Sponsored by DayMark
As operating costs increase across industries amid a tight labor market, retailers are seeking solutions to help them operate more efficiently and improve their ability to hire and retain good workers.
Data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment Cost Index showed that compensation costs for private industry workers increased 4.4% percent in 2021, and many food retailers have reported difficulties managing their labor expenses in the current environment, where the talent pool is dwindling and wages are rising.
In fact, food retailers view labor challenges as a significant obstacle in the year ahead, second only to supply chain challenges, according to the Supermarket News Retailer Expectations Survey 2022. More than a third of survey respondents — 38% — said they expected labor to be their biggest challenge in 2022.
Amid these labor headwinds, companies are seeking to introduce efficiencies into their operations that can both increase productivity and make their employees’ jobs feel more rewarding.
The Kroger Co., for example, in a recent earnings conference call with analysts said it was leveraging technology and automation to reduce shrink and waste, and to minimize some manual operations so that employees can focus more on customer-facing activities.
“We’re taking that non-value-added work out wherever we can to allow our associates to focus on the customer,” said Gary Millerchip, chief financial officer of Cincinnati-based Kroger. “It includes automating our ordering and production-planning type processes.”
Consulting firm Oliver Wyman issued a report last year that offered some advice for supermarkets seeking to operate more productively. The report defined several key areas where grocery retailers can drive productivity:
• Use efficient/automated ordering, delivery and restocking processes.
• Optimize supply chains for promotions to ensure appropriate inventory levels.
• Balance in-store production and services according to demand.
• Make checkout as efficient as possible with self-scanning and enhanced bar codes.
• Use task-based labor scheduling and digitized tools to optimize communication and productivity.
Technologies such as DayMark’s Task Management and Receiving Module applications can help retailers achieve those goals.
DayMark’s Task Management app, for example, offers a user-friendly interface that streamlines the communication of tasks back and forth between mangers and employees, using proactive communication tools. It also streamlines workflow by facilitating the reassignment of tasks in the event an employee misses a shift and allows workers to trade tasks with each other within set parameters.
Its dashboard feature offers managers an overview of tasks, including current status and completed task histories. Using DayMark’s MenuCommand web portal, managers can also view task data, compare staff performances, maintain employee information and more.
It also has features that make training more efficient, rewarding and enjoyable for workers. It allows retailers to house training materials such as written procedures or video tutorials in a centralized location, giving staff a comprehensive resource for instruction and education. This accelerates the training process by making it easy for employees to access training documents and videos.
DayMark’s Receiving Module app, meanwhile, helps retailers ensure the accuracy of orders, which has become a key functionality amid the supply chain challenges the industry has faced. The Supermarket News Retailer Expectations survey identified the supply chain as the top challenge grocers expect to face in 2022, with 40% naming it as their biggest obstacle in the year ahead.
The app incorporates a scorecard that retailers can use to document errors in the shipments they receive; retailers can then use that documentation to highlight error trends when they discuss performance issues with their distributors. Its intuitive, easy-to-use interface allows retailers to identify and document orders that are short or do not meet spec, for example, or are otherwise incorrect. In addition, retailers can adjust expected shipment statuses based on partial deliveries when the remainder of the delivery is expected to follow at a later date.
Both the Task Management and Receiving Module apps minimize employee frustration by streamlining processes and training, DayMark said. The Task Management app also contributes to employee satisfaction by facilitating communication of priorities and providing a way for employees to escalate urgent problems.
The apps are available through DayMark’s MenuCommand Kitchen Automation Platform.
Visit DayMark to learn more about how technology can make your operations more efficient, and the work more rewarding for your employees. Retailers can also sign up for a demo of the Task Management and Receiving Module apps here.