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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Kronos delivers The Co-operative workforce management savings

Friday February 24 2012

In 2009, The Co-operative was the only major UK food retailer without a system to automate payroll submissions and plan effective employee shift patterns. Time capture was manual, and processes for paying colleagues fairly and accurately were inefficient before deploying Kronos workforce management systems  

In 2009, The Co-operative was the only major UK food retailer without a system to automate payroll submissions and plan effective employee shift patterns. Time capture was manual, and processes for paying colleagues fairly and accurately were inefficient before deploying Kronos workforce management systems

 

“The system we used had no place in today’s competitive retail environment and we saw a huge opportunity to improve both the store process and to free up more time for serving customers’ needs,” explained Adrian Peace, development and productivity manager in The Co-operative Group Food Retail Operations division.

 

This situation provided the stimulus to review Food Retail Operations strategic workforce management (WFM) system, and the organisation took the opportunity to extend its “good with food” agenda to its most important resource – its people.

 

The result was the ‘Right for Us’ programme, a transformational change programme designed to help The Co-operative manage its staff and food outlets more efficiently and fairly and to bring a greater level of consistency to the way in which stores were managed and perceived by customers.

 

The programme would replace legacy workforce management applications with Kronos WFM, including automated time and data capture via biometric terminals and optimised scheduling.

 

In the same year, The Co-operative completed the programme to implement Kronos across its 2,400 stores and train 52,000 colleagues, enrolling them for biometric data capture.

 

Improving working practices

 

The project quickly highlighted inconsistencies in working practices around the organisation and there were some surprising findings. “We discovered examples of poor punctuality and that 20% of our employees were not working their contracted hours. For the first time we were able to calculate the real cost of running our stores,” said Peace.

 

“We’ve seen a number of additional benefits since the introduction of time and attendance, including a reduction in premium overtime by 3,500 hours per week, an improvement in punctuality by 5,000 hours per week, and the removal of 1 million pieces of paper from the administrative process,” he continued.

 

It was during the implementation phase that The Co-operative also announced its acquisition of Somerfield. Somerfield was already using Kronos for employee time capture and for optimising staff schedules – a project that had already achieved benefits for Somerfield, including a 41% reduction in absence levels, a £2.3-million reduction per annum in premium overtime payments and an increase in multi-skilled employees from 10% to 65% of all colleagues. However, the integration of the Somerfield estate was not a simple exercise. The companies had very different operating models, cultures and technology infrastructures.

 

Somerfield has now upgraded to the latest version of Kronos and completed its migration from SAP Human Resources (HR) and Payroll onto Oracle.

 

Deployment delivers benefits

 

Optimised scheduling is already in place for nearly 650 ex-Somerfield stores and the ‘Right for Us’ programme is now in its final phase – deploying forecasting and scheduling to the remainder of the Co-operative Food Group.

 

Optimising employee schedules in Kronos demands a detailed analysis of each store, from its opening hours and square footage to its trading environment. Optimisation then becomes a case of establishing supply and demand. On the supply side, colleagues are asked for their working hours preferences – critical for the scheduling system. Store data is then analysed, from store size and location to delivery schedules and availability of a forecourt. On the demand side, The Co-operative looks at historical sales data, marketing initiatives and time and motion data on how long each job takes.

 

Kronos integrates with a number of critical systems, including electronic point-of-sale (EPoS), Oracle HR and Payroll and the depot system in order to create the optimum staff schedule for each store.

 

“We had no scientific way of scheduling staff and our store managers would spend hours creating the weekly schedules,” Peace concluded. “Moving to Kronos optimised scheduling is a game-changing opportunity that will effectively match customer demand with the availability of our colleagues. We’re on track to see 100% ROI [return on investment] within one year of introducing the scheduling system.”