Smart & Final has sharpened its ability to forecast and manage labor needs across its store base with the adoption of Logile’s automated store planning and workforce management solutions.
Based in Commerce, Calif., the warehouse-style grocery chain has completed the implementation of Logile’s technology in all 256 of its Smart & Final Extra! and Smart & Final stores in California, Arizona and Nevada. Logile said the retailer has deployed its Enterprise Standards Manager, Enterprise Labor Model, Sales & Labor Planning, Forecasting, Staffing and Employee Scheduling solutions, all of which run on both desktop and mobile platforms.
The artificial intelligence (AI)-based solutions package enables Smart & Final to more accurately gauge its labor costs and impacts, improve labor usage, and achieve a higher level of operational optimization and visibility chainwide, Logile said Tuesday. The software supports also supports regulatory compliance, including predictive scheduling, which applies to several Smart & Final market areas.
“Previously, Smart & Final budgeted and managed labor at the store level using a sales per labor hour metric. Now, Logile’s metric forecasting with AI [artificial intelligence] machine-based learning algorithms helps us accurately forecast sales and other workload drivers, from which we can develop scheduling requirements tailored to our specific labor standards and store characteristics,” according to Jonathan Gestine, vice president of customer systems at Smart & Final.
For example, Dallas-based Logile said its scheduling tool not only automates employee scheduling for Smart & Final but also optimizes the process by allowing the chain to use one scheduling system for all store formats and sizes across the states where it operates. Exception-based performance dashboards give store leaders actionable information, such as the variance across forecasted versus scheduled and versus actual hours, enabling associates to make informed, week-in-progress decisions that protect service levels and costs, Logile noted.
“Logile helped us transition to an earned hours program by department that is transparent to our managers and encourages sales growth,” Gestine explained. “We are now scheduling associates across multiple departments at the task level, which has been transformative. Our managers have real-time visibility to make informed week-in-progress staffing and task assignment adjustments.”
Smart & Final’s retail base includes 200 Smart & Final Extra! and 56 Smart & Final stores. The larger-format Smart & Final Extra! locations blend a wholesale club-style store — but no membership fee — with a traditional supermarket in a one-stop shop, including farm-fresh produce and natural/organic options.
“Smart & Final operates very successful stores in states that have some of the most challenging, complex and fluctuating labor and scheduling rules in the entire country, including many new predictive scheduling regulations,” commented Purna Mishra, president and CEO of Logile, which specializes in store operations software solutions. “It has been a distinct pleasure to collaborate with the Smart & Final team to overcome their specific challenges.”