HASTINGS, Mich. -- G&R Felpausch Co. here is taking a proactive approach to cutting shrink and improving efficiency at the front end with a software application that analyzes cashier performance based on data compiled at the point-of-sale.
The cashier-monitoring system went live in all 18 Felpausch stores Jan. 26, following a one-store test that ran for eight weeks. The system will allow Felpausch to monitor which cashiers are causing excessive cash-handling errors and front-end losses due to sliding, errors in scanning, coupon misredemption or register voids.
"The software collects item movement data at POS and does a statistical analysis of the information, as it fits into 40 categories, to examine shrink taking place at the front end," said Mike Hubert, vice president of management information systems for Felpausch.
An additional module eliminates the need for each individual cashier to balance a cash drawer at the end of a shift. Felpausch estimates this change will cut 15 minutes out of the shift change process and keep more checkout lanes open.
Felpausch expects this lane accountability module to improve cashier productivity and accuracy, by alerting managers to shortages and overages charged to specific associates. The module will track the activity of each store lane, rather than specific cashier drawers, over three-, six-, nine- and 12-week periods.
"The new system allows multiple cashiers to check groceries on the same lane, using the same drawer without losing accountability," Hubert explained. "This [application] will let us monitor 12 lanes instead of 60 cash drawers."
With this software module, cashiers no longer sign in and receive their own cash drawers. Typically, upon completion of the cashier's shift, a bookkeeper would count out the contents of each cashier's drawer for excesses or shortages of cash.
Cashiers still sign on to the POS with their specific cashier identification number, but the application monitors each cashier's performance based on voids, "no sale" transactions, errors and even low tender time per customer.
In addition to tracking shrink at the front end, the software modules will help Felpausch improve customer service because the application will eliminate inactive checkout lanes, said Hubert.
"This will cut 15 minutes out of the shift-change process because now cashiers will not shut down a lane at the end of a shift. They will simply sign off and another cashier will sign on at the same POS," he explained. "This will also cut our bookkeeping hours in half since the [bookkeepers] no longer need to count out each individual drawer following the completion of a shift."
Though he did not give specific figures, Hubert expects to see an increase in profits, sales and productivity through the use of the Shrink Trax and Lane Trax software, provided by Trax Software, Centerville, Ohio.
By spring, Felpausch expects to take the technology one step further through the rollout of a third module, Host Trax. Use of this program will bring accountability to the corporate level by allowing comparisons of cashier productivity and performance between stores.