Worldwide implementation and support blog

Why Aren't Supermarkets Doing Anything About Queue Wait Times?

Posted by Phil Cox on Tue, May 05, 2015

A survey of people’s shopping habits has been completed recently and they've come up with the top 10 list of the things that people hate when supermarket shopping. These figures were taken from a survey of 2500 people on their supermarket shopping habits.

There is no surprise on the number one issue - It was long queues at the check-outs with 62 per cent of the people surveyed stating this to be their big issue when shopping in a supermarket.

So why aren't the supermarkets doing anything about this! Well the fact is - They are!

Queue

 

Supermarkets are constantly looking at ways to improve customer experience. The reason they look at this is because the goal of all retailers is to improve customer loyalty and by improving the customer experience will increase the customer loyalty.

If a customer has a better experience at their supermarket compared to a rivals store that customer will come back. This will lead to increased number of store visits, increased dwell time in the store and less 'abandonment' of shopping due to wait times. The product of all these improvement is increased profit for the retailer as more loyal customers spend more of their hard earned cash with there chosen retailer.

Supermarket have therefore been reaching out to the people counting and tracking industry and finally we are seeing integrated solutions that look to half the amount of time we are stood in a queue during busy shopping periods.

The major difference between our supermarket retailers is their commitment to the 'early adopter' philosophy. The supermarket retailers fall into three types when it comes to adopter of technology to solve day to day operational problems.

1 - Earlier Adopters - looking at the best in-market technology, piloting it and rolling it out if proven to be successful

2 - Sit Back and see what everybody else does then we'll do it.

3 - Do nothing, as our product is cheap and as long as we get people coming in and buying we don't care.

 I'm please to say that I've been working with a few of the early adopters and they are using a mixture of people counting and customer monitoring hardware to provide a early warning type system. The systems monitor the entering footfall traffic and predicts how many check outs will need to be opened to handle the potential check out traffic. Gone are the days where retailers can only react when they see the queue is already out of control.

The queue wait time and number of people in the queue is monitored as well to allow the retailer to scientifically monitor queue numbers along with the amount of time queued and use this data to drive and monitor improvements. This can change staffing schedules to ensure the correct number of trained checkout staff are on site in synchronisation with arriving customer volumes.

Improvements can be a simple as moving more staff onto the check outs or to invest in changing the type of checkouts from traditional trolley lane to express checkouts.

After self checkouts were pushed out into the cold a few years ago, not helped by released press articles stating queue time had actually increased at self scan checkouts. Now by monitoring the effect of the latest self scan check outs pilots the efficiencies of these new technologies can be easily proven.

 

 

Maybe it is a case of not welcoming change into our favorite retailers that caused the initial back lash in the first place, but times have changed. Technology is more relieable and user friendly and customers have themselves adopted this technology. Or is the reported back lash just plain wrong and now has been proven wrong as we are measuring the queue times accuracy and reliably.

The next time you are doing your shopping and waiting to pay, you may wonder 'why is this supermarket not doing anything about the queue times', have a good look above you and see if you can spot the technology that is monitoring your experience.

If you can't see it, maybe you need to move supermarket?

Tags: people counting, people counting installations, customer monitoring, queue management, People Counting Implementation, people counting outsourcing

Network Rail Digital Passenger Counting System Implemention

Posted by Phil Cox on Mon, Apr 27, 2015

Network Rail have committed to install people counting hardware into the largest and busiest stations in the UK.


This network counts over 1 billion movements annually using 1700 counting devices, and has helped Network Rail to transform their stations, creating maximum value from the retail space available and attracting in new customers that aren’t even there to catch a train!

The trading figures were compiled from the sales results of retailers operating from over 500,000 sq ft of retail space across 15 of Britain’s biggest and busiest stations owned and operated by Network Rail, and benefiting from a combined annual footfall of over 1bn.

Hamish Kiernan, commercial director of retail, Network Rail, said: “These are great results for our retailers and we are delighted that our stations are continuing to give them an edge over the high street. We know that the growing appetite for rail travel and  convenience of our locations are key drivers of this trend, and we will continue to capitalise on this by creating ‘must-visit’ retail destinations across our portfolio of stations. Income from retail is a vital funding stream for Network Rail and strong results will allow us to deliver even greater value for Britain.”

Both PFM Intelligence and Irisys have published detailed reports on the ongoing success of this project of which CoreTech are very proud to be the implementation and support partner.

Link to the PFM report: PFM Network Rail

Link to the Irisys report: Irisys PFM Project Network Rail

Link to Network Rail Press Release:Network Rail PFM Press Release

 

Tags: people counting, people counting installations, News, Global Outsourcing, outsourcing partner, customer monitoring, queue management, People Counting Implementation, outsourcing, people counting outsourcing, call-to-fix

'Intelligent' pedestrian crossings trialled in London

Posted by Phil Cox on Wed, Apr 22, 2015


CoreTech have implemented this amazing solution to control pedestrian crossings with our partners at Nomi. This will improve both the traffic and pedestrian experiences during the busy times of the day and provide some great data on pedestrian numbers and flow rates!


An illuminated wait signal at a pedestrian crossing

TfL said the first trials - outside Balham and Tooting Bec Tube stations - would make traffic signals "more intelligent".

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said he was delighted that the capital would be the first city in the world to trial the equipment.

The Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (Scoot) will use cameras that can detect how many people are standing on the pavement and then extend the green crossing light to allow more people to cross the road, TfL said.

The full article can be found at: BBC News - Intelligent Pedestrain Crossing

Tags: people counting, people counting installations, News, customer monitoring, queue management, People Counting Implementation, people counting outsourcing

People Tracking & IDO Sensors to Improve Automatic Door Operation

Posted by Phil Cox on Thu, Apr 09, 2015

CoreTech Solutions have been working closely with IDO Sensors (IDO Sensors) to use people tracking technology to control automatic doors intelligently. Rather than the 'presence detector' style sensor that is traditionally used we have installed a people tracking sensor that tracks people as they move towards the doorway entrance. Using a predictive algorithm embedded in the sensor we can predict if a person is intending to enter the store or not. If they are going to enter the store then we open the door, if not the door remains closed, keeping in the conditioned air of the store.

IDO Sensor technology at M&S store

In total, IDO Sensor technology has been installed on 4 doors that open onto the bus station. Pedestrians queuing for buses, or just passing along the street between the store and the bus parking, were found to be falsely triggering the doors. This was causing an adverse effect to the internal environment of the store with both temperature and air movement fluctuations. Any change in the internal temperature needs to be stabilised by either additional heating or cooling, thereby meaning additional energy is required to achieve this. However, since the doors have been installed with IDO sensor technology the number of false triggers have been considerably reduced.

IDO sensor technology works very simply by only opening the doors of a store when people walk towards it and not past it. This is achieved by utilising clever tracking technology that can assess the direction of travel of everyone that passes the door. Every time an automatic door opens heated or cooled air escapes into the atmosphere. This air needs to be replaced by increasing the heating or cooling system accordingly. This of course uses additional energy. The fewer times that a door falsely triggers, the less heated and cooled air escapes the building. Therefore the less energy is used by the store. IDO sensor technology therefore has a good payback based on this energy saving as well as making the store more plea and staff.

Together with other energy saving upgrades, such as LED lighting and a heat reclaim system, the M&S Northumberland Street store is hoping to see up to a 20% improvement in energy efficiency. More details can be found by following this link to the Essential Retail Website.

Tags: people counting, News, customer monitoring

Sample - How To Post

Posted by Sample HubSpot User on Sat, May 03, 2014

INTRODUCTION:

Your “how to” blog post should teach the reader how to do something by breaking it down into a series of steps.

Begin your blog post by explaining what problem you are going to solve through your explanation and be sure to include any relevant keywords. Add in a personal story to establish your credibility on this topic. And make sure to end your blog post with a summary of what your reader will gain by following your lead.

Need some inspiration? Check out these "How-To" examples from the HubSpot blog:



BODY:

Now deliver what you promised in the first section. This is the longest part of the post, so make it easy to read. Use short paragraphs, bullet lists, and bold headings to set different sections apart. 

Some common section headers include:

Step 1: Getting Started

Step 2: Do Your Background Research on…

Step 3: First Steps for…

Step 4: Analyze and Repeat

Step 5: Wrapping Up

You can use bulleted lists, numbered list, or multiple headings. Include as many steps, numbers, or bullets that will allow you to discuss your topic thoroughly.

Here are some pointers to make the best possible body of your blog:
  • Include visuals
  • Include short explanatory phrases in your headers
  • At the end, transition into your conclusion


CONCLUSION:

Now it’s time to say goodbye and wrap up your post. Remind your readers of your key takeaway, reiterate what your readers need to do to get the desired result, and ask a question about how they see the topic to encourage comments and conversation. Don't forget to add a Call-to-Action to turn your blog post into a marketing machine!

Congratulations! What a lovely how-to post you've created. 



 

Click here to see our sample offer!

When Good Outsourcing Plans Go Bad: Lessons from Outsourcing Mistakes

Posted by Matt Hipwood on Fri, Sep 06, 2013

outsourcing plans lessonsAt CoreTech, we’re confident that companies can benefit from outsourcing their people counting implementations. Especially in today’s economy, where businesses are all looking to gain that competitive edge, outsourcing can make a real difference.

Whether it’s because you want to focus on your core business, reduce costs, or access expertise that you don’t have in-house, effective outsourcing can help you achieve this. It’s for these reasons (and many more) that companies outsource their people counting implementations.

The benefits of outsourcing, which help companies become more efficient, are the reason they turn to outsourcing partners.  But, for an outsourcing plan to be successful there has to be more than just the promise of effective outsourcing. If you promise to help a company, then your service must deliver.

What happens when a good outsourcing plan goes wrong?

Sometimes, though, inexperienced providers offer more than they can fulfil. This leaves projects incomplete or finished to an unsatisfactory level and companies left bruised after a bad experience. When this happens, it causes more damage to your company than it helps. The plans and expectations you had for your outsourcing strategy are left in tatters.   

When an outsourcing strategy goes wrong, it is painful for the companies involved. Suddenly the plan that was supposed to improve productivity and help manage costs has spiralled out of control. Deadlines are being missed; projects are not up to standard; and you end up working overtime to solve the problem.

So, What's a Reputable Outsource Partner To Do?

There’s a clear distinction between promising business benefits through outsourcing and actually delivering on this promise. Reputable outsourcing partners know how to bridge this gap and ensure that all projects are delivered to the agreed standards. They will have procedures in place to manage the project and communicate the results back to you.

There are also a few guidelines that you can follow, to help you find a reputable outsourcing partner:

  1. Do your research- When working with a new outsourcing partner, it’s important to establish whether they are the right fit for you. Do they meet your standards? Are they able to work to your timetable? Do they have the necessary experience and capacity to complete the work?
  2. Be clear on expectations - While there are companies who cannot deliver on what they promise, this shouldn’t prevent you from working with ones who can. Agree your Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI), as this will set the standard for the project.
  3. Establish your channels of communication- No one wants to do business with people who are hard to communicate with. Knowing exactly what is going on with your project gives you the peace of mind and helps everyone keep the project on track. Ideally this should take place through a real-time web portal. 

To find out more about outsourcing successfully, download The Ops Director’s Guide to Outsourcing:

 

Free eBook. Ops Director's Guide to Outsourcing

Tags: Global Outsourcing, outsourcing partner, outsourcing

The When, Who & Why of Outsourcing People Counting Installations

Posted by Matt Hipwood on Fri, Aug 16, 2013

When it comes to any project, there will be parts that you excel at doing. Then, there are other parts that are not your strong point. It’s not necessarily that you can’t do these tasks; it’s more that they are an addition to your core business. They are the tasks that are essential to the project as a whole, but secondary to your main priorities.

Often, it makes sense to outsource these tasks to people who do specialise in them; the people who see this task as their core business. But, sometimes, it is not always clear when, who and why you should consider outsourcing.

When to Outsource People Counting Installations

There is a short answer to this: outsource when it no longer makes sense for you to do the task yourself. For example, if your core business focuses on delivering accurate customer data and intelligence, it makes sense that this would be your priority. It is likely that the actual implementation of people counting systems is a secondary task.

While it makes sense that you want all of the installations to be a success, it doesn’t make sense for you to continue carrying this responsibility yourself. If it is no longer a business priority, outsource to make sure it doesn’t become a business distraction.

Who to Choose Outsource People Counting Installations?

Arguably the most important factor when it comes to choosing an outsourcing partner is having complete confidence in their ability to deliver.

The choice of who you outsource to can be the difference between project success and project failure.

As part of the tender process, find out how experienced your outsourcing partner is and whether they have the resources to meet all the work that you want to outsource to them. Establish how they plan to work with you, to ensure the project is a success.

Why Outsource your People Counting Installations?

Outsourcing to a trusted outsource partner brings real benefits to your business; cost-saving, flexibility, and improved services to name a few.

Outsourcing your people counting installations means you can meet your commitments, without having to worry about resourcing that part of the project. Your outsourcing partner will be able to meet the demand, with trained and experienced engineers.

It means you no longer need to pay for a full team of installation engineers, including all the associated costs of training, holidays, and recruitment, even if you don’t always have the work to keep them all occupied. Also, it means you no longer have to recruit engineers quickly to meet your commitments.

It allows you to focus on your core priorities, with the knowledge that all tasks in your project are completed to the highest standard.

For further insight into how outsourcing people counting installations can help your business, download our free eBook:

Free eBook. Ops Director's Guide to Outsourcing

Tags: people counting installations, people counting outsourcing

3 Must-Ask Questions When Choosing an Outsourcing Partner

Posted by Emma Rudeck on Tue, Jul 30, 2013

Outsourcing Partner QuestionsWhen outsourcing, you know that choosing the right partner is critical. The wrong choice can lead to project delays, poor workmanship and even project failures. While any reputable outsourcing partner will work hard to deliver, having the wrong partner can turn into a real nightmare. 

To help you find the right one, here are three questions that you have to ask when choosing an outsourcing partner.

#1 Do they have strong industry experience?

Companies that want to outsource one or more of their services should look for an outsourcing partner who knows exactly what they are doing. Ideally, you need someone who is recognised as an industry specialist; the go-to resource for a particular service you are after. As part of your research process, you should speak to the key people at the outsourcing partner and, if appropriate, request references from previous customers. This will help you to establish the level of their expertise and experience.

#2 Do they have the structure and staffing to handle all the services you want to outsource?

It’s important to establish whether or not your outsourcing partner has the capacity to complete all of the work you want to outsource to them.

Outsourcing partners, who are not properly structured or organised, can easily become overwhelmed if they take on a big project. Before committing to work with them, find out how the will be able to fulfil your service requirements and agree a timeline for this work. That way, everyone will be clear on the expectations of the project.

At the same time, you should agree how the outsourcing partner will report back to you on their progress. Are they able to provide you with monthly reports? Can they demonstrate week-on-week and year-on-year trends? By being able to produce these reports for you, it will mean there is greater transparency between you and your outsourcing partner. Also, establish who will be your go-to contact at the outsourcing partner, as this should ensure a clear channel of communication.

Spending the time to make sure the outsourcing partner can meet your needs can save you from a massive headache later in the project. Otherwise, you run the risk of unexpected delays to your project.

#3 Is your outsourcing partner able to provide real-time reporting on their progress?

Be clear before the project starts how progress will be monitored and shared with you. Find out if the outsourcing partner has a structure in place for reporting their progress back to you. Do they rely on voice messages and email? Or have they got a more robust system in place?

If they can provide you with real-time reporting and online project management, it means you’ll know exactly what is going on at any given time. Having this level of transparency will give you greater confidence in the work that your outsourcing partner is doing, by removing confusion and ambiguity.

The success of any outsourcing project is about defining and understanding exactly what you expect from the beginning of the project. Whether you are looking to outsource to control your costs, bring in new expertises, or to refocus your existing business on other areas, transparency and communication are vital to ensure projects are completed and delivered on time.

Want to find out how outsourcing can benefit your business? Download our free eBook:

Free eBook. Ops Director's Guide to Outsourcing

Tags: Global Outsourcing, outsourcing partner, outsourcing

12 compelling reasons to outsource people counting implementation

Posted by Richard Strange on Mon, Jul 22, 2013

release your resourcesIn the minds of many people, the term outsourcing tends to have an immediate negative reaction – for many, all they hear is jobs being shipped overseas and a loss of control. The truth is that outsourcing can make total sense, especially for installation, implementation, maintenance and service.

In truth outsourcing is the procurement of services from outside supplier and it can make absolute sense when it’s not your core business.

The customer data industry is one such industry where outsourcing has its advantages; after all retail data solutions providers, like footfall data and retail conversion specialists are in the business of the provision of data and retail intelligence. In this case installation, set-up, implementation and maintenance is a means to and end and not the core business.

Here are just some of the advantages of outsourcing
1. Free up the sales people to sell and not get wrapped up in how the products will be implemented at a store level of detail
2. Outsourced suppliers, have more people in more places with more experience than an in-house support team.
3. With your own workforce, you pay the wages even if there isn’t enough work – and you still pay freelance teams, when there is more work – so the balance is never in your favour.
4. Outsourced work is more efficient in travel routes – avoiding travel time being a non-chargeable overhead that you never recover
5. Call outs are faster and first fix availability tends to be better – because you’re not having to stick to old style route planning for service visits
6. You can take projects that are distant and International without having to worry about over pricing because you otherwise have to build in travel time, overnight expenses and travel costs
7. You don’t have to worry about losing great staff because the workload and interesting nature of the work isn’t there.
8. Part-outsourcing can also be an advantage if you still want to keep some resources in-house – but this requires clear forward planning to get the resources in place in time – and forward planning is not always the most straight and requires clear feedback from sales.
9. Carrying the right parts stock is no longer an issue and means you can redirect staff and systems tied up in managing these services
10. During busy times the carrying extra costs is not as significant because the company can afford to pay it. The benefit really shows up when business is slow and the excess overhead is not hanging there. Outsourcing provide a way to drastically reduce fixed costs
11. You don’t have to buy expensive insurances and cover sickness and injuries that might occur.
12. Plus, in today’s increasingly global marketplace, providers are making more sales outside their traditional area and are therefore turning more to outside installers in overseas territories (rest easy, CoreTech has Accuracy-Assured implementation teams in nearly 50 countries worldwide).

Outsourcing can be done as a complete outsourced service or as a hybrid.

Hybrid outsourcing
Typically for companies whose customers are expanding into international territories, the company keeps staff in its domestic market and outsources all of the overseas work to a trusted third party.

Recruitment and management costs can rise steeply on this model unless the trusted supplier can offer service and implementation in more than one territory.

Complete outsource
Companies like CoreTech can offer retail intelligence data providers the chance to TUPE over their staff to the outsource partner. Moves like this can offer staff more opportunities in the long run and a more structured working/scheduling environment.

Tags: Global Outsourcing, People Counting Implementation, outsourcing

Rapid continued growth at CoreTech forces move to new HQ premises

Posted by Matt Hipwood on Tue, Jul 16, 2013

While some companies continue to struggle to see any shoots of economic recovery, one UK company is growing fast.

In the last 12 months the staff at CoreTech Solutions has grown 70% as a direct result of the company winning new contracts in the UK and internationally. Now the company has moved to new premises to handle the growth.

Matt Hipwood, operations director, CoreTech Solutions said: “We’ve invested heavily in quality procedures, in IT to give ourselves and our customers a state-of-the-art project and customer management system, in training for our staff with all the major manufacturers and in expanding our operations internationally.

It’s been a very important phase in our company’s history. We’ve moved from being a valued supplier to being a trusted advisor and strategic resource for many of our customers.”

CoreTech Solutions, founded in 2008 by Matt Hipwood, Phil Cox and Richard Webb, operates in 50 countries worldwide implementing and providing support to the retail and customer data intelligence industry – installing, maintaining and optimizing people counting and queue management hi-tech detectors, beams, sensors and video-tracking equipment.

Phil Cox explained the reasons behind the growth: “We have over a decade of experience in a new market which started as a technology sale to the retail, banking, facilities management, transport, leisure and public sector. As the technology developed providers and systems integrators develop the data and its analysis as their core service proposition.

“The key goal for the end client is robust, accurate data the technology is no longer the key factor in the service provided by the retail intelligence market. We emerged as the specialist implementation and support service to the industry offering our services in a quality assured way in 50 countries worldwide.

“Today we serve 5 of the world’s top 10 industry players and we continue to win new business in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australasia.”

Indeed, much of the company’s growth is coming from overseas territories – the most recent addition is India. The growth model has been organic though and the company has achieved the results on its investment in systems, people and processes to allow it to scale without losing the quality of implementations.

To underpin global reach with and still demonstrate performance, CoreTech recently launched Accuracy-AssuredTM a quality assurance system which when trained, allows staff to deliver the highest possible degree of data accuracy but still taking into account local rules and conditions which can otherwise adversely affect the performance of the systems being implemented.

CoreTech directors Hipwood and Cox, see a bigger picture, a purpose that is helping contribute to its success. They state their purpose as:

  • To raise the standards and accuracy of customer counting and monitoring data globally by introducing globally reliable standards of implementation
  • To protect the reputation of the industry for implementation
  • To globally build the counting and monitoring industry’s success for useful, accurate data
  • To make access to real-time data normal rather than an exception
  • To optimize data accuracy for people counting and queue monitoring solutions

Coretech Solutions moved to purpose refurbished premises in July 2013 in Redditch, United Kingdom, which becomes its global head office. Other international satellite offices are due to be announced in the coming months

Tags: News, Global Outsourcing, People Counting Implementation