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Ging Visual Using Images Enhance Productivity Decision Making and Profits - Gerard A.

Gerard A. Ging Visual Using Images Enhance Productivity Decision Making and Profits - Wiley publishing , 2005. - 257 p.
ISBN 0-471-71025-3
Download (direct link): visualusingimagestoenha2005.pdf
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STEPS 1, 2, AND 3. SURVEY, IMPLEMENT, ARCHIVE
HomeGo’s use of visual communication began only nine months before our conversation, in a casual, tactical way, when its CEO bought a camera phone and for the first time had an image-capturing device with him at all times. Kline described how use of the camera phone as a visual notepad became the impetus for the company to embrace Going Visual as an important strategic business tool: “He started using it on business trips, taking pictures of products we might be interested in, plants, and whatnot. Then he started going to the stores and taking pictures of our displays so that we could look at them as a management team and decide whether they
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Store display
were right or wrong. These displays are the driving force behind our sales, and if they are not right, the sales suffer. The in-store pictures he took were so effective in helping us make decisions relating to point-of-purchase sales that we came to the realization that we should have the local district managers take pictures and send them to us so we can look at them regularly and monitor the stores.”
The CEO’s successful use of images provided a sampling of the kind of valuable information that can be easily gathered visually— pictures of in-store displays and potential products. That ad hoc survey served as an effective step 1 for the company to target two sets of employees—district managers and merchandise-buying teams—which in turn provided the platform to launch step 2, to implement an in-house Going Visual strategy. Kline explained: “We sent digital cameras to our district managers, who take pictures of
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their in-store displays and also document anything at their location that might be broken and need repair.” The company quickly realized that it would be beneficial to receive images from its buyers and manufacturers across the world. It bought an international camera phone for its in-house buying team, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that its European and Asian independent agents had already gone visual and bought their own camera phones.
As the number of images coming in from the stores grew, the company proceeded rapidly to step 3, establishing a suitable but simple archive that focused on images relating to the stores. The managers send the images to the management team, and they are stored in a shared file that is organized by store, by date, and by issue. Each district manager is responsible for organizing and submitting images for the weekly review. This system allows all the pictures of the product displays in the stores on a particular date to be reviewed by management for quality, consistency, and placement. It also enables management to view all the images involving the issue of damaged goods or facilities maintenance.
Before describing how the company dealt with steps 4 and 5, we examine the multitude of benefits it reaped in various areas of the organization by Going Visual.
Store and Warehouse Management
At the store and warehouse level, Kline noted that “when you bring the goods into the country, frequently they get broken on the way, and when the product arrives at the store it’s damaged. I get an e-mail with pictures of the damaged product from a manager saying that ‘this product is cracked, or this hinge is wrong, or the quality of this wood is substandard.’ Not only am I getting immediate information, I’m also getting tools that I can use to act immediately—
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images I can pass on to the manufacturer for reference. This happens at our warehouse, our stores; it happens all the way along the line. We also receive pictures of damaged products from customers, and because we can see and identify their problem, there are fewer disputes during our resolution discussions.”
Damaged furniture sample
Kline said, “Often we’ll print these images so we can all share them at our meetings. Ultimately, the goal is that during our weekly calls with these district managers we can look at the images—either as prints or on a big screen in our conference room—while we’re talking to them so we are all referencing exactly the same information.”
The company quickly realized an additional, and very significant, cost saving benefit as a result of these visual reports of in-store conditions. “Using images helps in managing our expenses,” Kline said. “I used to spend a lot of my time traveling to individual stores to see the layouts. Now I can do most of that by looking at the pictures in my office.”
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Merchandising
Just as Sally Carrocino is out in the field, visiting trade shows and customer sites, collecting images of new products and merchandising ideas and sending them to her clients, Michelle Kline has agents all around the world using digital cameras and camera phones as visual notepads, harvesting product and design ideas, and sending those pictures to her. Kline explained: “We gave our buying teams digital cameras to take on their trips, with instructions to photograph everything they see so that we know exactly what we’re talking about in reference to a price or a quote. In this industry you really want to see the product; you want to visualize it to have some refer-
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