In 2002, Metro Cash & Carry, with a €25 billion turnover and 77,000 employees, began taking a hard look at its employee scheduling and forecasting methodology. It had largely been handling these tasks at store level using paper-based schedules, Excel spreadsheets and regional software solutions. Schedules were mostly based on historical sales figures. When sales were expected to spike, store managers would respond by increasing staff numbers with little scientific basis.
Berthold Steur, project manager at Metro Cash & Carry, says his company was convinced that putting this approach under the microscope would reveal inefficiencies that could be addressed with the implementation of a store-based labour scheduling and forecasting application.
Berthold Steur developed and issued an RFI with a list of about 150 questions on the specifications being sought. WorkPlace Systems scored the highest, with in excess of 90% of the requirements met. This process took about one year, and included a number of workshops and meetings as Metro narrowed down the field of vendors.