“Where Shopping meets Entertainment” is the slogan of the mall I work at. To keep up with our statement, the management works hard to ensure visitors overall satisfaction, present a new shopping and entertaining experience and to operate at full capacity during trading hours. To do so, extensive amount of work must be done after hours, after the last customer leaves the mall.
So what happens at midnight when the mall is closed? The answers would be: the mall becomes alive! Over 340 stores open their doors one more time to be cleaned, new inventory moved in, showcase items are replaced and mannequins are re-dressed. The mall’s Operation Team has to provide enough security members to ensure nothing is stolen from stores, they also issue work permits for external suppliers and cleaning companies as well as create a daily working schedule covering all the activities that will happen between midnight to 8am.
The real challenge..
Besides coordinating stores related activities, the Operation Team plays a huge role prior to launching new promotional campaigns along with other departments. This includes Marketing, Finance and Maintenance, as they have to plan and schedule setting-up and dismantling large promotional displays in less than 8 hours, also including the following tasks:
– Shipping the display items into the mall through loading bays, and providing proper transportation
– Replacing signage and banners around the mall, including banners hanging from the mall’s sealing 40 meters high.
– Monitor the storing of old display items and banners.
– Ensure all extra waste is removed and the mall is ready to open its door for visitors.
We learned in our last class about project scheduling and performing Critical Path analysis. I realized that our mall management uses the same analysis while planning campaign launches. As we will be working against the clock, the management creates a Backward Pass plan, beginning with the last event that is due at 8 am and working backwards. Time is always a priority in such projects, and if extra costs are needed to meet the 8 am deadline the management can only agree to pay.
Although the team spends over a month planning an 8 hour project with the suppliers and assembling company, there is always a chance for unexpected errors that might affect the project’s working path. It happened in several occasions that a supplier would discover in the middle of the working progress that there is a missing piece from the display, or banners need to be re-printed as they are in the wrong size. Solving such problems is not easy, as printing and production companies are closed, arranging extra staff is challenging and some decision makers will be in deep sleep at the time of these tragedies.
Fortunately, the mall management was able to solve such problems, bearing extra costs of course. The question is what can be done to prevent such problems and can this be done without additional costs?