- 31 May 2011
A Day in the Life of Store Operations Analyst Luke Chadwick
Ellie: For the next ‘Day in the Life of’ interview, I’m about to speak to Store Operations Analyst Luke Chadwick, another member of the team who joined us from Aurora Fashions. How long have you worked for Retail Assist now Luke?
Luke: I’ve worked for Retail Assist since the IT department was outsourced by Aurora Fashions in February 2011. I joined Aurora in my current role as a Store Operations Analyst on June 7th 2010 so I’m pretty new to the company. This is my first IT related role. Before joining Aurora/Retail Assist I worked for HSBC on the Executive Management Graduate Scheme but decided banking wasn’t for me and began to look for a new career path. I am good friends with Chris Coggins (who works in the Store Development Team) and when I moved home he told me of a vacancy at his work, it sounded interesting and I like to learn new things, I applied and here I am!
Ellie; So is there such a thing as a ‘typical’ day at work for you at Retail Assist?
Luke: Depending on whether I’m on an early (8 – 4.30) or a late (9 – 5.30) depends on how my day starts. Usually it’s an early shift (3 weeks out of 4) and so I get in and perform some of the morning tasks like checking the intranet, doing the credit card checks to make sure transactions have processed correctly and other system checks. Then I’d move on to performing Sales Audit checks for a brand or two, making sure that all stores have polled correctly for the previous days sales and rectifying any data that’s rejected or finding any data that’s missing. Once this is complete, (which can take anywhere from an hour on a good day to all day on a bad one!) I look at my work load, RSD calls and store work, to see which needs prioritizing. If I have a new store opening or any engineers attending store to re-install or re-locate systems then this work takes precedence. I liaise with engineers to ensure systems are installed/re-installed, tested and that the store manager is happy. RSD calls form the other part of the role and as I’m sure everyone knows, the volume and nature of these varies from day to day. As a team we try to maintain the calls so that most are resolved on the day they come in; although a number of factors determine whether this is achievable or not. The last part of my day usually involves any ad hoc work that we are involved in. The nature of the job means there is always something slightly out of the typical day that needs working on. It’s this variety that I enjoy.
Ellie: You just mentioned the enjoying the variety of your role, but what else makes your job enjoyable?
Luke: For me, the thing that makes any job enjoyable is the people you work with. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great people in the jobs I’ve had and this one is no different. The Store Operations Team has a good mix of people and we have a lot of fun at the same time as getting the work done. The wider team in the office is as varied and the interaction with them is just as good. The dynamic in the office works well, I think people get along well and there is little, if any, friction which makes for a great working environment.
In terms of the job itself, I love learning new things and the role has given me a good insight into some aspects of retail IT systems. There is always something new which pops up or a problem that presents itself in a different way and working out how to solve these makes the role very interesting.
Ellie: So with all these new experiences, what aspects of your role have you found most challenging?
Luke: There are two areas of the role which are quite challenging. The first is on the stores side; mainly the international stores. It is very difficult at times to obtain information from the brands project/country managers abroad. It is also difficult to press the urgency of getting things done and having the required information in a timely manner. This causes difficulty as it has a knock on effect when opening new stores e.g. if we don’t receive comms information on time then we can’t establish a connection to the store or if we don’t have a CAPEX number then we can’t order kit (which there is an 8 week lead time on).
The second is a more general challenge. Because of the variety of work that we undertake, it is quite difficult to juggle your time to ensure that the most urgent thing is addressed first. Sometimes there is store work, urgent calls and other things that need picking up all at the same time. This is a challenge in any job but as we are working on both stores all RSD calls, one has to take priority over the other at times. However, as a team we are generally good at helping each other out where this is the case.
Ellie: My final question is what previous experiences helped prepare you for your role – I know you briefly touched upon your position at HSBC earlier on in the interview?
Luke: Although banking wasn’t for me in the end, the experience I gained there was invaluable. As it was the banks most prestigious graduate scheme they ploughed a lot of money into development of their people. I spent an intensive month living at their training college in St Albans with 60 other people from all over the world learning different skills from communication and teamwork to leadership and negotiation. The tasks we undertook to learn these skills ranged from running a kitchen at a gourmet restaurant to undertaking the same training as newly recruited firemen. The month culminated in the presentation of a project we had undertaken alongside all of the other work to the bank’s chairmen Stephen Green. All of these experiences will stay with me for life and provided a good basis of skills and competencies, which are important for any role, from which to build on.
Ellie: That does sound like an amazing experience – thank you for your time Luke. If anybody reading this would like more information about the numerous retail brands that Retail Assist engages with, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.