12th February 2009 The Co-operative Group is to use a workforce management solution supplied by IT software and services company, Kronos, in a major project to enhance operational efficiency in its 2,200 UK food stores.
The Kronos system will record the working hours of 55,000 staff using biometric data collection terminals, which will be installed in stores in a rolling programme over the next two years. The fully automated time and attendance system, which uses finger scan verification, will replace the current system used by the Groupâ€™s Food Retail operation that requires some information to be keyed in at store level.
The key benefits include faster and more efficient management of store staffing requirements, which can help reduce costs as well as enable managers in the field and at Head Office to have easier access to important information on longer term staffing trends and patterns. The system will also reduce the amount of time spent on manual activities such as time capture, employee scheduling and absence management, and ensure compliance with legal requirements on break rules, maximum weekly hours and minimum rest times.
The Groupâ€™s Mark Hale, Director of Food Retail Information Services, said: "We are very pleased to have teamed up with Kronos. We wanted a system that would be able to handle efficiently and accurately the huge amount of information that needs to be processed and the Kronos product fitted the bill."
The Groupâ€™s Sean Toal, Director of Food Retail Operations, said: "The use of the workforce management system in our stores will bring many benefits, not least of which will be the cost savings and the freeing up of management time. The system will be able to operate across all our stores and will help them to run more efficiently."
Commenting on the project, Keith Statham, Managing Director of Kronos in the UK said: "Cost reduction and excellent customer service are not mutually exclusive goals. In the current economic climate itâ€™s becoming increasingly important for retailers to scrutinise working practices and seek out the steps that can be taken to improve efficiencies and at the same time improve the customersâ€™ shopping experience. Weâ€™re delighted that The Co-operative Group has selected Kronos for this significant workforce management project."
The Co-operative Group is half way through a multi-million pound food store refurbishment programme. In December last year, the Group achieved its 2008 target of revamping 700 stores around the UK, at a cost of Å200 million, in what is believed to be the biggest refit programme ever undertaken by a retailer in a single year. A further 700 food stores will be refitted this year in a Å180 million investment.