A Disconnect With Store-Level Reality?


Franchisees dread the “Ivory Tower” syndrome that seems to permeate 7-Eleven, Inc. (SEI). The latest example showing how removed corporate is from our store-level reality was the Thanksgiving Holiday McLane ordering and delivery schedule. SEI made the unilateral decision to have its franchise stores receive a single McLane delivery Thanksgiving week. This was communicated via email on 7Hub. It also informed franchisees that all categories were orderable every order cycle through the New Year.

What was not communicated was that a few select stores would receive two deliveries the week of Thanksgiving, but the second delivery would be delayed 24 hours. So franchisees had their order writers make their normally scheduled orders, not knowing that the second cycle order windows would never open.

As a result, order writers were left standing around while franchisees and their store managers made frantic phone calls to field consultants and the Help Desk to find out why the order categories never populated. The Transmit/Delivery schedule in the ISP was printed and double-checked, but it showed the normal McLane order window and transmit time, as well as the normal second McLane delivery day. Finally, word came from the field consultant that the decision was made in Dallas to have McLane deliver the identical order from the second order the previous week!

There is not any business in any sector that orders the identical product assortment two weeks in a row! Many items are only ordered once a month or less frequently, and when items are over-ordered or under-ordered it’s due to forecasting mistakes. In our case, the order delivered the prior week included many Thanksgiving items not needed to be delivered again, and will result in excessive out of date products in the foreseeable future.

Additionally, because there was no order written, the McLane order could not be checked in using the vaunted normal Business Transformation process. Instead, every single item had to be scanned and the perpetual inventory had to be corrected using the Balance on Hand adjustment process—a thankless task adding many hours for the freight personnel to put away the order, costing every franchisee hundreds of dollars. But don’t worry; SEI does not share in franchisee payroll expenses.

An arbitrary decision to duplicate a previous order is extremely shortsighted. One has to wonder what real world in-store experience was gleaned to come to the conclusion that this could ever be a good idea. But don’t worry; it didn’t cost SEI a dime!