The retail sector has had to face into a significant change from the growth in online shopping and the decline in footfall in high street shops in recent years. Workforce planning has become an important part of the annual process to review labour budgets and finding ways to improve the quality of information is an important step in controlling costs whilst also maintaining service.
Lakeland has been a client of Hilton Productivity Services since 2015, and one aspect of the service we provide is a regular review process for store labour budgets, making use of the Waypoint workforce planning and reporting application. In 2018 we repeated this exercise, following a review of time standards for tasks that was completed towards the end of 2017.
The work measurement exercise was undertaken to update a range of basic time standards. These included tasks such as till transactions, sorting deliveries and merchandising to replenish stock. Transactional data that is recorded systematically across the store network and in the distribution centre was collated so that unit volumes associated with these tasks could be analysed.
The Waypoint application is used to create the operating model used to develop the store budgets;
• Each store is created as a reporting unit within the overall business hierarchy
• The task list includes all the activity that is driven by a transactional volumes, or that can be allocated regular amounts of time, based on business policy. These include training, cleaning and customer service activity.
• Store characteristics are incorporated so that activity time calculations can be varied depending on the size of the store, the number of sales floors or the level of footfall.
• Processes are developed to accumulate volume data and configure it into .csv files ready to be imported into Waypoint.
• Data for the amount of hours employed by each store is also collated and configured.
Having set up the operating model, volume data and employed hours were uploaded and the results were immediately available by selecting the various generic reports included in the application. In this case, the focus was on the comparison between the total workload demand and the employed hours for each store across each week.
Waypoint can be used to look at historical data to review performance over a given period. It can also be used to provide a forecast view and for analysing ‘what if’ scenarios, using trends to predict what future demand would look like and the impact this would have on workloads in store.
Hilton Productivity Services first created a comprehensive report showing the ‘utilisation’ factor by week for each store across 2017 and created a reference period to summarise average performances. This was used by the business to identify the impact of previous operational process improvement activity. Lakeland were also interested in the amount of ‘drift’ in performances when the new data was compared with previous years.
The second stage was to discuss the impact of planned business activity and to incorporate it into the model to refine the new budget proposals. Finally, some options were considered to re-distribute workload based on business priorities, by reviewing some of the policy standards incorporated into the operating model.
This review, incorporating historical information, trends and scenarios provided Lakeland with a comprehensive analysis of current labour budgets and options for the future. Key outcomes for the client were;
• Turning data into information providing the opportunity to make better decisions about store labour budgets
• Providing store managers with accurate and reliable information so that business decisions impacting the stores could be put in context.
• Delivering a consistent message across the business whilst accommodating local concerns by involving every store in the performance review process.