General Company Information
Plant Maintenance Policy
Ergonomics, Health & Safety
General Company Information
In 1984, Brian Hill opened an upscale women’s clothing boutique inside the 70-year-old department store his family owned in Vancouver, British Columbia. Aritzia has since grown to include several physical locations throughout North America as well as an international e-commerce site that ships to more than 220 countries (see figure 1). The Aritzia location at the Vaughan Mills Mall is over 10,000 square feet and currently employs approximately 60 people. According to Janet Chau, the store manager, each store location has a small office and the primary support offices, warehouse and distribution centers are located in Vancouver and Burnaby, British Columbia.
Aritzia is an innovative design house and fashion boutique offering unique, quality products for women (see figure 2). Aritzia carries exclusive in-house brands such as Wilfred, Wilfred Free, Le Fou by Wilfred, Babaton, The Group by Babaton, 1-01 Babaton, Tna, Golden by Tna, Community, Talula, Auxiliary. They also partner with other well-known clothing brands to curate an eclectic array of fashionable items from Mackage, Nike, Adidas, Citizens of Humanity, Rag & Bone, Levi’s, AG Jeans, AGOLDE, Frame, J Brand, Alpha Industries, Herschel, PUMA, Calvin Klein, Ray-Ban, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Garrett Leight, C4 Eyewear, FALKE and Wolford.
Along with providing premium clothing, Aritzia also values the customer experience. They have adopted the tagline “Nowhere to go but everywhere” and also use the hashtag “#NowhereEverywhere” in their advertising. The company does not just sell clothing, they also seek to offer a unique, fun shopping adventure. They try to separate themselves from the competition through a combination of curated brands, original designs and personalized shopping experiences.
In order to provide an informed and customized shopping experience, Aritzia schedules their employees based on performance. The scheduling technique used by Aritzia is based on sales per hour (SPH). Most regular store employees are not paid on commission, but are required to meet an SPH quota. The higher an employee’s SPH is, the more often they are scheduled. One of the reasons for Aritzia’s success is that their employees are expected to be knowledgeable about their customers and focus on providing a complete shopping experience. They staff a vast array of individuals who are there to get to know customers better so they can help zero-in their personal styles. Employees can choose to be either part-time or full-time depending on their availability.
Each Aritzia location is designed independently and has a different layout (see figure 3). The clothes are placed along the walls on racks and each section is blocked off with mirrors on the dividing walls. In the middle of each clothing section there are tables featuring accessories such as scarves, socks and sweaters (see figure 4). The cashier table is placed right in the centre of the store and is a square shape with a small opening for employees to walk through. There are computers on each side of the center cashier section, as well as smaller tables offering other accessories. The fitting rooms are located at the back of the store and there is a computer system at the entrance as well. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Currently, Aritzia is using an inventory control system called Apropos to manage their sales in physical locations as well as online. They adopted the system in 2007 when their growth required an enterprise-level management model. As they expanded throughout North America and online, Aritzia needed to expand their inventory control measures as well. (Schick, 2007). This inventory control system helps Aritzia achieve their objective of upholding levels of customer service while controlling inventory costs. Apropos allows the company to track inventory levels of various items or SKU’s over all stores within Canada. This allows for staff to provide customers with expanded services that reach beyond single facility. By allowing transfers or item checks from other stores, this system minimizes the loss of sales due to not having the right product in the right place at the right time. Aritzia is currently satisfied with their inventory control system, but they are planning to corporately switch to a new system by the end of 2017.
There are two main types of quality control measures in place at Aritzia. First, there is quality control for the products that they provide. To ensure the product is kept dry, clean and in new condition, the product is shipped and transported in sealed boxes. Furthermore, within these boxes, the product is wrapped individually and sealed (see figure 5). Zippers and bags are always covered in tissue paper to prevent scratches or scuffs during the shipping process. This prevents damage to the product while being shipped from the suppliers to warehouses and stores.
Quality control is also in place for the services that Aritzia provides at the store level. This is displayed through the use of key performance indicators (KPIs) and control charts. Aritzia uses KPIs like sales per hour, average dollars per transaction and units per transaction to help identify and set standards for a minimum quality of service. Employees who perform well based on the KPIs are rewarded in various ways. Along with better scheduling options, high performers may receive other bonuses in the form of cash or store discounts. KPIs are tracked using control charts and other analytical methods each week. Sales associates are updated weekly on their performance, using the KPIs to identify trends as well as strengths and weaknesses.
Aritzia approaches maintenance from the preventative angle as well as the “fix it when it breaks” model. Their Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) tracks maintenance schedules for all equipment at all levels. On the store level, upper level management is alerted when maintenance should be scheduled or is needed. The system also allows staff to request maintenance for other facilitation items within the store.
In order to avoid unexpected maintenance issues, Aritzia has several proactive procedures in place. Lighting in the store is set on a timer and every morning a walkthrough is performed to check for any non-working lights. A cleaning service is employed twice weekly to maintain the store and a schedule is also in place to replace items before the end of their life cycles.
The Vaughan Mills Mall location has a set of security measures in place including a door alarm and magnetic security tags. Security is increased on weekends and during other predetermined busy times. An Ontario Health and Safety Committee member conducts health and safety walkthroughs in the store once a month to ensure standards are met. The inspector checks to be sure that the fire extinguisher has been maintained in the last year and that all staff are trained how to use it. Fire exits and ladders are checked to be sure they are in working order and have sufficient clearance. The inspection also includes ensuring the mall security number is entered into all phone directories.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Ergonomics, Health & Safety
Aritzia has many measures in place to ensure the safety and comfort of their employees. The cash desk, receiving area and other frequently used work areas are provided with high levels of lighting and equipped with anti-fatigue mats. Boxes are stacked to a specific height to prevent workers from straining themselves during shipping and receiving procedures. Computer screens at checkout stations and rolling racks are adjustable for employees of different heights. Anti-glare screen protectors are installed to protect employees’ eyes from strain.
There were some interesting things we learned from the tour. Aritzia has plans to further expand and become a worldwide, brand-propelling retailer. We learned how Aritzia has recently become a public company after decades of expanding as a privately-owned company. As part of their expansion they also started their e-commerce international shipping. To allow their brand to grow beyond the borders of North America, they are constantly opening new stores. Just this year, five new Aritzia locations were opening.
One of the positive aspects of Aritzia is that they highly value the quality of their products and services. Much mentoring and informal training is done daily to help employees meet customers’ needs. The staff are very friendly and quick to help on another out as well as the customers.
To improve Aritzia, better communication is needed between the HR department, workforce planning department and management at the store level. There are scheduling needs at the ground floor that are not being met by workforce planning. More hours and staff are needed to fulfill these needs, showing a disconnection between upper management and store-level workers. This lack of communication results in missed service opportunities, missed sales and more work for store staff. By improving the communication between human resources and store management, much employee stress and fatigue could be avoided.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Schick, S. (2007, November 8). Aritzia dresses up in SAP retail software.