Dynamist Blog


Matt of Overtaken by Events writes:

I've been fascinated with the productivity reports ever since I was employed at Wal-Mart Stores and had the opportunity to attend a lunch with Warren Buffett. This may be anecdotal, but based on the scale, I think it's telling.

The company I work for now partners with several large hardware manufacturers to deliver IT rollouts for Wal-Mart. One of the current projects is a multi-million dollar installation of a wireless network into every store in the US for the sole purpose of making the checkout areas more efficient. If you've ever been in line and had to wait for someone to deliver change to the register, you know how much time it can take. When this project is complete, every checkout supervisor will have a PDA that will communicate directly with the register. When a cashier starts to run low on change, has to go to the bathroom or has virtually any other problem, there will be a specific code they enter that will page the PDA and tell the supervisor exactly what they need. No longer will the supervisor have to walk to the register, find out the problem and make another trip to resolve it. This may only save a few minutes at a time, but when you're talking about 100 million customers per week the productivity gains could be enormous.

As a bonus, this new system will also track each cashier, ensuring that breaks and lunches are taken at the appropriate times, going so far as to shut down a specific register if that person hasn't signed out. This could potentially help to shield the company from future labor lawsuits.

This is just one example from one company for whom I am working on multiple projects. I agree with you, though. I'm unlikely to read about this in the Post.

Keep those stories, positive and negative, coming. Thanks.

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