Empower the Connected Workforce to Deliver Superior Customer Experience

Produced by

Kim Anderson

Vice President of Operations Support, Schnuck Markets, Inc

Kevin Coupe

Content Guy for MorningNewsBeat.com
Morning News Beat

Tom Henry

Chief Data Officer & Deputy CIO
Schnuck Markets, Inc

In this panel discussion led by Kevin Coupe, Content Guy for MorningNewsBeat.com, Schnuck Markets' executives Kim Anderson, Vice President of Operations Support, and Tom Henry, Chief Data Officer & Deputy CIO, shared profound insights into empowering a connected workforce to deliver superior customer service. The conversation, underpinned by a mix of strategy, technology, and human-centric approaches, provided a forward-looking perspective on retail operational excellence.

Kim and Tom delved into the essence of breaking down silos within organizations to foster a more unified and efficient operation. Kim underscored the synergy between Schnuck's IT, data, and operations teams, attributing their success to the seamless partnership that allows for the elimination of traditional barriers. "Having that partnership is really what allows us to get all this stuff done otherwise," Kim highlighted, stressing the importance of collaboration for achieving business goals.

Tom shared his journey from healthcare to retail, bringing a fresh perspective to Schnuck Markets. He emphasized the transformative role of agile methodologies and customer-centered design in driving their connected workforce initiative. "Breaking down the silos enabled connected workforce," Tom explained, detailing how his experience with advanced math solvers and demand forecasting significantly contributed to optimizing resource use and improving customer service.

The speakers also addressed the challenges they faced, including adapting to the 'Great Resignation' and streamlining operations amidst a reduced workforce. Tom pinpointed inefficiency and waste as key issues, advocating for technology and data to augment human efforts in focusing on customer interactions rather than backend tasks.

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A poignant example shared by Kim involved building a flex force where employees could choose shifts that suited them, enhancing job satisfaction and operational flexibility. Tom further elaborated on the notion of a connected workforce as not just a set of tools but a comprehensive program encompassing communication, alignment, and rewards, aimed at enriching the employee experience and fostering a culture of innovation and feedback.

Schnuck Markets' approach to forecasting was a central theme, with both speakers discussing the significance of a unified forecast for inventory management, scheduling, and strategic planning. This approach not only streamlines operations but also ensures that employees are equipped with the necessary tools and information to excel in their roles, directly impacting customer satisfaction.

Kim shared a specific example of how Schnuck Markets navigated supply chain challenges by prioritizing tasks based on importance, allowing employees to focus on the most critical work each day. This strategic prioritization has empowered team members, enhanced their sense of ownership, and improved customer service.

Tom provided insights into the company's innovative strategies for adjusting forecast models in real-time to adapt to external changes, such as weather events or market dynamics. This agility has enabled Schnuck Markets to maintain a competitive edge by swiftly responding to customer needs and market trends.

Throughout the discussion, the theme of nurturing both employees and customers emerged strongly. The panelists underscored the importance of creating a connected, empowered workforce as a cornerstone for delivering exceptional customer service. By leveraging technology, fostering collaboration, and embracing a data-driven approach, Schnuck Markets exemplifies how retail organizations can adapt, thrive, and distinguish themselves in a rapidly evolving industry landscape.

APRIL 2024