Concrete checks in with Steve Paternott, Retail Operations at Samsonite, a few months after the implementation and launch of Concrete Tasks and Concrete Forms. Find out how Concrete helped Steve save 3 ½ hours on a single task.
Hi, Steve! What is unique about airport stores?
Airport stores have their own set of rules and regulations. We have strict compliance checks for fire, health, and safety. Airport stores also have limited space. Typically, there’s no back office and only one cash register. Being able to run Concrete on an iPad is really helpful for making sure our till is available for customer transactions and that our teams are not stuck behind it.
How were you gathering data about compliance checks before Concrete?
We used to ask airport stores to answer questions about compliance checks on a spreadsheet. I’d receive 30 spreadsheets at a time. It was really difficult to get information in one place and look at historical data about past issues. People were using different forms to share information. Collecting all of the spreadsheets, normalizing information, and analyzing data took me at least half a day.
How has your workflow changed since using Concrete?
What used to take me 4 hours now only takes me 30 minutes. When we moved to Concrete, we became more consistent in how we collect and share information. I’m able to view information quickly at a glance as well as dig deep for more details. The ability for teams to send photos of things that are difficult to explain also saves a lot of time and improves communication. The room for error has decreased and productivity in stores has improved because they can work off of the iPad. There was an adjustment period of about a week and since then it’s been going smoothly.
What was your first impression of Concrete?
We initially thought we would use Concrete as a tasks and announcements platform, leaning towards announcements. Staff could access all data, processes, and procedures in one place and always trust they were viewing the latest version. I thought, that’s brilliant, what else does Concrete do?
We chatted with our account and professional services team and we discovered Concrete Forms. We exchanged ideas back and forth on how we could customize it for our needs. I found the collaboration really refreshing and the Concrete team really responsive and honest about what could be delivered. The turnaround time from our ideas and vision to execution was remarkably quick.
How were stores, staff, and headquarters communicating before Concrete?
Stores would send us emails to share updates. For example, they might cite a delivery issue. We’d go back and forth 5 or 6 times until we got to the heart of the problem. Now that we’ve standardized how we collect information in Concrete Forms, we’re able to resolve issues and communicate updates much quicker. It helps both sides.
How has communication improved since using Concrete?
We ask our teams to fill out a lot of paperwork, which takes a lot of time. We’ve moved all of the data collection onto Concrete’s digital platform, and it’s become much easier for teams to fill out the information online, tick off boxes for pre-filled choices, and press send. Doing so also aligns with Samsonite’s company strategy of lowering our carbon footprint.
What’s the biggest change Concrete has enabled?
The staff in stores have a million and one things to do - primarily, guide the customer through the Samsonite experience. How do we help them do that? Thanks to Concrete, they now spend less time filling out paperwork and more time on the floor with customers.
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being unlikely and 10 being absolutely, how likely would you recommend Concrete to colleagues and friends?
I’d say 9. Concrete does pretty much everything I want and there’s a lot more to come. I look forward to seeing how our partnership will expand.
Thank you, Steve!
Steve manages retail operations, loss prevention, systems, and stock control for Samsonite. He has 30+ years of retail experience. Samsonite is a worldwide leader in durable and innovative travel bags, luggage, and accessories.