Manning Modern Retailing 2013 – Productivity & Progress

An effective platform for convergence between retailers, retail education institutes, and government –  Manning Modern Retailing (MMR)  has always been about developing ideas & resource capabilities.  The 2013 edition themed on “Productivity and Progress:” Storai explores.

The growth story of Indian Retail is well documented – but growth has come at the price of scarcity of Talent.  2011-13 has provided a window of consolidation – retailers have focussed on efficiency – and have used this time to strengthen internal processes including people management processes.

This year MMR provided the Retail Industry with an academic “twist” – the event explored how using standards to create careers in retail can help broad base growth.

The central theme of MMR was “Setting Standards for Productivity Enhancement & Career Progress”. 

Any industry that creates career graphs based on standards attracts better talent.  Thus, MMR this year created a forum that had multiple stakeholders – Thought Leaders, CEOs, CPOs (Chief People Officers) , Operating Managers, Academia and Skill providers/partners who brain stormed and discussed standards for productivity enhancement and career progress.

Retail in India has enormous prospects but also faces optimisation and profitability challenges. Scale has come at the price of efficiency which has affected productivity.  The current  people management challenge in the industry is about aligning – the owner/ shareholder’s need for profitability with the employee’s need for meaningful personal growth.

The sessions at MMR 2013 identified and deliberated upon the productivity tools that Retail Industry can use, depicted the ways of standardisation, and exchange interesting insights with business leaders on career progression of the employees.


Conference Highlights

The 7th Edition of RAI’s annual HR Conclave began with, Jamshed S. Daboo, CEO, Trent Hypermarket Ltd. Delivering  the welcome address.

“Modern Retail in India is relatively nascent. It’s come into being by adapting the western practices in the absence of any other benchmark. In my view this was a mistake.  Their model is based on part-time, student recruitees – not suitable to the demanding, service hungry Indian consumer. If you go to a traditional saree shop today, you will find that the sales staff there knows both product and sales. They may not be perfectly groomed but they can sell.   This disconnect in terms of quality of front end talent between traditional and modern retail is because, in our quest for scale we used process to substitute for people focussed nurturing.

This is the first paradigm shift that we need to work on, if we want talent to develop.

Our second mistake is that we have not positioned Modern Retail as a destination career for the front end staff.  So there is a disconnect between the ‘detached ’ front end employee and the service hungry, demanding consumer.    If you dumb down the job you are not going to get the smartest people. To address this we need enhance the desirability of the job, make it attractive, and make it a meaningful job. We need to have less people doing more meaningful work.”

Panel Discussion Synopsis

Setting Standards for Productivity Enhancement & Career Progress











Role of HR department in Retail companies does the line manger get value?


Importance of an Associate to Deliver Customer Satisfaction & Shareholder Value


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Retailers Association of India (RAI) is the unified voice of Indian retailers. RAI is a not for profit organization (registered under section 25 of Companies Act, 1956), works with all the stakeholders for creating the right environment for the growth of the modern retail industry in India. RAI is the body that encourages, develops, facilitates and supports retailers to become modern and adopt best practices that will delight customers. RAI has a three charter aim of Retail Development, Facilitation and Propagation.