform:

    From several platforms available in the market right from Shopify to magento, woocommerce, prestoshop, wordpress etc. you must choose the one that fits best for your business

    Part 2: UX Designing:

    “UX” denotes User Experience, which if put in simple language is building the functional requirements of the website.

    UX Designing includes designing the features required in the website, customer journey map, website features, the browsing features, navigation features, ecommerce order management process flow, checkout cart features, catalogue management, ecommerce payment system, cross selling features & much more.

    “As per statistics, 68% of the customers abandon the carts before payment”

    An interesting UX ensures the customer sticks on to the website for a longer time.

    Part 3: UI Designing:

    UI stands for User Interface, which means designing the look and feel of the website. UI includes using the right colours, elements and the entire aesthetics of the website.

    A good User Interface ensures the user completes the task that he has come for. It navigates the user through the journey of the brand in the simplest but most effective way.

    The UX designer maps out the bare bones of the user journey; the UI designer then fills it in with visual and interactive elements.

    If User experience is the bare bone, user interface wraps it up with an attractive cape.

    At YRC, our team if experts can help you develop the entire User Journey to ensure it is engaging!

    SAMPLING & PRODUCTION

    This step follows the “Designing” Phase, whether you have an in-house design team, freelance designers or an outsourced design company. It is one of the most exciting phases, as here you see your designs turning into products & your ideas turning into reality.

    In most start-up cases, production is outsourced i.e. brands tie-up with the established manufacturers/ job-workers to get their products manufactured.

    Sampling involves multiple 04 Stages, Fit-Sample, Prototype Sample, Pre-Production Sample & the Production Sample.

    Prototype Sample is the first sample provided to the buyer. It can be in any fabric/ colour. This sample is just to understand whether the product design looks equally great in reality.

    Fit Sample, as the name suggests is prepared to check the fit of the garment i.e. the various sizes, length, width etc.

    Pre-production is made by the actual production line. Here the stitching quality and other aspects related to manufacturing are checked. This is the last stage where rejection can be accepted.

    Production Sample is made before the production which is the replica of what is going to be finally produced.

    Once you are through with all this, you are good to go ahead & get your goods manufactured.

    PRODUCT DESIGNING / SOURCING

    Product Designing or Sourcing is the heart of the Ecommerce Fashion Brand.

    Product Designing / Sourcing can be done in several ways, as follows:

    • In-house Design Team
    • Freelance Designers
    • Outsourced Design Team
    • Ready Product Sourcing (From Manufacturer or Wholesaler)

    At YRC, we evaluate your business strategy & business model to arrive at the decision, which of the above ways would be best-fit for your business. In certain cases, product sourcing may be a combination of the above.

    These are the people who are going to build your brand! Whether they are the designers or merchandiser, your brand look is going to be in their hands.

    If you are designing each garment from the scratch, the sourcing would play crucial role in developing design identity of your brand.

    Sourcing includes fabric, trims, lining & all the raw material required to build the garment.

    BRANDING

    Branding is the “Look of the Brand”, right from logo to tagline, the colours used, the brand story, the brand communications on social media, the packaging & all the other aspects which speak directly or indirectly to the customers. Branding constitutes the look & feel of the brand & hence must be thoughtfully planned to match with the product that we are selling.

    Branding must appeal to our target audience. Example : A golden colour logo depicting finesse, art, richness, premium, however beautiful it may be individually cannot go with a brand selling affordable kids wear products. So, your logo must be in-line with your brand positioning, whether you are an expensive brand or a luxury brand or a value for money brand, it must be depicted from your “Branding”.

    It is an integral part to attract the target audience.

    ORGANOGRAMS & SOP’s

    Organogram is the “HR Blueprint” of the business which is created at the onset, to map out the team required across each function at various stages of the business. At the launch, only key people need to be got on board to ensure the project gets started & at this stage, all of them need to multi-task. Similarly, certain financial as well as operational goals are set for addition of the further team. Example, for the operations team, we hire 1 operations manager during the pre-launch phase & we add 1 more only when the business kicks-off & we reach a volume of selling more than 1000 pcs/ month or a turnover of more than 0.1 million USD.

    SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures, a bible to run the entire organization right from Sales, Purchase, HR, Order receiving to Order fulfilment, Inventory Management, Accounts, Warehouse, Logistics, Supply Chain, Production & all the other relevant functions for the business. Business must be organized from its first day of operations; only then the tasks can be delegated.

    At YRC, we design the organization structure, the processes, and approximate time taken to execute each process, job profile of every member within the organization, their KRAs, KPIs & the Reporting Structure.

    CRITICAL PATHWAY

    Critical Pathway Analysis (CPA), is a project management technique which cannot be overlooked while launching an ecommerce fashion brand. Brand launch process is cumbersome with multiple inter-dependent & time-bound tasks involved, which need to be tracked to ensure the project remains on track.

    CPA outlines key tasks across the project, their turnaround time (TAT) & the dependencies of tasks upon each other. It identifies the sequence of tasks, their interdependent steps from inception to completion, their criticalities, and their dates of onset, target dates of completion along with the key responsible person for the respective activities. Critical Pathway helps in understanding the unimportant & not urgent tasks which may jeopardize the execution of the project because of an unexpected snag! It also maps out the potential bottlenecks which might be posed because of the dependencies of tasks upon each other & cases where the next task cannot be commenced before the completion of the previous one.

    CPA detects the minimum & the maximum time involvement of a particular individual or team to execute the task, thereby arriving at the overall deadlines associated with the project.

    At Your Retail Coach, we design the Critical Pathway & review it periodically to ensure the project is on track & the progress is measurable.

    BUSINESS STRATEGY & BUSINESS PLAN

    Business Strategy includes the vision, mission, goals, business model, business plan & strategy for all the functions within the organization.

    Business Strategy is a well-defined plan that outlines who, what, where, why, how & when for the company; for example, who would be the target market, how to attract the target audience, when to launch new products, where to operate from, how to handle competitors, what would be the USP, what would be long term goal of the organization & several other answers to the 5Ws of Strategy.

    Business Strategy aligns the organization towards a common goal. Business SWOT helps company to identify & overcome their weaknesses & focus to sharpen the strengths. Business strategy forecasts future risks and helps business in building skillsets to overcome the potential threats.

    YRC’s Business Plan focuses on creating a “Blueprint” of the business, thereby deriving the feasibility of the concept & gauge whether the opportunity is lucrative to invest time, energy & effort. Business Plan creates cash flow understanding i.e. building inflow & outflow cash projections from Week zero to week 60 i.e. 05 year projection. Business Plan calculates the capital investment, operating costs, one-time costs, recurring costs & all the other numbers relevant to obtain the breakeven sales, return on investment, return on capital, internal rate of return & several other ratios. Business Plan is also one of the important requirements if you are targeting the “Investor Route”. Fund raising becomes extremely transparent & channelized. With business plan panned out clearly, the business will know until what point must it be stretched & where to stop, which reduces the probability of unplanned investments.

    MARKET RESEARCH

    Starting the concept of Ecommerce Fashion brand with Market Research ensures we get detailed understanding of the industry & this research report also acts as a social confirmation for your concept. Market Research helps in understanding the target locations, their population, potential online buyers for your product, competitors for each category, and top selling products of the competitors, competitors’ price range, offers & their responses & much more. Market Research helps in thorough understanding of your brand position as compared to our competitors. It helps in identifying gaps in the market, in your category along with the scope of the said product in the desired market. This will help in validation of your concept & prevents you from making the same mistakes as your fellow brands, eventually saving your time, energy & efforts. This phase is also a make or a break phase, as the market research study may at-times come up with some eye-popping numbers & statistics which might compel you to re-think on your product or category that you are planning to sell or alter your entire concept itself!! Market Research Reports analyse the competitors’ webstore for their traffic, conversion & sales. This is extremely valuable information to derive our inventory budgets & projections, which takes us to our next phase.