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Pep Boys' New Workforce-Management Tool Improves Customer Satisfaction

This is part of a special advertising section highlighting case studies featuring successful strategies in HR technology.

Monday, November 1, 2010
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Since 1921, Pep Boys has prided itself on providing the best customer service. Today, with 18,000 employees and more than 600 auto-part stores and service centers across the United States and Puerto Rico, maintaining this reputation is no small feat.

The $2 billion company had been using a paper-based scheduling system to match customer demand for services, which limited its ability to map schedules to demand, ensure formatting was consistent from store to store and provide district managers with a simple way to verify schedules.

Pep Boys recognized its critical need for accurate forecasting data, and automated and standardized scheduling practices. The company also wanted an easy-to-use solution that would increase employee productivity, resulting in improved customer satisfaction.

Based on its success with the Kronos time-and-attendance solution, Pep Boys expanded its use of the vendor's workforce-management suite to include the forecasting and scheduling solution. Playing a key role in this decision is the Kronos next generation user interface. This intuitive interface fundamentally changes how Pep Boys manages its workforce. The solution provides deep functionality, as well as easy access to critical workforce data that allows corporate leaders and managers to make more well-informed decisions.

"Kronos' next-generation user interface delivers workforce-management content in a way that engages and guides managers to make the best possible scheduling decisions," says Troy Fee, senior vice president of HR at Pep Boys. "Kronos has brought together consumer-inspired intelligence and ease to our otherwise highly complex processes."

Staffing Accuracy, Decisions Improve

Since rolling out the scheduling tool, Pep Boys has been able to leverage the enhanced intelligence to reduce the high labor costs associated with over-scheduling, as well as improve customer satisfaction, which can easily be impacted by understaffing.

In addition, with real-time visibility across the organization, Pep Boys is continually improving its operations. Using accurate forecasting data, Pep Boys could see, for example, that, based on demand, Sundays typically provided the greatest opportunity for increased sales. Store managers now work with associates to align their availability with demand, and they make better hiring decisions, selecting new hires whose availability matches a store's customer traffic.

"Workforce Scheduler brings all the pieces together, which we couldn't do before," claims Fee. "It analyzes each team and each store's sales history in order to accurately forecast demand. It also predicts potential sales as a result of having the right people at the right time when customers come in."

The intuitive nature of the Kronos user interface helps Pep Boys' managers learn the system quickly and operate it more efficiently.

"The simplified UI makes it easier for managers who are not highly technical," says Fee. "It will reduce training time for new managers, cutting our eight-hour training class almost in half."

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With just a few clicks, managers have all the information they need to make well-informed decisions. They can easily view scheduling coverage, forecasting data and customer-demand information. From a set of options, they can select the most appropriate action. These guided decisions save valuable time and help managers effectively manage their workforce.

Historic and trending data have also improved scheduling decisions. With the labor data that Pep Boys captures in the Kronos system, the company is able to leverage prior-year data and overlay current trends to more accurately forecast customer demand for services.

"With this data and the real-time flexibility within Kronos, we can do real-time scheduling adjustments based on current trends," says Fee. "We have the visibility and controls in place to be sure the right things are happening in every store.

"The more fact-based decisions I can make, the better off I am," he adds. "Kronos is helping us to continually improve our operations, and its next-generation user interface is making this even easier."

HIGHLIGHTS

Company: Pep Boys

Headquarters: Philadelphia

Primary Business: Automotive aftermarket service and retail.

HR Technology Challenge: Scheduling associates to accurately meet customer demand for automotive services.

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