Beat the pandemic to the punch: how to manage operations when guidelines are constantly changing

It’s no secret by now that Covid-19 has delivered a whirlwind of new challenges for businesses across the globe. The crisis changed the way retailers operate overnight.

Yet, as businesses worldwide grapple with ever-evolving Covid-19 regulations and work environments, there are a range of technologies available that can support retailers to get safely back to business.

For footwear and apparel retailer Footasylum, Covid-19 was a shock to the system. Liz Edden, Head of Internet Operations at the Distribution Centre says “it was unprecedented when Covid-19 hit…as it was for all businesses, the effects were unknown”. With over 70 stores in the UK, the challenge was now to mobilise all the stores to follow new and evolving safety guidelines.

Tackling COVID-19 head-on

Footasylum turned to SafetyCulture’s app iAuditor to increase audit efficiency and deliver enhanced visibility of critical safety data. iAuditor enables businesses to assess workplace safety and efficiency with over 100,000 simple checklists in its public library, integrating risk assessments on Covid-19.

When the pandemic hit, like all businesses, Footasylum didn’t know exactly how the crisis would affect the business. To cope with the nature of the situation, the retailer set up a Covid-19 task-force which consisted of the Health and Safety team and the HR team.

The role of the checklist in keeping people safe

The Health and Safety team worked in collaboration with the retail and training and development team, in order to create a robust Covid-19 Daily Requirements template. This template assessed various aspects of the store including social distancing, cleanliness, and hygiene to ensure that all stores followed the same processes and procedures in order to re-open in an efficient manner. This checklist has been utilised by all stores throughout their reopening strategy to ensure that on an ongoing basis they remain compliant and minimise risk to staff and customers.

“iAuditor is such an easy system to use, you can do everything on that one platform just using your smartphone, and submit it straight away to the people that it needs to go to. It allowed us to move very quickly during the period, from finding out we were closing, to reopening safely” says Jon Picken, Footasylum’s Retail Sales and Operations Manager.

Rapid response to evolving government guidelines

But what exactly does iAuditor do for Footasylum? The platform allows the retailer to easily standardise and deploy daily health and safety checks which ensures they are communicated consistently across the business. As it is a live system, Footasylum can frequently update the templates with ease and distribute them quickly across its network of 70 stores. This means if there is a sudden change to Covid health and safety guidelines or there is a government update, Footasylum can use iAuditor to roll the updates out to all stores within minutes.

As the retail sector continues its reopening journey, safety processes are being examined more closely than ever. Digital tools such as iAuditor are helping retailers accelerate their return and develop an edge over competitors. And with Footasylum, being able to deliver faster safety checks and provide staff with real-time access to critical safety information, is vital in a post-lockdown world.

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