When the Molehill Becomes a Mountain: What to do when compliance goes astray

Mila Budeva
Mila Budeva
Jul 18, 2017

Non-compliance can cost retailers and QSRs hefty fines, lost customer trust and even location closures, posing a threat to their credibility and profitability. Often, due to a blind spot in operations, small and easily resolvable issues are left to grow into unmanagable problems.


This results in a continuous, inefficient struggle to curb the known damage caused by non-compliance until the implications of another blind spot become apparent.

Instead, to effectively tackle non-compliance, retailers and QSRs need to transition from firefighting extant issues post hoc to

Zaptic-check3.png uprooting poor practices

Zaptic-check3.png replacing them with the correct procedures

Zaptic-check3.png ensuring that workers on the ground have a clear understanding of when and how to implement them and

Zaptic-check3.png gaining real-time operational visibility over the implementation of those procedures.

 

This may seem like too much of a leap, impossible without the implementation of complex and costly systems which enforce and monitor compliance.

However, mobile technology, with its dropping costs and ever-expanding functionalities, greatly facilitates the assertion, implementation and monitoring of operational compliance, making it obtainable for c-stores and supermarkets, burger vans and restaurant chains alike.

Today we look at examples of non-compliance gone out of hand and how they could have been prevented with the help of digital capabilities.

 

Establishing the correct procedures

Non-compliant retailers and restaurants are a common topic of news reports and occasionally we encounter them personally as consumers. For example, a butcher in Hucknall has recently pleaded guilty to ten offences under food hygiene regulations such as dirty equipment and utensils and lack of staff training and has been fined £6,000 [1].  In another instance, a takeaway restaurant in North East London has been shut down after officers reported that the kitchen was “thick with grease and extremely dirty” [2]. The shocking levels of uncleanliness suggest that no corrective action or internal audit had taken place for months. In fact, 1 in 13 restaurants and 1 in 7 takeaways in the UK have failed food hygiene inspections because of poor procedures [3].

 

Such examples demonstrate the importance of a structured approach to ensuring compliance. The diligence of staff and their ability to strictly follow instructions is essential to compliance and although no system can guarantee it, it is even less likely to manifest itself without comprehensive training, a firm schedule and frequent monitoring in place. Instead of sifting through a lengthy handbook or its digitized copy, deskless workers can learn more efficiently (and enjoyably!) from more engaging formats like videos, slide decks or quizzes. Gaining access to such interactive resources on their mobile devices also enables frontline staff to quickly find relevant guidance while executing a task. Alerts and reminders pushed to workers’ mobile devices can help to ensure that no compulsory check or clean is forgotten amidst the other tasks in-store or behind the counter. What is more, gamifying the process by rewarding points for the correct execution of tasks can help to improve engagement and incentivise the correct behaviours.

 

Real-time visibility

A recent external investigation into Asda’s home deliveries has revealed hygiene issues - tests conducted on the crates used for home deliveries showed that only one of ten crates had satisfactory hygiene [4]. Similarly, Tesco and Sainsbury’s customers have raised concerns with the online shopping service posting on social media images of deliveries arriving with packets torn open, nibbled and contaminated by animals as well as raw meet left to mix with ready to eat goods [5]. In this example, the retailers obtained visibility over the issue after an external investigation and customers’ social media activity. Instead of acting upon complaints in hindsight, retailers can make use of image capturing pre-emptively. Making it a required task for workers to take an image of the crates and interior of delivery vehicles prior to each delivery as proof of cleanliness standards, can help to resolve any issues before the customers experience them.

 

Failing to recall out of date products offers another example of non-compliance with costly implications, stemming from poor operational visibility. In 2013 Tesco was fined £10,500 [6] and in 2016, Asda had to pay a £75,000 fine for selling out of date foods [7]. With thousands of products in-store, out of dates can be easily omitted. Analytics can provide better visibility over the state of stock and inventory and help to recall out of date products in time by using data from the inventory system and pushing reminders to store associates’ mobile devices close to the products’ expiry date.

 

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Sources:

[1] http://www.nottinghampost.com/hucknall-butcher-in-court-over-host-of-food-hygiene-issues/story-29806678-detail/story.html

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/20/filthy-restaurant-shut-down-after-inspectors-find-mouldy-food-ro/

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/23/revealed-uk-takeaways-fail-food-hygiene-tests-restaurants-takeaways

[4] http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/asda-home-delivery-service-found-to-be-filthy-during-undercover-investigation_uk_5818c4d3e4b04660a43a802d

[5] http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/tesco-sainsburys-online-shopping_uk_582c6591e4b07783e3930904

[6] http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/local-news/tesco-fined-10500-over-out-of-date-4824602

[7] http://www.itv.com/news/central/2016-11-10/west-bridgford-asda-store-fined-75-000-for-selling-gone-off-food/