WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Shaw's Supermarkets here has completed a rollout of new labor standards for its floral department, Wild Harvest natural food shop, and LaCarte freshly prepared-foods department across its more than 200 stores.
The new standards, used in conjunction with forecasting and scheduling software from Kronos, have made it possible to "accurately allocate hours in order to maximize customer service, while ensuring that our associates are efficiently scheduled," said Kevin Morrison, manager of store labor and process improvement, Shaw's. "Getting the right people in the right place at the right time is a high priority for Shaw's."
The labor standards were developed by Labor Solutions International (LSI), Sandy, Utah, which also reviewed and validated standards in the checkout, grocery, and receiving departments.
"Shaw's is using engineered labor standards, forecasting and scheduling in more store departments than most grocers," said Jay Hemby, vice president of engineering, LSI.
LSI uses a system called RetailEASE to establish how much time a particular task in a department should take. RetailEASE breaks down each task into smaller steps and employs a database of time studies to build a labor standard for the overall task. Each task is described in detail, documented, video-taped, and filtered through the RetailEASE tool.
While LSI completed its part of the project last summer, Shaw's required additional work and finally rolled out the revamped scheduling three months ago, said Morrison. Recent results were unavailable.
"Our main goal in this project was to ensure high levels of customer service, while at the same time avoiding unnecessary expenses," said Dave Caruso, Shaw's director of store support.
LSI's other clients in food retailing include Meijer, Winn-Dixie and Albertsons. LSI said the standards used by Shaw's were in the top tier of supermarket chains. "It was nice to see that we compared well to our competitors," Morrison said.
Cost and ROI information were not available, but Morrison noted, "Our investment in developing accurate labor standards has definitely improved our ability to provide excellent customer service." Shaw's has rolled out the program successfully with "no challenges," he added.
Shaw's has used several different labor scheduling software packages over the past 25 years. It has upgraded and customized its software to continue meeting customer service expectations, Morrison said.