John Heaton, who owns Knupper Nursery, located in the greater Chicago area, is well known in the garden industry for his business skills. During a visit to Greenhouse Grower RETAILING‘s offices last year, he talked with us about how much Knupper has benefits from its online employee-scheduling tool. Such programs are fairly common, Heaton says, and after the putting it in place, he thinks it can clear up many of the scheduling headaches for other retailers, too.
John Heaton: The scheduling software that we use is really neat thing, I think.
Previously, we were using just a regular spreadsheet. People would give us notes, and we would lose notes — things like this. It was a very, very inefficient system that we had.
We wanted to find something that was efficient and professional — and we ended up find that. We looked for a new system by simply going online and searching for scheduling software.
We found a lot of different scheduling software, and we looked at the ratings. Almost all of them were good, so we took the top one.
So what we we ended up with was something internet-based. The employee can go on the internet, they can look at their schedule, and they can look at everybody’s schedule. They can trade schedules if they can’t make it some day, and they can go to someone that is qualified to do their job and request they fill in for them. We would approve that, because that’s what we’ve adjusted the program to. If it’s approved, it would go live, and everyone would see it.
Anyone could look at any schedule, or could request a vacation. If someone can’t work the Tuesday of every month in the afternoon, you can put that on the scheduling software — it just blacks them out automatically. If they’re going on vacation, it’s the same type of thing. If you would like it, you can get a text message to your phone whenever the schedule changes, and you can get a text message two hours before your shift starts, or the day before your shift starts — whatever you would like.
Especially since we work with so many kids and tech-savvy people, the shift planning has worked out very, very well. And that’s a really great software program, and helps us run the business much more efficiently.
Greenhouse Grower RETAILING: Has it helped you save money in any way, or is it helping mainly with efficiency?
HEATON: Yes. It’s just very efficient for scheduling. The propaganda that they put out says it saves you 80%, and I think they may be a little optimistic, but not very much. I think it does save and we just came up with three quarters and we’re quibbling over a few percent. But it saves very significant amount of time. But the accuracy and the dependability of it is where the real value lies.