It is a pleasure to share a series of articles about the management of each section or department that is part of any supermarket. In this first installment, we will talk about managing one of the most essential departments in our stores, the Produce Section.
The Produce Section in most supermarkets is located right at the store’s entrance.
In addition to being a significant part of daily sales, the Produce Section should always present a clean and colorful image coupled with a fusion of aromas that is pleasing to customers.
To achieve this image and presentation, the stores must execute a series of processes that can never fall into oblivion nor let them pass a single day or hour.
Among all of them, we are going to highlight the following:
These are the three most important steps of each day. Besides the Section Manager, the Store Manager must participate in the opening process.
The opening process involves a review before opening the store, verifying that the entire section is ready and prepared.
The merchandise must be on the shelves. Damaged products must be removed from the sales floor, and the floor must remain free of fruit or vegetable waste.
In the process of shift change, the associates of the Produce Section who are leaving will be handing over the section properly placed, clean, and tidy to the associates who join in the afternoon shift.
The Section Manager and the Store Manager will also supervise this operation.
The closing-opening process takes place at night. After closing the doors to customers, a general cleaning must occur, and all products unsuitable for sale the following day are removed.
At the same time, when it comes to products that are not ultra-perishable, such as groceries, potatoes, and onions, which we have in stock, they are left ready on the shelves to facilitate the next day’s opening process.
Correct Rotation of Fresh Produce
Every time the shelves are filled with new merchandise, the associates in charge of the section will rotate them, consistently placing the newest products underneath and those that were already on the racks (as long as they are not less mature than the new ones) putting them at the top within reach of our customers.
Ensure each product has its correct signage and updated price (this should be done daily by the Section Manager).
As we deal with cold or frozen products, the price signs often get damaged, so the presentation in which we show our customers the prices is also essential.
Cleaning and Storage
Storage in the refrigerators or the supermarket warehouse is also critical. Storage boxes must be clean and undamaged (no breakage, rust, etc.), avoiding wood, as it is a material that can generate chemical contamination.
Fruit storage should be kept away from the walls and floor, preferably on elevated pallets.
Temperature and humidity are vital factors for good storage. It is necessary to have indicators to monitor them quickly and constantly.
Over-storage directly affects the fruit. It happens when too much is stored in a limited space.
In addition to the transmission of diseases from affected fruits to healthy ones, overcrowding can lead to the appearance of infestations.
The daily cleaning plan must be detailed by the hour, perfectly documented, filed, and supervised by the person in charge of the Produce Section and the Store Manager.
Customer Service for the Produce Section
Last but not least is the attention the Produce Section offers to all customers.
It is important to anticipate any doubt or information they may need, even helping them select products according to what they want to prepare at home (this would be complemented with internal training courses for all associates).
We must also remember that all associates must be neatly dressed in uniform and clean to complete this whole equation of having a Produce Section in optimal conditions, making a big difference for them to choose your supermarket and not that of the competition.
These are the main points in the daily management of a Produce Section in its operational version. In the following columns, we will provide details of the Produce Section’s critical issues for good administrative management (orders, negotiation, marketing).