Help! I am short staffed!

Task Unification is the SIT template which involves assigning an additional task to a component (person, item, product) who/that already has their own job to complete. By employing Task Unification properly, you can save a lot of time and resources, as well as solve a number of you problems.

Some examples of Task Unification are:

· Moving the garbage can over a few feet and assigning it the additional job of keeping a door open

· Branding your logo on a park bench – the bench was originally only used for sitting, now it is also a method of advertising

· Designing a baby’s pacifier with a built in thermometer, so not only does the pacifier calm your baby, it also takes his temperature when he feels warm

· Offering a home ec course right before lunch so that the students not only learn lifelong cooking skills, but also serve as your catering staff

One great way to practice using the task unification method is to engage in the following activity and ask yourselves – “How do we get customers to stay in a grocery store for longer?“ We all know that the more time a customer spends in a store, the more likely he is to purchase. Let’s see if we can come up with some creative ways to do so.

Start by listing the components of a supermarket. Below I will list only a few.

1. Carts

2. Registers

3. Shelves

4. Aisles

5. Floors

6. Shopping bags

7. Bathrooms

Continue by picking an item from the list and asking yourself how it can take on an additional job of keeping customers in the store for longer. For example, if I select the bathrooms, I can think creatively and suggest that I turn them into a advertising space for the store’s products, to distribute extra coupons, or even a place where the customers can sign up for a store credit card. If I select the registers, I can create them to push out coupons that need to be spent immediately – the customer would need to ask the cashier to wait and then they would go back to the aisles to grab some more product.

This activity can obviously go on for a while, but I think it is clear that is has a lot of potential to maximize your use of staff, content and your merchandise. By using the Task Unification method, one can find yet another opportunity to conserve resources of any size.

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