Executive Perspective: Continuing Education
by Charles Owen, Chief Experience Officer | April 27, 2021
As our Chief Experience Officer, it’s probably not hard to guess that I speak to our clients daily. One of the recurring themes I hear, is many of you want to learn how to maximize your efficiencies because you’re busier than ever and working with reduced staffing due to the pandemic. You essentially want to do more with less.
These conversations normally begin with a request for a new feature to improve store productivity. After listening to the requests, I can often say “Paladin already does that.” Then I explain how to easily trim anywhere from minutes to hours off a weekly task list just by using Paladin as designed. Many of the folks I talk to can make their lives better and their businesses more efficient just by dedicating some time to continuing education.
I recently hosted a Paladin University webinar titled “Keeping Up with Evolving Technology.” In it, I stressed that purchasing retail hardware and software is only the first step in improving your business. Learning how to proficiently operate it, takes more than just going through setup training. You don’t learn by osmosis. You don’t become an expert fly fisherman by reading a book. It takes a lot of practicing technique and learning which flies work best on which rivers and which fish. And it takes years of experience.
Luckily for our clients, we maintain a vast cache of continuing educational materials. Knowledgebase articles and webinars explain the details of just about everything Paladin does. I say “just about” because technology is a lot like those rivers and streams our fly fisherman visits. Like technology, they’re constantly changing – evolving. So, we’re constantly refining Paladin and regularly pushing out new updates which require some study.
The pandemic has added some challenges for many of you. Most hardware and LBM businesses are busier than ever. Studies show that the average hardware store experienced roughly a 20% increase in business last year. That trend doesn’t look to be slowing much in 2021. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that much of the retail industry is serving additional customers with fewer employees and supply chains that are still struggling to fill orders. Hardware stores are regularly dealing with only about 50% to 60% fulfillment rates.
Just recently, I spoke with one of our store owners in Michigan who was experiencing both of those scenarios. He is busy, having a hard time finding employees, and spending too much time filtering through his supplier’s out-of-stock merchandise to put his orders together. He called wondering if there was a way Paladin could help – suggesting we build a new feature.
It was an easy fix and there was no need to add a new feature. I told him Paladin’s ability to see stock-on-hand at his supplier’s regional distribution center and its ability to easily eliminate the out-of-stock products would shave hours off the time he was wasting putting together an order. He was just unaware of Paladin’s capabilities and how they can help stores save time, energy and money. Using our Suggested Order™ and Order Analyst™ can shave time and effort off any order. Just by using these features gives him more time to be out in the store working with his employees and customers. And that is just one way Paladin can simplify your business. Learning these details is just a matter of continuing education.
Paladin is an amazing tool if it is fully utilized, but it takes a commitment to thoroughly learn its capabilities and put them to use. It’s easy to use and learn. That helps your employees become proficient more quickly, and that improves customer service, too.
Don’t be one of those store owners that calls asking for a new feature only to learn that it’s been available for years. Many of the new features added to Paladin, need to be activated with a switch. If the switch isn’t activated, then you don’t take advantage of the features. The resources to find and learn about these features are out there and easily available.
Our Help portal has all the information you need. One way is to view the Paladin University webinars, conducted about every three weeks and recorded for your convenience. One important webinar is on the new Paladin updates. These webinars offer insight on how to harness and optimize the power of Paladin. You just need to dedicate some time to continuing your education to learn which features and integrations work best for you. As always, you can reach out to Paladin support when you have questions.