Labour Costs Down - Customer Service Up with ComOps' WorkForce Management
25,000 STAFF -190 STORES
ComOps WFM delivers a robust roster creation and budgeting tool, allowing Kmart to drive enhanced cost efficiencies while improving the level of customer service and employee satisfaction.
Since the first Kmart store opened in Victoria in 1969, Kmart has become one of Australia’s largest and most iconic retailers. With more than 25,000 employees, spread over 190 stores in Australia and New Zealand, Kmart operates a big box general merchandise model, selling everything from clothing, cosmetics, sporting goods, toys, appliances and photo centres. With annual revenue now exceeding AUD$4 billion annually, Kmart continues to invest heavily in new innovations and store formats. 10% of stores now operate 24 hours per day, self-service payment is available in all stores, and in-store payment is a more recent innovation.
Despite serving more than 2.5 million customers per week and enjoying continued compounded annual growth, Kmart operates in a highly competitive market and hence must continually look for ways to improve business processes and efficiencies.
Kmart’s incumbent workforce management software (WFM) solution, while meeting business requirements was beginning to age. An increase in the number and complexity of awards operating across the business, a highly mobile workforce, and the availability of web-enabled technologies were the impetus for Kmart to go back out to the market to look for a new workforce management solution.
As part of its business improvement strategy, Kmart had developed an in-house tool to assist in forecasting sales volume and labour demand. The new WFM product would need to import this information and ensure store managers could create future rosters while adhering to recommended coverage and budgets.
The new solution would also need to incorporate a range of industry awards operating in stores in every State and Territory in Australia, including New Zealand, as well as Distribution Centres and other business units. The accuracy of the award calculations would be paramount to the success of any vendor, as manual adjustments of pay rules across such a large workforce were not only costly but also carried an unacceptable level of risk.
ComOps would need to deliver a solution with minimal disruption to the Kmart business, which operates in a high volume, low margin environment, often around the clock and across a vast geographic area. The solution would need to incorporate a range of external business drivers, ensure a robust and accurate award engine, but most importantly the solution would need to demonstrate and deliver real cost and time savings. Introducing web-technology and employee self-service (ESS) for the first time, would also present a real challenge in managing the change within the business as 25,000+ employees would begin for the first time to engage with the new WFM solution.
The ComOps WFM Solution
ComOps implemented its ComOps WFM solution for retail. The solution included the ComOps fixed and rotating roster engine, timesheet management, award interpretation, and employee self-service. ComOps worked with Kmart to further enhance the existing budgeting and forecasting module to deliver additional functionality in stores.
ComOps WFM roster engine allows managers to generate a combination of fixed pattern and rotating rosters, and assign full-time and part-time employees to agreed ongoing shifts. Unassigned shifts, including last minute changes, are filled using the auto-assign feature. This tool compiles a list of available casuals and ranks them according to preference criteria, including experience, cost, availability, preferred working hours, pay rules and location. Shifts are allocated according to these criteria, with the resulting roster being the “best” fit roster based on available resources.
The ComOps WFM award engine provides an immediate and real-time roster cost including both a base and on-cost view and provides a visual comparison of the roster costs versus the proposed budget for the same period. Any manual adjustments to the roster are immediately highlighted and any cost impact flagged to the manager.
The ComOps WFM Employee Self-Service module allows employees to view, edit and respond to their upcoming rosters via any web browser. In addition, upcoming shifts are communicated to employees via SMS, and the shift bidding tool allows employees to bid for vacant shifts via SMS, with an automated process designed to automatically fill shifts as required with manager approval.
The Benefits to Kmart
Kmart was able to realise significant benefit almost immediately. Naresh Teckchandani, Kmart Store Delivery Manager, commented that:
“Having the right people, with the right skills at the right price and ready to service customer demand is crucial in retail today. Previously, we weren’t aware of budget exceptions until payroll had been run and the costs incurred. Managers can now make informed decisions regarding staffing without fear of exceeding budgets.”
Kmart is now able to better manage REM costs, including better managing and reducing or reallocating the number of hours in stores. Payroll is confident that processed timesheets are accurate and the time spent reviewing or making manual adjustments is minimal. Finally, the Kmart workforce is now more engaged in the rostering process with their personal preferences and requirements better accommodated by store managers.