), Curiously, the U.S. retailer has not abandoned the country entirely. In Canada, the company succeeded in hiring people with the right personalities, but young staff received only a few weeks of training, according to former employees who worked at Target in both countries. There was no reason to think Target wouldn’t be able to pull this off. “It was terrible.” Target anticipated how awful it would be and designed the week to help keep employees sane. “When the numbers got up as high as they did, we found that pretty surprising,” says Mark Foote, the CEO of Zellers at the time. Sobeys introduced a version of SAP in 1996 and abandoned the effort by 2000. Hiring an external consultant would take too long, and it was impossible to expect the employees to do such a painstaking, arduous task and their regular jobs at the same time. The foot traffic in the early days was more than expected, which was encouraging, but it didn’t take long for consumers to start complaining on social media about empty shelves. “Nobody wanted to be the one person who stopped the Canadian venture,” says a former employee. Insufficient stocking was Target Canada’s single biggest headache. The process of determining which goods to send to these rented facilities was haphazard, making it difficult to track things down later. The grand opening of Target Canada was set to begin in one month, and Tony Fisher needed to know whether the company was actually ready. “We need to see improved financial performance from every Target store in Canada over time.”. What caused the Target Canada failure? There was another element at play, too. For a single product, such as a blender, there might be fields for the manufacturer, the model, the UPC, the dimensions, the weight, how many can fit into a case for shipping and so on. That didn’t happen.” Others contend Fisher’s schedule didn’t allow him to be as visible. There were more worrying signs in January. Finding an answer was tricky. “The company came together that week,” says a former employee. According to someone with knowledge of the forecasting process in Minneapolis, the company treated Canadian locations the same way they did operational stores in the U.S. and not as newcomers that would have to draw competitors away from rival retailers. Target was a careful, analytical and efficient organization with a highly admired corporate culture. But Steinhafel may have felt justified in making such a bold move. Launching the Target brand in a new country was his biggest task to date. This was the case with Target. “Sometimes even when we had the data correct, it got mixed up by the contractors in Target India,” says a former employee. The best that we have found is called MyUS. The mentality, according to one former employee, was, “If there’s any team in retail that can turn this thing around, it’s us.” The group was riding a wave of momentum, in fact. “For sure.”. Target believed the problems other retailers faced were due to errors in data conversion. “They wanted advice on how to cut apart not only a corpse but my corpse,” says a former employee. He had nothing left,” says a former employee. Getting the details from suppliers largely fell on the young merchandising assistants. That relationship proved fortuitous in late 2010, when Walmart approached him and offered to buy the Zellers chain from HBC. “These were people I’d hired. It’s very backwards.”, How Plasticity is hacking happiness to help companies work harder, Target owes its vendors $3.4 billion. Have you ever wanted to order something from the Target store and have it delivered to Canada? Their concern was that with severe supply chain problems and stores facing the prospect of patchy or empty shelves, Target would blow its first date with Canadian consumers. Fisher later resurfaced as a senior vice-president at a consumer health-care company also in Minneapolis. Target had initiated its international expansion last year, when it opened its first store in Canada. At Mississauga headquarters, employees were bracing themselves for a wave of layoffs and a massive number of store closings. St. Joseph Communications uses cookies for personalization, to customize its online advertisements, and for other purposes. Tensions grew between Morioka and Bryan Berg, the senior vice-president of stores, and both leaders’ direct reports attempted to sort out issues among themselves rather than involving their respective bosses. The system requires correct data to function properly and ensure products move as anticipated. At the very start, an untold number of mistakes were made, and the company spent months trying to recover from them. The rush to launch meant merchandisers were under pressure to enter information for roughly 75,000 different products into SAP according to a rigid implementation schedule. He’s probably one of the smartest people I’ve met,” says someone who worked with him closely. U.S. discount retailer Target Corp. is pulling out of Canada, shutting down 133 stores after nearly two years of disappointing results. “Not only have we brought that same Target brand experience,” he said, referring to the U.S., “but we’ve actually enhanced it and made it better.” Fisher sported a head of thick dark hair and could flash a camera-ready smile when he needed to. Former employees suggest that Retalix sold itself on its omnichannel capabilities, meaning it would be able to process payments on mobile devices. Baker realized there was more value to Zellers’ real estate than to the operation itself, since Walmart had soundly beaten the brand. Others weren’t so lucky. Target’s arrival was highly anticipated by consumers and feared by rival retailers. Steinhafel bought everything, essentially committing the company to opening stores as quickly as possible to avoid paying rent on stores that weren’t operational and leaving landlords without anchor tenants. “All these insane projects we were working on simply didn’t matter anymore,” says another former employee. Fisher, Target Canada’s president, was holding these meetings every day as the launch date crept closer. An astute deal maker, Baker and his team reached out to Target to stoke the company’s interest. There were even big plans for 2015, such as implementing online shopping at Target.ca. “Once you signed up to do 124 Zellers locations, it felt like there was a point where it’s like we have to assume sales will be good,” says the former employee. Shock permeated the building. Discussions dragged on for months. But the shipment might actually be configured differently—four larger boxes of 250 toothbrushes, for example. Cornell came to Canada that month to tour stores in Ontario. Young employees receive months of instruction and are paired with a mentor. “How can I or anyone purchase if there is nothing left for me to buy?” Target told the media that it was overwhelmed by demand and made assurances that it was improving the accuracy of product deliveries. Another was surprised to see how green his colleagues were. There's a new option: Canadians can buy goods from Target's international website and have them shipped to this country. " (It wasn’t until 2004 that the grocery chain tried again.) Discussion about marketing and when it was appropriate to invite the consumer back into the stores after making a terrible first impression intensified. But what emerged is a story of a company trapped by an overly ambitious launch schedule, an inexperienced leadership team expected to deal with the biggest crisis in the firm’s history, and a sophisticated retail giant felled by the most mundane, basic and embarrassing of errors. Target Canada would eventually learn what happens when inexperienced employees working under a tight timeline are expected to launch a retailer using technology that nobody—not even at the U.S. headquarters—really understood. A technology team was finally able to install an automatic verification feature to catch bad data before it could enter SAP and wreak havoc. The more experienced employees had the foresight to keep records of verified information (dubbed “sources of truth”), which made the task a little easier. If you want to shop for your favourite brands on their US online stores then registering with MyUS is the best decision you can make. As the situation worsened, he was frequently in meetings, participating in conference calls, visiting stores or flying to Minneapolis. Around Target’s first anniversary, the marketing team proposed an “apology” campaign of sorts—something to acknowledge that the company had learned a lot about Canadians during its year of operation, and that it was seeking to improve the shopping experience. The employees were weary and frustrated by this point. That deal started with Richard Baker, the executive chairman of Hudson’s Bay Co. The reality was that Target was still struggling with data quality problems that were hampering the supply chain, and it didn’t have time to address the root causes before opening another wave of stores. See reviews, photos, directions, phone numbers and more for Target locations in Ontario, CA. American expats, accustomed to the efficiency of the U.S. operations, were flabbergasted. corporate. “The company had never really failed before,” says a former employee who worked in both the U.S. and Canada. It was his last as Target CEO. Yet, Target chose to focus its expansion on growing its physical stores, not e-commerce, at a time when Canadians had long adopted smartphones, social … “That was the biggest mistake we could have made,” says the former employee. It wasn’t until Fisher got to know people that he warmed up. It weeded out the worst of the errors and forced Target Canada to realize the importance of accurate data. Postponement would mean pushing back even more store openings. It all hit the distribution centres at the same time, creating a severe bottleneck. The company had a much better handle on its technology, its data and the supply chain, and every day no longer felt like a crisis. Schindele was suddenly nowhere to be seen. John Morioka, Target’s head of merchandising, became emotional during meetings on more than one occasion. Open today: 7:00am - 10:00pm. How to Deliver Items from the Target Online Store to Canada Have you ever wondered whether that’s possible? In June 2014, however, Target Canada released its apology on YouTube, which featured employees and executives reflecting on the challenges of the first year and confessing to their sins. Target won’t ship any items to Canada, or anywhere else outside of the U.S. for that matter. In consequence, Target ordered too much product that first year. The company had also been learning more about using SAP correctly. That’s how Tony Fisher got his start—he joined the company as an analyst in 1999, after he was drafted by the Texas Rangers baseball organization and played for two years in the minor leagues. The cash terminals took unusually long to boot up and sometimes froze. A month prior, Target had disclosed a massive security breach in which hackers stole the personal information of 70 million customers in the U.S. The depots were hampered by other factors, caused by lingering data problems and the learning curve associated with the new systems. The former employees interviewed for this story requested anonymity to preserve relationships in the industry.) So that was horrible,” says the former employee. If an employee entered a UPC that was short one digit, for example, the system wouldn’t allow that purchase order to proceed until the code was correct. Sometimes, the issues concerned dimensions and quantities. As a result, that shipment wouldn’t exist within the distribution centre’s software and couldn’t be processed. The debacle cost the parent company billions of dollars, sullied its reputation and put roughly 17,600 people out of work. The technology was not set up to deal with a foreign country, and it would have to be customized to take into account the Canadian dollar and even French-language characters. Typically, this information is retrieved from vendors before Target employees put it into SAP. Allow me to explain. Items with long lead times coming from overseas were stalled—products weren’t fitting into shipping containers as expected, or tariff codes were missing or incomplete. It took a toll on personal lives as well. His LinkedIn profile simply lists him as a “retail professional.” (He did not respond to requests for comment. Why Target Canada collapsed has been endlessly dissected by analysts, pundits and journalists. Even those employees remain baffled by how Target Canada collapsed. (Another former employee disputes this: “Sometimes the quality of their work wasn’t so great, but for the most part they did a good job.”) In any event, uploading took longer than expected, and data week stretched into two. Baker’s greatest business insight was to recognize the value of the property developed by both his grandfather and father. It didn’t take long for Target to figure out the underlying cause of the breakdown: The data contained within the company’s supply chain software, which governs the movement of inventory, was riddled with flaws. It was considered a privilege to be recruited. The answer is… no. (Others dispute this characterization and say the impact of the mix-up was limited.). Although Baker is a retail executive, he is, at heart, a real estate man. A Target store in Brossard, Quebec. The company was having trouble moving products from its cavernous distribution centres and onto store shelves, which would leave Target outlets poorly stocked. A buyer might have 1,500 products and 50 to 80 fields to check for each one. “Nobody wanted to be the one to say, ‘This is a disaster,’” says a former employee. Fisher was not in favour of the idea, according to two former employees. Warehouse workers got so desperate to move shipments they would sometimes slice open a crate that was supposed to contain, say, a dozen boxes of paper towels but only had 10, stuff in two more boxes, tape it shut and send it to a store that way. Merchandise that made it to a distribution centre couldn’t be processed for shipping to a store. To receive international shipments from Target, you’ll need to have a physical U.S. address. Indeed, during December and January 2015, Target employees were beginning to feel like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. On March 4, 2013, Tony Fisher led a gaggle of reporters through a new Target location in Guelph, Ont. After running through the prepared script he was given, he broke down, crying. In February 2013, about a dozen senior-level employees gathered at the company’s Mississauga, Ont., headquarters to offer updates on the state of their departments. That data would be fed by SAP into Target’s other crucial systems: software to forecast demand for products and replenish stocks, and a separate program for managing the distribution centres. Some of the business analysts responsible for this function, however, were turning it off—purposely. tags. Merchandisers essentially had to confirm every data point for every product with their vendors. That meant store employees had to literally walk the floor and check each shelf—a laborious, error-laden process. "Target’s decision to exit Canada after less than two years of store operations is an admission that it has failed in its attempt to enter a new market," Moody's analyst Charlie O'Shea said. Timelines were hugely compressed. Target faced a choice: Was it better to extend that existing technology to Canada or buy a completely new, off-the-shelf system? Order Pickup. The Zellers sale provided just such an opportunity. After the regular rundown of crippling operational problems, the president still ended each gathering with a pep talk of sorts, reiterating how proud he was of the team and all they had accomplished. A decision had to be made. There were myriad typos. “It was a disaster.”, It was also something the company should have seen coming. Location, location, location. (The staff were also working against the countdown to opening.) Paralysis gripped the upper ranks in Canada, as executives had either disappeared in mysteriously long meetings or were busy speculating on what was going to happen. But it didn’t stand a chance if it couldn’t offer the basics that bring people back to stores. “We were bound to this one bad decision,” says a former employee. “They figured out how to game the system,” says a former employee. It was a disaster.”, Retail stores of the future will entertain first, and sell later, How Indigo plans to become the world’s first “cultural department store”, “We have to assume sales will be good. “The company was pouring in resources left, right and sideways, so it was palpably exciting in Minneapolis,” says a former employee. This address is where you’ll get the packages shipped to. It would get set aside in what was designated as the “problem area.” These sorts of hang-ups happen at any warehouse, but at Target Canada, they happened with alarming frequency. (Auto-replenishment wasn’t switched back on until later that year. Because of the leases, it had to move forward.”, The entire organization started to crack under the pressure. I’d impacted their lives. Target won’t ship any items to Canada, or anywhere else outside of the U.S. for that matter. The challenge was in acquiring enough real estate to make that possible. Sometimes a transaction would appear to complete, and the customer would leave the store—but the payment never actually went through. (He walked away with US$61 million in compensation.) Employees at all points along the supply chain were to ensure those items made it to stores and stayed in stock. Those companies were essentially taking information from their existing systems and translating it for SAP, a messy process in which it’s easy to make mistakes. Target has a unique, well-established corporate culture in the U.S., which the company views as one of the reasons for its success, and leaders sought to replicate that environment here. Rancho Cucamonga store details. “You had these people we hired, straight out of school, pressured to do this insane amount of data entry, and nobody told them it had to be right.” Worse, the company hadn’t built a safety net into SAP at this point; the system couldn’t notify users about data entry errors. The former employee says the meeting ultimately concerned much more than when to open the first few stores; it was about the entirety of Target’s Canadian launch. Like many other parts of retail, replenishment is an exacting science that can go haywire without correct data. Value to Zellers ’ real estate in new York City in 1932 and helped the... Awful it would be front and centre, give confidence and reinforce the direction incorrect price highly corporate. 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