News Consultants

News

Carlos Castelan shares a report on the post-COVID impact on high-traffic malls.

Malls in the U.S. continue to experience closures in the wake of the pandemic and changing customer behavior.

The Background:

Walkthrough of “Mall of America” located in Bloomington, Minnesota

Goal to understand changing customer experience in leading malls and how stores are changing amidst the current landscape

Observations supplemented by insights from company websites and publicly available information

Key points include:

  • Mall vacancies and tenant turnover continues post-pandemic (even in high traffic malls like the Mall of America)

  • Design and look & feel are important to an elevated customer experience and brand perception

  • Niche retailers and DTC players are testing brick-and-mortar concepts to engage customers 

  • Continued focus on health and wellness – as well as offerings such as office space – are still being tested post-pandemic

Access the full report, Mall of America visit: Bloomington, on NavioGroup.com.

Carlos Castelan provides key steps that can be taken to improve disconnects and find opportunities throughout times of change and functional issues. 

In today’s world where change is one of the only constants, we often hear of companies undergoing a transformation to reinvent themselves and revitalize their customer offerings. This is a natural function of the organizational life cycle where companies grow and organize in a variety of ways along the way, including around services or products. However, in focusing on efficiency and processes to enable scale, organizations lose some measure of tight collaboration and team agility that comes from regular innovation. So, how can companies avoid having to regularly undergo transformations? One way successful businesses do this is through the identification of gaps in team collaboration through a Customer Correction tool that allows teams to find opportunities and cooperate to improve where disconnects may be occurring and resolve issues before they impact customers.

Functional issues cause established companies to have difficulty with transformations and innovation to meet their customer’s needs. As an example, we recently saw a team dedicated to measurement of new initiatives struggle to meet key milestones and deliverables due to the novelty of the project and complexity of data. This resulted in a high likelihood of failure for the business team to understand the customer benefits of the innovation.  The business team raised the issue several times to leadership but, over time, the business team had to accept the problem and figure out a work-around. The acceptance of the issue led to many hours of lost productivity and countless meetings to try to close the gaps which went unresolved.

To get ahead of functional issues within a company, we’ve seen forward-thinking organizations adopt a regular exchange of notes by each member of a group (team) to assess for the purpose of improving collaboration and performance. We have all worked with managers, co-workers or teams that affect others and we understand the impact that poor collaboration and communication has on each step of their process. So, how can concerns be raised in an objective manner for management to course correct before they become larger issues?

Key points include:

  • Team collaboration
  • Customer correction
  • Team feedback

Read the full article, Leveraging your company’s greatest asset to improve the customer experience, on TheNavioGroup.com.

 

 

Carlos Castelan’s company shares an article on how to find the right remote employees and how to manage them. 

Managing a business takes a lot of ingenuity and drive, no matter what kind of industry you’re in. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only added to that, which is why it’s crucial that your business takes a critical look at your needs (both current future) to help keep things afloat. While smaller businesses often rely on government programs like SBA express bridge loans and the Main Street Business Lending Program to stay in business during these troubled times, larger companies can often avoid these types of loans by making internal changes, giving them a better chance of getting things under control without the use of external sources of funding.

Once you’ve gotten your finances under control, you can start thinking about putting together a remote team. Not only do you have to be extremely focused and dedicated, but you also have to be great at employee relations in order to ensure your team can go remote seamlessly. It can be tricky to maintain good communication with employees and keep everyone on the same page. Finding the right people for the job, if needed, and learning how to keep them motivated when there’s no office environment can be done; it just takes a little creativity. Knowing what mistakes to avoid will help you keep the process smooth.

 

Key points covered include:

  • Finding the right people
  • Keeping communication clear
  • Staying organized

 

Read the full article, How to Find and Manage a Stellar Remote Team for Your Business, on NavioGroup.com.

 

 

Discover practical inventory management tips that can help your business grow in this post on Carlos Castelan’s company blog. 

For any products-based business, it’s hard to overstate the importance of inventory management. Not only does effective inventory management help you to evaluate the state of your business and reveal various roadblocks to your success, but it also helps you to keep operations running smoothly and ensure that your customers stay happy. And when your business is growing quickly, it becomes even more vital. As we talk to customers of all sizes, we have heard several themes -that’s why we’ve provided these inventory management tips for flourishing businesses:

Use Up-to-Date Software

One common mistake made by many companies is that they continue to use inventory management methods and/or software long after it has become obsolete. And it usually comes down to costs.

But as The Houston Chronicle’s website Chron explains, using archaic inventory management contributes to a host of problems that end up costing your company much more money than the price of quality, up-to-date software. Digitized tracking allows better forecasting, reduces errors, improves customer service, and enhances efficiency. Research the market, and you will likely find a number of cost-effective options that can transform your inventory management practices.

 

Key tips in this article include:

  • Improve your forecasting
  • Stick to FIFO
  • Audit your stock efficiently
  • Check your products

 

Read the full article, Is Your Business Growing? Consider These Practical Inventory Management Tips, on the Navio Group website.

 

 

Carlos Castelan’s company blog provides five questions to help you think about and prepare for the future post COVID-19.

To say that 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone is an understatement. The last six months have brought an enormity of difficulties and change to both the world of retail and the global population. While we don’t have the fabled Sports Almanac to identify future results, we wanted to share five questions that we have used with our clients to help plan for the second half of the year:

1: How are you supporting your current employees and remaining agile to meet new opportunities?

COVID-19 has disrupted our lives and added challenges from homeschooling young children to caring for family members. This is no ordinary time and it is also an extraordinary opportunity for leaders to demonstrate empathy for what is happening in their team’s lives.

It’s imperative to demonstrate to all employees that people come first and that their whole lives are welcome at work regardless of whether the impacts are visible. This can take the form of  extending certain benefits to help manage through those challenges such as flexible work schedules, childcare reimbursements, and family care leave. It means providing adequate sick leave and income stability to those battling the virus to ensure their recovery and the safety of their colleagues. Target, for example, temporarily raised wages, provided free backup childcare for loved ones, and up to 30 days of paid leave for team members 65 or older, pregnant, or with underlying medical conditions.

This is also a critical moment to be agile to meet new opportunities. Essential businesses are having to flex up to meet a surge in demand. How can they quickly and safely identify and onboard talent? As retailers accelerate digital transformation initiatives like online ordering and curbside fulfillment, how can they shift resources to accelerate and deliver on those initiatives?  Nowhere was this more critical than Walmart, the nation’s largest grocer, which has aggressively leaned into curbside pickup. To rapidly hire over 150,000 team members, they launched an expedited recruitment process and partnered with companies across restaurants, hospitality, and retail that had furloughed workers, in some cases going from application to offer within 24 hours.

 

The remaining four questions explore:

  • Customer retention and relationships
  • Impact on your industry and and competitors
  • Impact on suppliers and supply chain
  • Lower revenue

 

Read the full article, Back to the future: five questions to help you jump ahead in 2020, on the Navio Group website. 

 

 

The Internet of Things has caused much disruption in the retail industry where only the most agile and innovative survive and thrive. Carlos Castelan’s company blog explains how to transform or build businesses to match customer expectations.

There’s a great line courtesy of Albert Einstein where he was quoted as saying, ‘If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask… for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.’ Though we (thankfully) do not have a problem that our lives depend on today, the line epitomizes the spirit of reflection that many people take at the start of the year to make changes for the coming 12 months.

 

Areas covered in this article include:

  • Purpose
  • Personalized experience
  • Pricing and promotion optimization
  • Process transformation

 

Read the full article, The Retail Leaders’ Agenda for 2020, on the Navio Group website.

 

 

Carlos Castelan shares how to improve the customer experience and team collaboration.

In today’s world where change is one of the only constants, we often hear of companies undergoing a transformation to reinvent themselves and revitalize their customer offerings. This is a natural function of the organizational life cycle where companies grow and organize in a variety of ways along the way, including around services or products. However, in focusing on efficiency and processes to enable scale, organizations lose some measure of tight collaboration and team agility that comes from regular innovation. So, how can companies avoid having to regularly undergo transformations? One way successful businesses do this is through the identification of gaps in team collaboration through a Customer Correction tool that allows teams to find opportunities and cooperate to improve where disconnects may be occurring and resolve issues before they impact customers.

 

Points covered include:

  • How to facilitate team conversation
  • How to get ahead of functional issues

 

Read the full article, Leveraging Your Company’s Greatest Asset to Improve the Customer Experience, on the Navio Group website.