Retailers: Come out of the Dark Ages When it Comes to Labor Allocation and Scheduling
A recent survey of retailers shows that when it comes to consistently and efficiently executing their go-to-market strategies, including omni-channel, the highest value — but lowest ability of stores to execute — is in accurate labor allocation and scheduling.
A recent survey from RIS News asks retailers about their biggest challenges in executing their go-to-market strategies. By “go-to-market,” the survey asks how well retailers execute customer service, promotional/merchandising, and omni-channel brand promises. As I mentioned in my previous blog, the top challenges retailers cited were too many siloed systems, difficulty responding to last-minute issues like order changes and out-of-stocks, and use of manual, error-prone tools and no mobile devices in the hands of associates.
But today I want to hone in on something that was mentioned briefly in my last post on the topic of labor allocation and scheduling. When retailers were asked to give the highest value and then rate ability of stores to execute, the biggest discrepancy was in accurate labor allocation and scheduling.
I find it astonishing that the biggest gap in terms of how high retailers value a process compared to how well stores execute that process is in the aligning assigning sales floor coverage with customer demand — both in-store customer facing and omni-channel. Why? Because a solutions is available, and has been for almost a decade, that does just that.
Reflexis provides a platform of task management and labor scheduling software that enables retailers to plan, allocate/schedule labor, and ensure consistent execution of all work that needs to be done in stores: daily, customer service, corporate-driven tasks like promotions, and omni-channel. Retailers in specialty, grocery, big box, and other categories have already implemented it.
A newer capability of the Reflexis platform is integration with order management systems (OMS), which provide network-wide product visibility and assign omni-channel orders to the best location to fulfill it based on shipping costs and inventory availability. Combined with Reflexis, when the OMS sends an order to a store, the StorePulse real-time store execution solution assigns it to the best qualified associate to fulfill. It can even tell the OMS if store labor is overloaded or inventory is low — another store in the same zip code or area is better suited to fulfill the order.
So how do your stores schedule labor? Do you rely on store managers’ intuition and hope they can schedule labor to take into account all the work to be done, while complying with labor laws and hitting labor spend goals? Are your store managers spending hours per week on this one task when they could be out on the sales floor helping customers and coaching associates? If so, how’s that working for you?
Based on the comments of your peers, that’s not working out too well.