Leading U.S. Sporting Goods Retailer Automates Scheduling with TimeSimplicity from SwipeClock

With stores across all 50 states, this leading U.S. sporting goods retailer was hampered by creating work schedules using paper calendars and spreadsheet software. TimeSimplicity replaced the handwritten schedules with cloud-based ones that improve communications, simplify the scheduling process, and give employees 24/7 access.

“TimeSimplicity gives us the robust automated functionality and is the single source of information we need to simplify our scheduling process, better communicate with employees, and gain insights to make better business decisions.”

Information Systems Leader

Challenge

As a leading sporting goods retailer with stores across the United States, scheduling thousands of employees across multiple locations is a complex and time consuming task. To simplify the process, Assistant Managers at each store used Microsoft Excel to create bi-weekly schedules that would be printed and posted in a break room for employees to view.

Using spreadsheet and word processing applications is a common approach to solving scheduling needs, but has its own set of problems. For example, there were different levels of program proficiency among Assistant Managers, across locations, and even within the same store. It was easy to delete formulas that then needed to be reentered, often incorrectly. All of this added time to the scheduling process.

In addition, individual department schedules weren’t always coordinated within the same store, resulting in some employees being double booked. From a corporate perspective, there was no way to roll up schedules to get a companywide view for budgeting purposes. And finally, the nature of retail meant schedules were out of date almost as soon as they were printed. Changes were hand marked on the posted schedules, making them hard for managers and employees to understand after a few updates. This led to extra shifts, missing shifts, and lost revenue opportunity.

“As a successful and growing retailer, we continually evaluate our software and processes to ensure employees have the solutions they need to succeed,” said the Information Systems Leader for the retailer. “As we updated our human resources software, we decided the time was right to find a better scheduling solution.”

Solution

After evaluating several scheduling solutions, the sporting goods retailer selected TimeSimplicity from SwipeClock. “We chose TimeSimplicity because it met almost all our requirements and offered the robust features we needed to automate our scheduling process,” said the IS Leader.

TimeSimplicity is an advanced, cloud-based scheduling solution that eliminates over staffing, reduces overtime, quickly identifies coverage gaps, and highlights ‘bestfit’ employees to cover open shifts. TimeSimplicity seamlessly integrates with leading payroll solutions as well as with SwipeClock’s time and attendance software—TimeWorksPlus and TimeWorks Mobile.

TimeSimplicity has been rolled out to about half of the retailer’s stores. “Already, the benefits of moving from a manual spreadsheet-based process to an automated system have been tremendous,” said the IS Leader. “Word about these types of results spreads fast as store managers communicate with each other and as they move between locations.”

Results

By automating the scheduling process with TimeSimplicity, the sporting goods retailer greatly improved communication among Assistant Managers and employees. Using the solution’s email and text notifications, managers can quickly and easily notify employees about scheduling changes. And when there is a last-minute call out, managers no longer have to scramble by calling and locating employees to fill the vacant shift.

TimeSimplicity further increases efficiencies with the Trade Board feature that enables employees to initiate shift trades with their managers online. Once approved, employees are immediately notified and can respond via email and text to any shift change requests. Employees can view their schedules online from any computer- or smartphone-based browser, eliminating trips to the store to view hard-to-read, tattered, and marked-up schedules hanging in the break room.

“We strive to publish schedules every two weeks for one month out,” said the IS Leader. “This is unique in the retail industry, but it’s important so that employees know when they are working to better enjoy their personal and family lives. TimeSimplicity’s advanced features give us the confidence we need in our schedules to make this happen week after week.”

From a decision-making perspective, TimeSimplicity gives Assistant Managers new insights such as knowing the number of hours employees have left in a given pay period, not just who can fill a shift. They can also ensure that the same employee isn’t always asked to fill shifts. All of these functions are accomplished with an intuitive drag-and-drop, graphical user interface.

“TimeSimplicity gives us the robust automated functionality and is the single source of information we need to simplify our scheduling process, better communicate with employees, and gain insights to make better business decisions,” concluded the IS Leader. “We look forward to having TimeSimplicity rolled out to all of our stores.”

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