Scheduling Software Goes With The Flow

Sep 15, 2003

By George Anderson

Retailers including Shaw’s Supermarkets, Pep Boys and Bob’s are using technology to help improve employee scheduling and provide better service to customers shopping in the store.

Shaw’s rolled out its scheduling system in August. Not everyone, however, is happy with the new system, according to a Boston Globe report.

Store workers complain the automated system is pushing them physically and increasing stress.

Cynthia Krajewski, a customer-service representative at Shaw’s told the Globe, “The new software sometimes produces schedules that seem to have no slack”.

The system gives two minutes and eight seconds to checkout each customer, according to Ms. Krajewski. “I have 70- to 80-year-old women, 90-year-old men and kids,” and “our scan time is not 2 [minutes] — it’s probably more like 3.0.”

Shaw’s declined to be interviewed for the Boston Globe piece but a company statement said the system was implemented, in part, “so that they (store workers) can have time to play in a soccer game, go to a family barbecue, attend a friend’s wedding” or other activity.

The statement added that this is simply the first stage of implementation and Shaw’s expects to make modifications.

Moderator’s Comment: Is automating the system the answer to retailers’ scheduling dilemmas? Does the technology put
too much physical and emotional pressure on store workers?

Humans run the machines. The machines assist humans. As long as store managers and others charged with keeping employees on schedule remember this, then
problems should be few and far between. Everything and everyone has limits. It’s important to understand what those are when dealing with humans and machines.
Anderson – Moderator

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