Effective labour management is more critical than ever in this competitive environment where bricks and mortar operations need to have great service as their key differentiator.

The perception is that small-format stores require minimal systems to help manage labour. Minimal staff numbers coupled with extensive opening hours leave little scope for flex with regards to the deployment of resource. There are exceptions in any retailer, where flagship stores or even small but busy stores need to plan labour to optimise service and therefore sales. The general view is that any scheduling solution is a sledgehammer to crack a nut – but what if there was a nutcracker to maximise the labour budget investment?

At RMS we have started to deploy to smaller retailers who are using our tools to create labour schedules on simple productivity drivers. These drivers can be scaled and configured on a per-store basis enabling the retailer to create schedules that are realistic, fit for purpose and maximise their return on investment.

The store manager works off of base schedules that simply highlight gaps in the ideal deployment model based on minimum manning and/or simple sales or footfall drivers. The effort required to do this is a fraction of what they would typically do within a manual rota creation and timesheet submission process. From these simple schedules, the store manager can amend labour variances and then submit timesheets through to payroll. So our solutions are enabling the retailer to maximise their resource, provide visibility through the hierarchy of actual hours deployed and also highlight the need for change to achieve aspirational labour objectives. All this can be done proactively rather than reactively by the retailer.

So, in summary, there is a place for labour management solutions in small format retailers and these can be realised with reasonable and realistic levels of investment

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