Woods Supermarket: A Certified Great Place to Work
Established in Long Lane, Missouri, in 1947, Woods Supermarket has been serving its community for over 75 years and is known for its high-quality foods at competitive prices. The company strives to be more than a grocer – an everyday partner that provides quality goods and services to the community.
A Certified Great Place to Work, Woods Supermarket is regarded by employees as a place where you can grow.
A reactive approach to managing labor is inefficient and costly
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Woods Supermarket faced several challenges due to rising costs and an increasingly tight labor market.
While the company had managed to get by with its existing labor management solution, the system simply wasn’t designed to meet the demands of the grocery industry. It lacked critical labor budgeting tools necessary for today’s grocers and was unable to provide operations with access to real-time sales and labor data.
This created 2 main challenges for Woods Supermarket:
- They were unable to pivot quickly due to lack of day-to-day visibility into operations, and
- they had difficulty controlling unnecessary expenses such as preventable overtime.
Together, these two issues meant that Woods was unable to control costs effectively.
Tom Trussell, VP of Administration at Woods Supermarket, knew that the business needed a better approach in order to thrive in today’s market.
“We’re too reactive instead of proactive,” said Trussell. “We need to be able to see where we’re at with overtime and where we’re at with budget versus actual.”
A proactive approach is key to controlling labor costs
Because Woods Supermarket lacked real-time reports and alerts, it was stuck in a reactive cycle: by the time operations knew about an issue, it was already too late.
This meant that they were spending money on preventable expenses like overtime.
The problem was compounded by the fact that Woods’ labor management system and its POS system were not integrated.
For example, in order to get daily sales, operations had to go into the POS system and print out a report.
It wasn’t possible to monitor sales and labor in the same system, receive automated overtime alerts, or easily generate schedules based on anticipated sales volume.
“To be honest, it was a pain,” said Merry Baker, Operations Support Manager for Woods, commenting on the limitations of the previous system
Vanessa Morgan, Operations Manager, added, “We were unable to control our labor daily to prevent both underspending and overspending. By the time I was pulling together reports, it was 8-10 days after the week was over. This meant we were always at least a week behind. We could never catch up.”
The pain was even worse during Woods’ busy season. “I was spending hours each week manually tracking seasonal hires and assisting with store transfers,” said Morgan.
Ultimately, the lack of real-time visibility into sales and labor was preventing Woods Supermarket from budgeting and scheduling effectively.
Real-time sales and labor reporting through a centralized operations dashboard
To survive and thrive in today’s retail landscape, Woods Supermarket needed a better way to manage labor and control costs. In short, the business needed a solution that would allow managers to be proactive.
While on the lookout for a new solution, the company heard about TimeForge.
Advantages for Woods Supermarket
For Woods, one of the main advantages of switching to TimeForge was the centralized operations dashboard with real-time sales and labor information, including the ability to view budgeted vs actual labor costs throughout the day.
This would give operations crucial visibility they were currently lacking.
Another advantage was TimeForge’s proactive alerts that warn managers about potential overstaffing, understaffing, and overtime situations.
After speaking with other grocers using TimeForge and learning more about the product, Woods Supermarket committed to a pilot at 2 of its stores.
TimeForge is a full-featured employee scheduling and labor management software designed to help businesses proactively control costs. The system integrates with over 60 leading POS and payroll providers and features a centralized operations dashboard with real-time sales and labor metrics.
In recent months, TimeForge has received several accolades from grocery retailers for ease of use, value, functionality, and outstanding customer service. It was ranked as a top workforce management product based on user reviews in 2022.
From pilot to full roll-out
During the pilot, the Woods team saw noticeable improvements in their ability to monitor the business, budget their labor, and proactively manage employees and schedules.
The pilot was considered a success, and Woods Supermarket decided to roll out TimeForge to all stores.
When asked about her experience switching to TimeForge, Merry Baker said, “Learning TimeForge was really easy! I love the seven-day schedule report with positions, and I use the overtime report every day.”
Key result: 68% reduction in overtime
Woods’ bottom line saw a substantial improvement in overtime costs after implementing TimeForge.
In early 2022, prior to fully implementing the TimeForge platform, the business averaged about 152 hours of overtime each week.
By 2023, that number was reduced to 50 hours a week for an impressive 68% overall reduction in overtime!
This means that Woods is now saving approximately $2,500 each week in overtime alone – and that’s not even taking into account the other areas where TimeForge is making an impact.
Woods was able to achieve these great results due to:
- Access to real-time reports, which allow managers to see exactly where their labor is at throughout the week and pivot as necessary.
- TimeForge’s schedule enforcement features, which help keep the team accountable to the schedule and clocking in/out on time.
- Shift transfers, which help the stores control labor costs daily so that they’re not accruing unanticipated overtime at the end of the week.
Key result: 92% less time spent on between-store transfers
For Morgan, TimeForge was a game-changer that impacted more than just overtime.
“My favorite feature is actually the between-store shift transfers,” she said. “The ability to easily transfer employees to work shifts at other locations has allowed us to better adapt our schedule coverage during our peak season.”
Before TimeForge, Morgan was spending 4+ hours each week managing spreadsheets, making calls to track down which seasonal hires were working where, and ensuring the hours were billed to the correct location.
Now, she spends at most 15-20 minutes reviewing the TimeForge-generated reports and doing spot-checks to ensure that the store managers are staying on top of things.
TimeForge tracks the who, what, when, and where details automatically.
The adoption of this feature has led to a dramatic 92% reduction in time spent on between-store transfers, which means Morgan now has more time to manage other aspects of Operations.
Other important benefits for Woods Supermarket
Although initially focused on real-time reporting, Woods Supermarket soon experienced the benefits of TimeForge in other areas, as well:
- Improved labor budgeting and prevention of both overstaffing and understaffing
- Fewer discrepancies in attendance hours when it comes time to do payroll
- Increased employee satisfaction due to self-service options, such as time off requests and shift swaps via the TimeForge employee mobile app
“I see a lot less errors when I do payroll audits at the end of each week,” said Morgan when commenting on the amount of time saved by using TimeForge.
“The payroll export is really easy, and the process of approving payroll is really smooth,” said Amber Leonard, Payroll and Benefits Manager for Woods.
Leonard also noted that she enjoys the paperless aspect of TimeForge, which keeps her desk from becoming cluttered with reports.
Woods Supermarket looks forward to continued success with TimeForge
By implementing TimeForge, Woods Supermarket was able to achieve its goals of:
- becoming more proactive in managing labor,
- gaining day-to-day visibility into operations,
- and reducing labor expenses, including preventable overtime.
The business was also able to reduce the amount of time spent on day-to-day processes, such as transferring employees between stores, building the schedule, and managing seasonal hires.
Another thing Woods gained: a trusted, responsive labor management partner that truly understands the grocery industry and is prepared to help them work through industry-specific challenges.
“The TimeForge team has been great to work with,” said Morgan, commenting on her experiences both during and after implementation. “They always respond very promptly.”
As Woods Supermarket continues to save on labor, they look forward to expanding their usage of TimeForge to take advantage of even more functionality and benefits.