Staff scheduling in sports retail: The entrepreneur Rüdiger Günl speaks about its benefits and his experience working with SEAK software.
Scheduling employees as productively as possible is a basic principle for managers in retail. But as the number of stores and employees increases, this becomes an outright challenge without intelligent, sophisticated software for staffing requirements planning.
Decisions are often made based on a “gut feeling”, because the numbers and data that ensure clarity and objectivity are missing.
Using an IT system for the first time then almost inevitably leads to an eye-opening experience. This applies to Rüdiger Günl, owner of eight Intersport stores in Saxony and Thuringia. In the spring of 2016, the entrepreneur decided to implement the IT solution from SEAK Software, based in Reinbek, which he and his store managers have been using ever since to manage employees. We asked the retail professional a few questions.
What led to the decision to invest in SEAK staff scheduling software?
Rüdiger Günl: We had been dealing with the topic for quite a while. Then we took over a sports shop that already worked with IT from SEAK. We found that compared with other providers the SEAK solution is the most comprehensive and reflects the reality of our business down to the last detail.
Hence our decision to use this staff scheduling software in all branches.
Which details specifically does SEAK reflect well?
Günl: For example, the large range of comparison figures that can be called up, the possibility of storing advertising campaigns in the plan, and that they consider regional conditions such as the dates of school holidays, which are different between Saxony and Thuringia.
Since introducing SEAK Software, what is working better now than before?
Günl: Working with the system prompts us to think about topics that were previously overlooked.
It starts with how we used to schedule employees in the mornings: Our stores open at 09:00 am. In the past, up to five employees were already present at each store by 8:30 a.m. – without really being productive. Now, only two employees arrive at 8:30 and another two begin at 9:00 a.m., with the fifth starting at 9:30 a.m.
Does it make a big difference?
Günl: Yes, this reduction in lead time is individually small, but it becomes significant when extrapolated to the entire company. It allows us to save four hours a day across all stores, which comes to more than 1,200 hours a year.
We then have these hours available to schedule specifically during times, when our consulting and service quality needs to be our highest priority.
Can you share a few more numbers?
Günl: Thanks to the SEAK system, we were able to reduce overtime by 80 percent – all in the first year alone and with the same number of employees.
Which data analysis do you particularly like to look at?
Günl: Figures that show that we have become more productive. The number of working hours that we use to achieve the planned turnover has decreased noticeably.
Which employees work with the software from SEAK?
Günl: First and foremost, our store managers.
Did you have to persuade anyone to use it?
Günl: Yes, sometimes. Some people felt patronized by the software. Over time, however, they discovered that IT can be a valuable supporting tool.
For example, secondary activities that have nothing to do with sales can be planned much more effectively now.
What does the use of this software mean for your sales staff?
Günl: The bottom line is that our teams have become more flexible when it comes to working times – which is beneficial for the company, as well as each employee individually. Because the system also makes it easier to take into account people’s individual working time requirements, as well as their leisure time plans and preferences.
Could you briefly share your impression of the training and support available at SEAK?
Günl: The system is very comprehensive and therefore big But thanks to the training we received from a consultant at SEAK, we were able to quickly benefit from the software. Getting in touch with someone from the support team at SEAK is quick and easy.
Have any wishes been left open?
Günl: At the moment we focus more on doing our “homework” and really putting to use the great range of capabilities that this software offers.
Is there anything you are dissatisfied with?
Günl: Yes. It annoys me that I invested in this software so late. We should have done that years ago.
About the company
Through his GÜ-Sport-Mode-Freizeit-Reise Vertriebs GmbH company, managing director Rüdiger Günl controls a total of eight Intersport stores. These are located in Wilkau-Haßlau (company headquarters), Glauchau, Meerane, Altenburg-Windischleuba, Chemnitz (2) and Zwickau (2). The assortment includes a range of sportswear for team sports, water sports, tennis, outdoor, fitness & training, leisure fashion, winter sports, cycling and running. Günl employs 88 people (excluding logistics).
We thank Mr. Rüdiger Günl for the interview. The interview was conducted by retail journalist Bruno Reiferscheid.
Photos © Rüdiger Günl