Software improves Wickes' staffing

The do-it-yourself (DIY) retailer Wickes last month completed a project to refine its current staff scheduling process and implement an automated workforce management system.

The retailer used a legacy systems across its 169 standard and eight 'Extra' stores to determine the level of staffing needed to accurately manage customer demand.

It produced the number of labour hours by store, but was thought to be out of date because it was unable to incorporate new measures driven by store activity or customer service propositions to produce daily employee schedules that could help increase revenue through more cost-effective and improved customer service.

Craig Pickett, Wickes stores productivity manager, said: "We knew that if we could get a better match between our staff and our customer requirements this would make a significant contribution to our performance."

The Travis Perkins Group DIY retail subsidiary chose to work with specialist LSI Consulting, using its RetailEASE tool to review all store processes and produce a representative set of labour standards and to develop an accurate operating model.

It then used this model as the basis for implementing new workforce management software from vendor, WorkPlace Systems.

Pickett said the modelling phase of the project was key: "It was clear that, to get the most from our intended investment in a new workforce management system, we would need to improve the way we generated workload demand at store level," he added.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.