Monday, June 23, 2008

Corporate Control

I work for a major retail corporation. Awhile back the corporation decided that their computer program was better able to judge how many associates needed to be scheduled in the stores, than the managers that work in the stores.

The managers were told that the computer would be making the schedules and that changes couldn't be made. I'm told that the computer bases the scheduling on last year's sales for that day. The computer isn't programmed to take into account events that are happening in our area, it doesn't seem to be programmed to 'know' when it is a weekend. It doesn't 'know' that we may have had bad weather on a given day last year that affected the sales.

As a result of this, on the weekends there aren't any floor associates scheduled and very few cashiers. Many nights, including Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we have only 4 cashiers after 8:00 pm, there have been nights where there were only 2 cashiers scheduled. We are expected to give fast, friendly service, and not have lines, with 4 or fewer cashiers. Most nights, and always on the weekends, there aren't any floor associates to call up to run register in the case of lines. There aren't any floor associates to help the customers that need help in the different departments.

I have to wonder if the computer really does schedule according to last year's sales because, all summer long, every night we have the camp councilor kids in, 4 to 6 vans of them from the different camps in our area, plus the tourists and our regular customers. The computer is not scheduling for this, even though it is a yearly occurance.

None of this makes any sense to me. It is my opinion that the assistant manager that works over each area knows how many associates they need at any given time throughout the day. They know when events are in the area and how many extra people they would need to compensate for the extra customers. They know when it is a weekend.

In my opinion, a person should be making the schedule not a computer. Maybe it works for larger stores in big cities but it doesn't work for smaller stores. I know that the customer shopping experience would be greatly improved if we had more people scheduled than we do, especially at night.

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