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RBTE 2015: Workforce management solutions drive benefits at Hema

Employing a workforce management solution across its business has not only boosted efficiency but also resulted in significant cost savings for pan-European retailer Hema, the company said last week.

Speaking at last week's RBTE 2015, Mischa Gijrath, manager of efficiency in Europe for Hema, said the company wanted to: "Maximise productivity through workforce solutions to service its customers better and also increase sales."

At the heart of this was for its 12,000 employees to be able to clock-in and communicate with the company in a "transparent and uniform" way. And within head office there was a desire to predict the future and to adapt the value chain's resources accordingly.

Armed with a blueprint of 550 requirements Gijrath said Hema – which sells low-priced homeware, apparel and fresh food – chose a solution from JDA Software that involved it implementing four modules that would impact significantly on its business. Over the four years of the project Hema found inefficiencies in its business and was able to implement the changes necessary to address this and bring about major benefits.

The Time and Attendance module highlighted how much non-compliance with HR rules there was after clocks had been installed at its stores around Europe. "After one month we found 10% of total hours each day were incorrect – from clocking in too early or late," he added, with the result that the new solution saved €10,000 per week at a lot of its outlets.

The Scheduling module gave insight on labour demand and highlighted how stores with the same sales do not necessarily have the same labour requirements because 30% of hours are attributed to task management such as re-modelling stores and dealing with promotional materials.

"We get a lot of data from the system and could see how much time was used on say unpacking so we put this responsibility more on the depots. We've saved 50,000 hours per year from the changes," explained Gijrath, adding that the total saved from using the data insights on stores and labour amounted to €3.5 million.

The JDA Forecasting module also helped improve efficiencies, with sales predictions now running at 99.9% accuracy, which helps the company project how many employee hours will be needed and the resultant salary costs.

Hema also employed the JDA Task module that enables greater communications with its employees who can access the system and give feedback on a variety of aspects of in-store activities.

This two-way communication has apparently been a valuable tool for gaining insight. And with the introduction of Wi-Fi in stores, Gijrath said employees are now able to access the JDA solutions via their mobile devices.