Categories
What

Discover ArcLab Discover

Discover ArcLab Discover

Not a typo 😀. We’re just excited to introduce ArcLab Discover 🧭

Since we launched ArcLab, we’ve had the privilege to empower organisations to easily create, distribute and track training.

Adopting a #Day1 mentality, we’ve listened to our customers and users as we grew (our thanks to each and every one of you) and shape our development roadmap. Responding to all your feedback, we keep working on ArcLab, improving platform stability and introducing features to help managers reduce time in creating & delivering modules to your workforce.

Discover ArcLab Discover

I’m excited to introduce ArcLab Discover, a collection of 40+ (and growing!) templates that span Learning & Development, Human Resources and Operations, in English & other languages that best suit your workforce.

Review templates for Training, Digital SOPs and HR use cases like EES etc. that suit your organisation’s needs. Remix them into your ArcLab Dashboard with the click of a button, saving you >50% of module creation time. Adapt the content to the specifics that fit your organisation or workforce.

View this module, or go to https://builder.arclab.io/discover

Building and contributing back to the community

We don’t take the credit for everything in ArcLab Discover.

Rather, we are grateful to tap on the wisdom of the ArcLab community, some of whom have made their modules public and given permission for us to “template-ise” modules for all ArcLab users to remix and use for your workforce.

I’m also glad to introduce a series of 6 complimentary Learning Modules by our friends at Business Academia, a consultancy who helps organisations and teams to diagnose, design, test and implements customer centric learning solutions and digital strategies led by design thinking and agility.

These learning modules are housed under their own menu tab in ArcLab Discover. Use them for your team’s learning, and contact Alina at Business Academia for more information.


Keep Discovering!

p/s ArcLab Discover is still in beta as we refine it to include upcoming improvements like industry/role-specific modules, favourites, ranking and others.

So let us know how you think ArcLab Discover can be improved for you, and what other templates or modules you wish to see in it, that can best support your workforce. Our goal as always is to keep solving your organisations’ problems, and remain useful to you.

We’re also happy to include any modules or templates that you might want to share with the ArcLab community. Simply send them to us via growth@arclab.io.

Thank you! 🙌

Categories
How

Retail’s digital tsunami strikes

Retail’s digital tsunami strikes

COVID-19 forced many industries to pivot to digital, and pivot quickly. The retail industry is no exception.

In the past few years (even pre-Covid), the retail industry had already seen a shift from offline stores to e-commerce | Pic: Unsplash

In the past few years (even pre-COVID), the retail industry had already seen a shift from offline stores to e-commerce as consumers started to buy more goods online. COVID-19 has only accelerated that move into a tsunami.

The lockdowns in 2020 played a huge role in accelerating the transition to digital shopping platforms. E-commerce became the only way that retailers could make their products readily available to consumers and the only means for companies to keep their business afloat.

Retailers now have no choice but to embrace digital.

Data from Singapore’s Department of Statistics show an undeniable increase in online retail sales from March 2020 to July 2020, the period when Singapore entered her COVID-19 Circuit Breaker.

Source: Singapore Department of Statistics

Big e-commerce players like Lazada, Qoo10 and Shopee also saw a spike in platform sales. According to Vulcan Post, Shopee experienced an 82% increase in the number of user visits from 6 million visits in the first quarter of 2020, to 11 million visits in the second quarter of 2020.

Has the e-commerce future arrived “early” for the retail industry?

Indeed, Singapore has witnessed an increase in emerging small businesses online, some online only.

By having an online presence, companies are able to reach significantly more consumers as opposed to relying on human traffic visiting a physical store.

With retailers adding online channels and using technology to their advantage — products, customer service chat, doorstep delivery, personal online shopping and even virtual product try-ons can make your business available to consumers 24/7, all around the world.

Equipping the Retail Workforce for the e-Commerce Present

With operations shifting online, it is necessary that retail training and HR processes be taken digital as well — to increase efficiency and reduce cost for retailers.

Training new hires online isn’t as daunting of a task as it might seem. In fact, it saves companies the trouble, time and money of organising physical training sessions. The training content would also need to change. E.g. Following the shift from physical to online stores, staff need to be retrained to learn how to serve customers online rather than face-to-face.

With ArcLab, creating training modules has been made simple with our easy-to-use interface. Disseminate the modules digitally to all staff at a few clicks of the button and our system automatically tracks their performances and stores all necessary records.

You can use ArcLab ‘s Customer Service 101 series to get you started.

ArcLab Customer Service 101 modules | Source: https://arclab.io/retail

We’ve built ArcLab to be seamless and fuss-free to start. Explore the limitless possibilities with ArcLab platform and get started on your digital transformation journey today.

If you need any help at all, reach out at growth@arclab.io

Start your digital transformation today!

Categories
How

Costly F&B communication issues and how to solve it

Costly F&B communication issues and how to solve it

Editor’s note: ArcLab works alongside HR Tech platforms to help businesses better manage workforces, improve staff performance to achieve more for the business, and digitally transform for the future.

We’re glad to co-author this article with Jolene Tan of StaffAny, a fast-growing software platform that enables shift-work teams (F&B, Retail, etc) to handle Operations and HR more easily — to share how F&B Businesses can avoid costly communication issues between HR, Ops and staff, and instead focus on growing the business.

How F&B businesses can avoid costly communication issues | Photo by Joshua Rodriguez on Unsplash

Food & Beverage Services (“F&B”) is an operations-intensive business.

We want things to run as clockwork as much as possible. So imagine a restaurant where things DON’T run like clockwork…e.g.

  • Staff show up on the wrong day / time for work
  • Staff DON’T show up (thinking their shift is another day)
  • Staff show up not knowing what they’re supposed to do, or how to do them
  • Staffs’ shifts are confirmed at the last minute, leaving them with little time to plan their personal calendars
  • Pay that HR processed for staff is not what they expected, due to inaccuracies processing work hours, leading to HR spending unnecessary time double-checking shift hours with Ops…

Instead of staying on top of things, you’re fighting fires every single day, just barely surviving!

Fighting fires daily means less time to grow your F&B Business | Photo by tabitha turner on Unsplash

The downstream effects of haphazard operations are poor customer experience and inefficiency, as more time is spent rectifying errors. Staff will ultimately also end up discontented.

This is hardly the way to run your F&B business — or any business for that matter!

Too much time is spent fire-fighting and doing last-minute coordination tasks. Time that should be better spent on more productive areas, like developing a new item for the menu, and attracting new sources of customers for the business.

We want to avoid such disaster scenarios, which can happen if we have a less-than-effective communication and coordination framework for our F&B business.

There’s a better way.

Simplifying F&B Operations

First up — getting your schedules together! A schedule seem like a very simple and minor thing. But it actually forms the backbone of your daily operations. If schedules aren’t planned well, you can expect mess on the ground.

But we know, F&B schedules aren’t that simple. Besides the multiple shifts every single day, but the communication with your staff.

Get part-timer availability on WhatsApp. Plan weekly schedules on Excel. Send the schedules back on WhatsApp. Then begin the back-and-forth dance because a staff can’t make it last minute, or you need to edit your schedule… sounds familiar?

Actually, you can avoid all the time and communication issues of this flow by doing all things scheduling-related on one platform. This not only reduces communication errors but also saves managers and owners a Ton of time! (specifically up to 70% time for some of our users).

After schedules, the next most crucial part is your timesheets. HR spends so much time on this because they want to pay their staff accurately. But did you know? Most communication issues are solved as long as the pay staff expect to receive is equal to the hours HR trusts and processes. This can only happen if the finalised time records HR processes for payroll is also seen by your staff.

That’s exactly what StaffAny was created for. Built for the F&B industry, StaffAny supports your complex operational needs from scheduling to timesheets, so you can save time and labour costs. Focus on what really matters.

Digitising SOPs

With proper scheduling, staff now know way ahead of time when their shift is. They also need a clear idea of their roles and responsibilities, and be trained in the tasks that they need to perform onsite, at each and every shift.

Traditionally, the task of teaching Standard Operating Procedures (“SOP”) to staff tends to fall on managers, who are already busy running operations and managing a myriad of other tasks. The training needs to be repeated for new staff, and sometimes staff forget what they need to do and require training again.

That’s where a good SOP system, built on ArcLab, can assist the manager. ArcLab empowers F&B businesses everywhere to easily author & distribute Digital SOPs, sent directly to staffs’ phones.

Unlike greasy SOP ring-binders that sit unused in the kitchen and available only to the manager, Digital SOPs are on-the-cloud and readily accessible by staff as-and-when they need to refer to specific steps and procedures that they may have forgotten, or want a second look.

Digital SOPs can also be updated each time circumstances and procedures change, and can be provided in multiple languages to suit staffs’ needs and abilities. Now every staff member knows his/her responsibility, what to do, and how to do them.

This means less work for the manager, who can spend more time on planning and executing growth plans. This means a more productive, and a more profitable business.

Let us help your business!

If you’re at F&B Business looking to simplify Operations…

Get in touch with StaffAny and ArcLab today!

Categories
How

The Way Ahead for HR in Singapore’s F&B Industry

The Way Ahead for HR in Singapore’s F&B Industry

Editor’s note: ArcLab works alongside HR Tech platforms to help businesses better manage workforces, improve staff performance to achieve more for the business, and digitally transform for the future.

We’re glad to co-author this article with Pang Jian Jie of Frontier e-HR, a leading vendor providing cloud-based HR and Talent Management System since 2000 — to share how Effective Casual Labour Management and Systemising Processes can help bring F&B Businesses onto the next lap.

Moving F&B Ahead | Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Singapore is always known as a global city with a vibrant Food & Beverage (F&B) industry. However, 1 in 4 F&B businesses in Singapore go out of business, many within only their first year of operations. Ranging from hawkers, to cafes, to high-end fine dining restaurants and even reputable Michelin stars restaurants are not spared.

Despite the many ready-made tech and software solutions supported by the Singapore government grants, it is still a highly demanding industry to be in. These are some of the major challenges faced by HR in Singapore’s F&B industry:

1. Casual Labour Management

One of the biggest challenges faced by HR in F&B businesses is casual labour management. The employment laws are stringent and ever-changing, making it difficult to hire, train and retain people. Hence, businesses turn to casual labour which allows them to adapt to constant changes, from changing staff, changing competition to changing expectations of customers.

Having a consolidated and unified solution will save precious time in planning the working schedule and payroll processing. F&B businesses can reduce their labour costs as well by having an accurate and statutory compliance labour management system. Employees are empowered at a click of a button to view and swap their working schedules, removing the tedious process of manual approvals. Managers are also able to make use of dashboard tools which can assist them on future labour forecasting.

Bad workforce management can lead to undesirable consequences such as poor employee engagement, lack of visibility, increased stress for managers, lost revenue, and reputation for the business. This eventually leads to low employee morale, which can lead to good talent leaving your company.

2. Systemising Processes

The hallmark of any good F&B business: every dish sent in front of the diner is ALWAYS delicious.

To CONSISTENTLY produce good-quality food & beverage offerings, standard operating procedures (SOPs) are extremely important. SOPs systemise the workflow for the workforce so that the recipe in the Head Chef’s head can be replicated dish after dish for diners’ enjoyment. Teaching SOPs is in fact part of new employee onboarding and upskilling.

SOPs are essential not only for the actual production of the dish, but also every other process in F&B operation. Be it health-and-safety processes, or customer service — how to arrange the napkins etc to be ‘on-brand’. In today’s COVID-normal, other important SOPs are the arrangement of seating to ensure safe distancing, disinfecting the outlet, as well as new procedures related to food delivery operations.

Traditionally, SOPs are detailed in hard copy and often filed in folders. This presented a few problems for F&B businesses:

1. Takes up precious space in typically cramped back-of-house setups.

2. Can get oily and grimy from day-to-day F&B ops

3. Gets outdated as SOPs change, and considerable effort is needed to update them.

A much better way is to have SOPs that are digital. This solves the 3 problems above, and it can now also be made available to every single staff in the outlet or restaurant. Staff can now access SOPs and other training material right on their smartphones.

Achieved efficiencies in time and cost can then be channelled towards improving the F&B business operations, and thrive in the competitive landscape.


Find out how Frontier e-HR solution will support you with the information on how to best staff your business during the busiest periods: https://www.frontier-ehr.com/

See how ArcLab can empower your F&B Business to digitise your SOPs and other training materials, fuss free: https://arclab.io/fh

Categories
How

The COVID-normal Retailer

The COVID-normal Retailer

Retailing in our COVID-normal | Photo by Arturo Rey on Unsplash

COVID-19 hit retailers hard last year.

Circuit Breakers / Movement Control Orders & lockdowns in general forced shops all over the world to close for a number of months. Post-lockdown — social distancing requirements and income uncertainty reduced discretionary purchases initially and impacted retailers’ takings at the till.

In Singapore, there was some temporary financial respite with retailers (excluding supermarkets) receiving the highest tier of salary support from the Government, coupled with a small rental rebate (which hopefully retailers received…). This helped to mitigate some costs.

However, recovery ultimately depends on demand and topline, to which there is considerable headwind:

  1. Retailers that rely on tourist traffic — Vaccinations have started globally, but there is no certainty when international leisure travel will resume.
  2. Heartland retailers — the accelerated push to digital has resulted in less footfall as ‘stay-at-home’ families embraced e-commerce — which was more convenient and posed less exposure risk at the height of the pandemic last year. This greatly benefitted the marketplaces like Shopee and Lazada, as well as e-commerce enablers like Shopify and POS providers, and the e-commerce habit has stuck, post-lockdowns.

Some retailers pivoted quickly and opened digital stores on above-marketplaces to capture a share of growing online spend.

But it also takes resources to stand out in a crowded marketplace, especially if the retailer’s brand equity is not strong. Which is probably a reason why part of the household handouts from the Singapore Government’s Budget 2021 was given in the form of CDC vouchers, which can only be spent in heartland shops (see graphic beneath).

Embracing e-(and m-)commerce is the only way forward for retailers.

For more tech-savvy retailers, the transition may not be all that hard. The Singapore Government has also offered a Digital Resilience Bonus to support retailers in making that change — through generous subsidies to adopt digital solutions.

On the ground, we find that many businesses do need a bit more than just the subsidy, especially if there was no digitalisation at all in the retailer pre-Covid. From basic things like how to operate a POS for cashless payments, and more involved endeavours like how to set up the e-commerce presence and link up inventory management and accounting, to working with delivery platforms and supply chain — all these require new processes and procedures, which need to be properly documented so staff can be trained and learn how to perform their transformed job roles in our COVID-normal.

An effective way is to set up Digital SOPs, which can be stored on the cloud and easily disseminated to staff across the retailers’ multiple branches, accessed on the staff’s smartphones.

Simple procedural 101s, ‘how-to’ guides which the retailer can easily set up, and serve as important references for staff. And if procedures change, just edit the information online, and it’s now current when staff next access.


The road ahead is uncertain for retailers, but the spirit of community remains important for us who grow up with ‘the shops’.

Yet it is important for our Retail Business Orders to acknowledge that the way forward is digital, and to get our workforce equipped with the knowledge to operate the retail business in the digital economy.

This is not the future, but is in fact the present.

Retailers — You can try ArcLab for Digital SOPs for free right here.