Softworks Blog

Retailers - Are your store managers struggling with manual timesheets?

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Wed, Mar 23, 2016

Do your store managers have difficulty accurately recording their employee's time, attendance and holidays? Are any of your managers not filling in or perhaps even fabricating timesheets? Is "I don't have the time" a common excuse?

Softworks have been working with retailers for over twenty five years and if this is an area you are struggling with, get in touch. We can assist you and your store managers to 

  • Automate time consuming manual processes around timesheets, rosters, holiday and attendance tracking. 
  • Formalise holiday booking rules across all your stores so that rules can't be broken by store managers. 
  • Eradicate incomplete and fabricated timesheets.
  • Manage and record requested overtime and track time in lieu or payment due depending on your rules and procedures.
  • Manage employee's variable working hours, times and days and track employees dispersed at multiple locations in real time.Clas_Ohlson_Case_Study_Softworks.png
  • Allow employees to clock in and view timesheets and rosters using a mobile phone, laptop or tablet.
  • Easily create rosters/schedules that ensure allocation of adequate resources within budget. Track hours and generate management reports for head office. 
  • Ensure legal compliance with legislation and health and safety. 
  • Increase payroll efficiency and accuracy by automating the flow of information from time and attendance to payroll.
  • Ensure your shop managers are where they are most effective - on the shop floor managing employees, generating sales and ensuring you are delivering a exceptional customer experience. 
Arrange a Demo

If you would like to learn more about Softworks Retail Solutions, contact us for a demonstration today or download our Clas Ohlson case study

Topics: Retailers

How retailer Clas Ohlson is using Softworks Time & Attendance and Rostering to satisfy Business and Operational needs - Case Study

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Thu, Oct 1, 2015

Effective workforce management has never been more critical to the retail sector due to the competitive nature of the industry, the ever increasing higher standards of service being demanded and the necessity to control operating costs.As the workforce is the single largest controllable expense for retail, labour is often a key driver to financial success or otherwise.

Softworks client Clas Ohlson has kindly agreed to let us share their story about how they are using Softworks to assist them to manage their employee's Time, Attendance and Rostering.

In this case study we examine;

  • Clas Ohlsons key requirements.
  • Why they chose Softworks rather than another supplier.
  • How they currently use the system across their stores in the UK.
  • The benefits it brings to their day to day business and operations.  

 You are very welcome to download the full case study via this link

 


 

Clas_Ohlson_Case_Study_Softworks.png

 

Topics: Retailers

Asda offers festive flexibility with nativity leave for busy parents

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Wed, Dec 11, 2013

Yesterday, I got the time and date from my son's school for his nativity play. It's on at 12.30pm next Wednesday afternoon. Not exactly the handiest time for a working mum (or dad). That said I see myself as one of the lucky ones, as at Softworks we have flexible working. So I'll get to hear my 6 year old son say his two lines "Hang on, I'm coming" and "Read the Sign"...He's the Innkeeper and taking his role very seriously! However, some of his friends parents' are finding it a little trickier to slip off for that all important half hour. 

Asda however is supporting busy working parents this Christmas by offering employees ‘nativity leave’ to ensure they don’t miss out on their little one’s starring role in the school play. The festive flexible working option is available to colleagues following Asda’s latest Mumdex research, which indicated that working parents are worried about missing out on their child’s key milestone moments due to work commitments. In face-to-face focus groups with Asda mums as part of the research, one in three cited the annual nativity play as one of the top things they feel they just can’t miss out on.

Hayley Tatum, Asda’s Executive People Director comments; "There’s no doubt working mums have a lot on their plate at this time of year and we don’t want our colleagues to miss out on the things that are really important to them this Christmas.

“Technology might help to take the pressure off busy working parents on a daily basis, but we know that it’s just not the same watching your child’s milestone moments back on a smartphone or tablet. ‘Nativity Leave’ gives parents the opportunity to take time off for the school Christmas play or simply for some much needed family time outside of normal holidays.”

The ‘Nativity Leave’ flexible working policy allows Asda colleagues planned, unpaid discretionary time off to attend their child’s school play or to take much needed ‘me time’ outside of normal contracted holidays.

'"Nativity Leave" gives parents the opportunity to take time off for the school Christmas play or simply for some much needed family time outside of normal holidays.'

Kids Nativity Play resized 600

While the scheme was designed with parents desperate to see their child's play, any staff members can actually take advantage of the scheme. They are allowed the time off for Christmas shopping or seeing family, as they do not have to provide a specific reason for the time off.

Personally I think this is a great scheme and well done to Asda for taking the initiative. Realistically it doesn't cost Asda anything but it's of enormous value to employees so a win win situation for all...

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Retailers, Work-Life Balance

Why you don't need a sledgehammer to crack a nut!

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, Mar 19, 2013

Softworks Andrew Ferguson Presents at The Retail Business Technology Expo 2013

Andrew Ferguson

Softworks CEO, Andrew Ferguson was chosen to take part in the Pecha Kucha seminars at the Retail Business Technology Expo 2013 that took place in London last week.  Presenters have just 20 slides, and 20 seconds per slide to get their message across – and that means they get straight to the point – with no waffle. Not unlike speed dating for businesses! Great fun and the perfect solution for retailers starved of time but with an appetite for information, advice, tactics and tips on how to succeed in these challenging times.  

 

Andrew’s presentation, “Workforce Management Solutions - Why you don’t need a sledgehammer to crack a nut!” was a hugely popular session. Andrew shared with delegates his 20 years’ experience of assisting retailers get a labour scheduling solution up and running quickly and cost effectively.

"For some retailers, they neither have the time or the resources to wait for a bespoke real time scheduling & optimisation system. It can take up to 2 years to develop and install some systems! With recent advances in technology, it's now possible for retailers to get up and running quickly, by using an ‘out of the box’ scheduling solution,that will give 80% of the benefits of a full bespoke solution straight away.  They can then fine tune and expand as time goes on, using their managers experience and knowledge, to get the next 80% from what's left, and the next 80% and so on."  

Andrew demonstrated to retailers that that they don’t need to reinvent the wheel for every store; there are systems already on the market that will do 80% of what they need to do straight away. You are very welcome to download Andrew's 20 slides via this link

Topics: Time & Attendance, Conferences, Workforce Solutions, Labour Scheduling, Retailers

Softworks Presents at the Retail Business Technology Expo 2013

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Thu, Mar 14, 2013

Softworks were delighted to be part of the Retail Business Technology Expo 2013 which took place in London on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  RBTE is the largest and fastest growing retail solutions exhibition in the UK and Europe.  Once again this year the event was buzzing with attendees from the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, all looking for ideas, solutions and inspiration to reduce costs, boost sales, increase margins and customer engagement across all the multiple channels available.

Softworks CEO, Andrew Ferguson was chosen to take part in the Pecha Kucha seminars. Presenters have just 20 slides, and 20 seconds per slide to get their message across – and that means they get straight to the point – with no waffle. Not unlike speed dating for businesses! Great fun and the perfect solution for retailers starved of time but with an appetite for information, advice, tactics and tips on how to succeed in these challenging times.  

Andrew’s presentation, “Workforce Management Solutions - Why you don’t need a sledgehammer to crack a nut!” was a hugely popular session. Andrew shared with delegates his 20 years’ experience of assisting retailers get a labour scheduling solution up and running quickly and cost effectively.

"For some retailers, they neither have the time or the resources to wait for a bespoke real time scheduling & optimisation system. It can take up to 2 years to develop and install some systems! With recent advances in technology, it's now possible for retailers to get up and running quickly, by using an ‘out of the box’ scheduling solution, that will give 80% of the benefits of a full bespoke solution straight away.  They can then fine tune and expand as time goes on, using their managers experience and knowledge, to get the next 80% from what's left, and the next 80% and so on."  

Andrew demonstrated to retailers that that they don’t need to reinvent the wheel for every store; there are systems already on the market that will do 80% of what they need to do straight away. You are very welcome to download Andrew's 20 slides via this link

Softworks consultants Barry Coogan and Steve Holloway(pictured below) were also kept very busy demonstrating our solutions to retailers, who were looking for further information on how the latest in WFM technology can assist them with their operational challenges. 

Softworks at RBTE

 

Further Resources

Softworks Retail Brochure

Free Guide - How advances in Workforce Management Technology can meet the Retail Sector's Business Challenges

Retailer Focus: 5 Steps on Reducing Costs & Increasing Productivity

Topics: Time & Attendance, Conferences, Workforce Solutions, Labour Scheduling, Retailers

Webinar - Workforce Management Technology for Retail

Posted by Triona Cahalane on Thu, Jan 10, 2013
Workforce Management Webinar

Retail Results - How to strike a balance between cost control & customer service

Join Noel Dooley, Softworks on Tuesday 29th January at 11am GMT for a free webinar on how today’s most successful retailers are striking a balance between cost control and customer service. In this webinar you will learn how to improve store time planning, staffing to budget and labour as a percentage of sales.

Key Learning Points

  • Register now to find out how you could achieve complete control and visibility of labour costs across your business. Discover how you could:
  • Budget your store's labour as a percentage of forecasted sales.
  • Give managers the tools to staff their stores within budget and still accommodate demand spikes.
  • Get reports at store, cluster, brand, region and group level instantly.
  • Give payroll accurate timesheets on time, every time.
  • Manage absence, holidays and training on-line with no paper or spreadsheets.
  • Track through your email in-box approvals and authorisation.

Register Now

Topics: Webinar / Online Presentation event, Retailers

How today's most successful Retailers are using WFM Technology

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Wed, Sep 5, 2012

Managers in the Retail Industry are constantly faced with the administrative nightmare of compiling large complicated rosters & schedules whilst dealing with the inconvenience of staff not showing up for work, not to mention the headaches for payroll staff that have to deal with a variety of complicated pay rules and shifts based on employee contract and or start date. The Softworks Retail Solution helps to automate workforce management processes, eliminating the paper-based schedules and excel spreadsheets along with time consuming administrative tasks 

Modern integrated workforce management solutions (WFM)  give retailers the tools and processes they need to balance the high cost of labour, tight budgets, variable staffing needs and complex labour laws without putting customer loyalty, compliance, employee satisfaction, or profitability at risk. 

We have published a new paper based on our experience working with leading retailers - How advances in workforce management technology can meet the retail sector's business challenges. You are very welcome to download this free paper.

 Retail Paper

In this paper we examine how Workforce Management Solutions are:

  1. Driving retailers business performance and competitiveness.
  2. Assisting retailers with business challenges such as: determining employee supply, employee scheduling and satisfying budget requirements & constraints while still delivering high levels of customer satisfaction.
  3. Benefitting retailers in relation to branding, customer experience and the recruitment and retention of key employees
Download Paper

Topics: Retailers

Workforce Management Software Can Help Retailers Fulfill Online Orders

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Wed, Jun 20, 2012

This is a guest post from Michael Koploy, Analyst with SoftwareAdvice.com, Michael Koploy resized 600

There’s an emerging trend among multi-channel retailers of fulfilling online orders with inventory from retail outlets, not distribution centers. While the practice was unheard of in years past, a number of merchants including Nordstrom, Toys R Us and Macy’s have begun to process online orders in stores.


This means that in addition to customer service and cashier duties, as well as keeping the display floor organized and tidy, retail associates will be tasked with finding items, packing them and preparing them for shipment to the online shopper’s address.

Retailers will need to deploy a number of technologies for this strategy to be successful. One of which, is to tag items at the store-level with radio frequency identification, or RFID, chips. Paired with RFID readers, store associates can then locate inventory instantly, even if its been moved by other associates or store customers.

However, an equally important technology solution that retailers must deploy is workforce management software. Management will have to accurately forecast labor needs and build schedules accordingly. In addition, management will have to train associates on how to fulfill orders, and ask that employees are always on-time due to their added responsibilities.

Here’s how workforce management software can help:

  • Management can design optimized schedules that take into account the needs of the store, as well as associates’ proficiencies at finding, packing and shipping online orders.
  • Attendance and absenteeism can closely be monitored and addressed if it becomes an issue with certain associates. The added task of fulfilling online orders will require employees to be on-time and to not miss a shift--as online orders may require items to be packed immediately before the shipping truck arrives.
  • Employees will have to be trained to use RFID readers, manage alerts from the inventory system, how to properly print packing materials and prepare items for safe shipping. This training can be tracked in the workforce management system, and managers can always ensure that each shift has the right number of associates that have been properly trained.

An efficient labor force is key to fulfilling online orders from the store inventory, and workforce management technology is pivotal to retailers getting the most out of their associates.

Michael Koploy is an Analyst for SoftwareAdvice.com, an online website that reviews technology for retailers. He can be reached on Twitter for more info: @POSAdvice.

Topics: Retailers

Retailer Focus: 5 Steps on Reducing Costs & Increasing Productivity

Posted by Triona Cahalane on Wed, Feb 15, 2012

How retailers can reduce costs, increase employee productivity & improve customer service using an automated Workforce Management Solution - The 5 Step Process

The costs of the workforce will probably always remain the largest single overhead for most industries, but particularly so for the retail industry.  Being able to understand and analyse where time is being spent and doing what, is an extremely valuable tool to the industry at a time when every single euro counts towards the bottom line. Being just 1% cheaper than your competition, could be the defining decision maker for your customers. Obviously, it’s an option to reduce the price of what you are selling by 1%, but that will most likely directly impact on your profit margin. What if it didn't have to? What if you could control costs while at the same time, improve employee productivity and offer exceptional customer service. Our 5 step process demonstrates just how feasible this is for retailers.

Retail Blog

Step 1 - Carry out a stock take of all your costs

Managing the direct cost of your overheads is all about negotiating with suppliers and finding the best deal available. When you have already squeezed every last percentage of a discount from your suppliers and cut every overhead, what's left to stop that 1% price reduction from hitting the profit margin? The answer lies with what is probably your biggest cost and most valuable asset – your workforce. Knowing what your workforce is spending time on will not only assist you in reducing workforce costs but also let you focus on increasing employee productivity and improving customer service.

 Step 2 - Control your controllable labour costs

Initial attempts to control employee costs almost always focus on direct costs, such as wages and benefits, while other costs remain hidden. Absenteeism, unapproved overtime, disability benefit schemes, questionable sickness absences, lates, finishing early, long breaks, unproductive employees, all boost a company’s true labour costs. But these expenses are usually not as easy to identify and more importantly, quantify or qualify. So how do you control your labour costs.  By automating the method by which time and attendance data is collected, manipulated and processed you can have complete control and transparency in relation to your workforce and payroll costs.

Step 3 - Right people - Right Place - Right Time - Right Cost

One employee too many on a schedule is a costly mistake and can mean the difference between profit and loss. By pre-planning your schedules, using an automated scheduling solution, you can optimise your employee cost / sales revenue ratios. This schedule will then become your budget and ensure you always have the right people scheduled at the right time.  By planning your schedule in advance and in line with your projected sales, you will be assured that you can offer the level of service your customers expect while always keeping a close eye on your costs.

Step 4 - Exceptional Customer Service 24/7

Exceptional customer service starts with satisfied employees. By understanding your employees key skills, attributes and what drives them, you will ensure you have the right person doing the right job. Get to know and record where your staff’s skills lie and tailor your schedule around them. Consider your employees work-live balance, as a happy workforce will result in higher morale and better productivity. Some of us are great in the mornings, while useless late at night, so get the best out of your employees by scheduling them in line with their strengths and weaknesses.  

Step 5 - The one stop shop

Without, having the right processes and tools in place, establishing the true cost of labour remains elusive for most retailers. As the industry becomes more and more competitive in a society that has less disposable income, it becomes increasingly necessary to define these hidden costs as a first step in effectively managing them. For many retailers, current operations and infrastructure, do not collect and analyse data in a way that it can be used strategically to make better decisions regarding labour costs, schedules and skills. The implementation of an automated workforce solution to identify, monitor and track this data will provide across the board strategic benefits to a retailers performance, profitability and customer service. 

Topics: Workforce Solutions, Retailers