4 ways in which better scheduling boosts retail operational efficiency
by Ged Scheuber, COO & Head of Product on Nov 23, 2020 • 3 mins read • Tags: retail, scheduling, productivity
Retail Scheduling & Operational Efficiency
The first step to productivity is efficiency. But so many businesses are held back by outdated processes and systems.
How can employee scheduling help? While it used to be simply a task on the to-do list of individual stores, today it’s a function that brings together a multitude of factors.
If anything, scheduling is the mathematical output of a number of environmental and internal performance factors of any business. No-one should be scheduling based on gut-feel and arbitrary hours any longer. Not since the rise of algorithmic technology. Today, we schedule based on factors such as budget, footfall, historic sales data, weather, and seasonality.
Better employee scheduling can help your business become super-efficient. How?
Reducing errors and minimising waste (of time and money)
Manual processes rely on people to cross-check for compliance - that includes payroll-to-hours-worked compliance, but also legal requirements like those set by the Working Time Regulations. If something goes wrong, for example if an employee is inaccurately paid, then at least three departments need to get involved: HR, Payroll/Finance, and Store Managers. That’s wasted time, and an incorrectly compensated, unhappy team member.
Data-driven scheduling automates all these cross-checks so that these errors don’t happen. The key here is in software integrations and automated conditional statements - essentially, a form of “if this then that”. If a team member is scheduled longer than legally permitted, then a notification pops up. The software won’t allow it. If a team member works 32 hours as confirmed by Time & Attendance functionalities in-app, then those 32 hours are directly submitted to the payroll system.
The result? Automated accuracy and enhanced compliance.
Spend time where it matters
Our research shows that that 35% of retail managers spend over 9 hours per week creating schedules. Managers are the most experienced team-members on your shop floor. Their time should be spent with customers and team members - not on complex mathematical problems. Especially not 9 hours per week. It’s like asking your finance manager to create a marketing banner.
With data-driven scheduling, the process takes minutes, leaving your most experienced team members free to focus on the bigger picture.
Simplified processes and communication
Scheduling used to be done in a one-to-many, top-down way - in fact it often still is. This lack of an interactive, online platform makes disseminating and editing rotas incredibly time and energy consuming.
Traditional planning methods impose a top-down hierarchy. Team members aren’t given the freedom to own their time, and all changes require shift managers to revisit the rota and fill in any gaps. The process takes time.
But with an interactive platform, things look a little more like this:
Employees have the ability to swap (and pick up) shifts on the platform directly (with set rules and authorisation processes in place) - any changes are updated immediately on the rota. What is more, employees are also able to input their preferred availability at their own convenience and that data, too, is immediately available to shift planners. All changes are controlled, compliant, non-time-consuming, and clearly communicated.
Perfectly allocate spend
Staffing should be data-informed, never gut-feel nor “because we’ve always done it this way”. Better staffing doesn’t just inform your team rotas. It helps you understand the customers you’re serving and create accurate business forecasts - ensuring your services and supply chains are ready for whatever fluctuation in demand might come.
Transforming the scheduling process helps you collect, collate, and structure your data in a way that helps you understand your entire business better. Creating rotas is a day-to-day task - and now with the help of data-science, it becomes a genuine competitive advantage.
Better employe scheduling isn’t really about cutting costs. It’s about saving time and money where possible, improving team happiness and engagement, and reinvesting where it most matters.
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