Warehouse staff productivity boost

Leading UK retailer of value books, crafts and gifts, The Works is optimising labour productivity at its 24 x 7 Sutton Coldfield distribution centre using Workforce Management from RedPrairie.

With annual revenues of £100 million and 2,500 employees, The Works stocks items from 500 suppliers and introduces around 100 new product lines each week at its 300 stores.

The company implemented Workforce Management to build on the 25% increase in picking efficiency already achieved with RedPrairie’s Warehouse Management solution and to transform the performance of its warehouse operatives.

The Works Supply Chain Manager Diane Smith says managers now benefit from dynamic workforce reporting functionality via a PC-based user interface that delivers accurate expectations for picking tasks, taking into account preferred work methods, such as travel distances, weight and environmental factors.

In just five months, operator productivity has grown by 25% while increased employee motivation has reduced staff turnover.

In addition, new starters are trained faster and with best-practice operating methods that enable them to be productive from day one. The system has already paid for itself and there are further benefits expected.

Real-time monitoring enables team-leaders to measure the up-to-the-minute performance of individuals or teams and alerts them to potential problems before they disrupt warehouse operations.

Workforce Management’s job costing functionality ensures that labour costs are allocated correctly while its web-based reporting tools provide timely insight into irregularities.

“Implementing RedPrairie’s Workforce Management solution has created a performance-focused culture at the Works that supports the company’s commitment to developing employees potential and rewarding their loyalty and dedication to serving customers,” Smith comments.

“As a finalist in the 2005 Investors in People Award for Business Improvement Through People™, The Works has already been recognised for the value it places on staff training and development.”

Following the implementation of Workforce Management, operatives now fully understand expectations and opportunities and are better motivated to contribute at a higher level than ever before in a fairer system that rewards above-average performers.

Workforce Management also helps managers identify process weaknesses and other problems that prevent staff from reaching their targets and enables less productive team members to be given the assistance they need to reach their potential.

With the success of RedPrairie’s Workforce Management solution at Sutton Coldfield, The Works plans to capitalise on its investment and maximise the benefits to its business.

The company is evaluating RedPrairie’s retail workforce solutions for its 300 retail outlets that are set to increase in number to 400 over the next few years.

Leveraging its investment in RedPrairie’s productivity-enhancing solutions will help boost employee performance and efficiency throughout the entire supply chain and retail operations.

“RedPrairie’s workforce management suite reinforces our position as an employer who recognises that staff motivation and development are key to business productivity and growth,” says Smith.

“Workforce Management makes workers self-accountable for their performance, enabling supervisors to become coaches and mentors, which results in a more efficient business and rewarding workplace.”

Workforce Management’s sophisticated work forecasting capabilities will optimise use of personnel resources at The Works, resulting in improved delivery times to stores and a better service to end customers.

The Works Chief Executive Derek Hine says implementing Workforce Management builds on the company’s strategy to maximise the value of RedPrairie’s Warehouse Management solution (WMS).

“This will help us meet our growth targets while continuing to reduce order fulfilment and labour costs.”

“We are delighted to have increased operative performance by 25% within a few months of go-live and confidently expect even greater workforce efficiencies with Workforce Management in the years to come,” he says.

RedPrairie Managing Director and President International says The Works’ success testifies to the deserved reputation of RedPrairie’s workforce optimisation solutions for retail and our undisputed market leadership in this sector.

“We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership with The Works as they continue to drive revenues and profitability through innovation in their stores and supply chain operations.”

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