SEAKWorkforce Managementprovides a significant relief for managers at GANT stores as well as more transparency with regard to staff performance and the available hourly budget. But most importantly: hourly productivity has increased since the software was introduced.
The original American premium lifestyle brand GANT is the epitome of European elegance combined with American sportswear since 1949. Founded in 1949 near Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut – and famous for the legendary Oxford button-down shirt popular with students and professors at American elite universities, the label continues to represent the East Coast lifestyle to this day.
The GANT collection series offers high-quality clothing for men, women and children, as well as watches, sunglasses and home wares. The GANT brand is a symbol and a promise – of authenticity, passion and innovation, according to the company’s motto “Never Stop Learning”.
“We were able to reduce the workload for store managers. They now have a perfect overview of staff performance and the available hourly budget. This enables them to plan much more independently than before. Since introducing the SEAK system, we have also recorded an increase in hourly productivity.”Stephan Speckmann, IT Director DACH region
The GANT DACH GmbH, headquartered in Holzwickede, Westphalia, controls 38 stand-alone stores and 14 outlets in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Almost 480 employees identify with the brand and its values. With this many people, effective staff scheduling becomes a necessity. When deciding to invest in 2012, the choice fell on SEAK. We had a few questions for Stephan Speckmann, IT Director DACH at GANT.
What problems did you set out to solve with SEAK software?
Stephan Speckmann: Before introducing SEAKproHR, staff scheduling was a time-consuming task, carried out at each store individually with tools developed in-house using Excel. Producing precise enough plans was difficult. We wanted to find a smarter and more efficient option for our colleagues.
What did you change?
Speckmann: Above all, the staff scheduling quality has improved. Those in charge can now plan on the basis of historical data and according to precise specifications for turnover, staff hours and visitor frequencies. We are supported by automated planning proposals and able to consistently align your staff use to your needs.
What is working better now?
Speckmann: We were able to reduce the workload for store managers. They now have a perfect overview of staff performance and the available hourly budget. This enables them to plan much more independently than before. Since introducing the SEAK system, we have also recorded an increase in hourly productivity.
Which employees work with the software from SEAK?
Speckmann: Apart from managing stores, the solution is also useful for back office activities such as processing holiday requests and other workflows. Further, the key figures provided by SEAKproHR from footfall and sales data, are taken into account for controlling and retail budget plans.
Are there any topics that you have been able to discuss with your employees in a more differentiated way since the introduction of SEAK, or that you are now addressing for the first time?
Speckmann: Since we introduced SEAKproHR, everyone is finally speaking the same language. The key figures are easy to understand and comparable, especially after bringing together turnover, area and visitor frequency.
“The employee service portal, where employees can digitally submit their holiday requests, as well as register working hours and check their balance independently, can also be accessed on tablets in each store.”Stephan Speckmann, IT Director GANT DACH
How do you measure the success of your investment in SEAK software?
Speckmann: Above all by the increased hourly productivity.
Which evaluations do you watch most closely?
Speckmann: In addition to information on the conversion rate, I especially look out for figures that show whether the hours worked correspond to the budget and whether a store was over- or understaffed.
On which devices do you use the SEAK solutions?
Speckmann: We use the software on all our devices, including mobile ones. The employee service portal, where employees can digitally submit their holiday requests, as well as register working hours and check their balance independently, can also be accessed on tablets in each store. This solution works really well even for employees on the sales floor, whose working times are not registered via a time recording terminal.
What is your experience with SEAK’s support and hotline?
Speckmann: As a veteran in IT, I have had to deal with a number of hotlines over the years. SEAK stands out very positively. There are no long waiting times and communication with support staff is very simple and straightforward.
What is your impression of how the SEAK team works together – from sales to support team, consultants and trainers?
Speckmann: My impression is that communication routes are short at SEAK. The development, support and sales teams seem to work closely together.
Is there anything that particularly surprised you?
Speckmann: First of all, the smooth integration was surprising. The core users in our teams were introduced to the software through training sessions, which were well structured and tailored to our needs.
In your opinion, what attribute defines SEAK?
Have any wishes been left open?
Speckmann: We look forward to the announced update of the employee service portal which will apparently feature a responsive design. Other than that, we are perfectly happy with the software.
Looking ahead: What are you planning for the future? Where do you see a need for action?
Speckmann: There is a trend towards more home office, as well as generally more mobile workplaces. We need the appropriate tools to deal with that, which is why we will use the Employee Service Portal even more intensively in the future than we are now.
We thank GANT IT Director Stephan Speckmann for the interview. The interview was conducted by retail journalist Bruno Reiferscheid.
Photos © GANT DACH GmbH