ReThink opened its doors in 2011 when co-founders, Simon and Sue Hedaux, spotted a gap in the market. Having worked in retail and workforce management (WFM) for many years they knew that businesses needed detailed data about their operations. However, not all retailers were generating this information and, if they did, they weren’t always sure what to do with it.
ReThink fills this gap, helping retailers like Costa, Boots and Vodafone to understand every facet of running their business from the bottom up. This includes developing detailed insight to issues like:
- How long different tasks take to complete
- Whether the right processes are in place
- What they can do to save or reinvest money
- Whether the right roles are doing the right tasks
By helping retailers understand typical retail problems like these, ReThink is able to provide the data that leads on to bigger questions about how retailers can effectively deploy their staff.
Both REPL and ReThink help retailers solve their workforce problems so it was only a matter of time before their paths crossed.
Partnering with REPL
REPL and ReThink first worked together when Simon was leading on workload-based salary budgeting and Sue was head of productivity at Boots and REPL supported some WFM work at the retailer. When Simon left to start ReThink, he realised there was a natural synergy between the two businesses: “ReThink does the detailed data work around labour standards, productivity reviews and measurement, organisational design and change to help businesses save up to 5% of their operating costs.
“We break down tasks, like till transactions, into their component parts to calculate the average amount of time each job takes. Then we can calculate how many transactions are completed per year and the labour minutes required across the business.
“From this data we can calculate potential productivity savings, for example, we can advise retailers that increasing the number of contactless payments by 50% could save £1m on labour.”
As Chris Love, one of REPL’s managing partners, describes it: “ReThink gets retailers excited about WFM and helps them to make the business case for WFM investment. REPL helps them choose and implement the right tool to plan and manage their workforce.”
With so much industry expertise and insight and similar forward thinking cultures that continuously push the boundaries, it was inevitable that ReThink and REPL would develop a close relationship.
One outcome of the alliance is the Planning and Productivity Forum that’s run every year. This event brings leading retailers, hospitality brands and more together to talk about WFM with guest speakers providing insight throughout the day. With increasing attendance year on year, the forum – like the REPL ReThink alliance – is going from strength to strength.
But ReThink and REPL do more than share knowledge. They spotted an opportunity to provide retailers with an end-to-end WFM solution by combining two of their tools:
- ReTime is a workstudy data capture tool that addresses the limitations of existing solutions. The ReTime app collates labour standards data, calculates downloadable results and generates productivity insights faster and smarter.
- ADAPT is a full suite of WFM tools that calculate, manage and analyse labour models to strategically reduce costs while delivering business growth. The software is built to enable workforce planners to run multiple scenarios, create advanced schedules using artificial intelligence and identify opportunities to elevate customer satisfaction through accurate what-if planning and analysis.
“Normally, retailers’ second biggest cost is labour after property,” says Simon. “This presents an enormous opportunity for customer facing businesses to save or reinvest money.” To do this, retailers need a complete, end-to-end solution that provides accurate WFM data and the technology to use it.
This combined solution takes retailers from trying to calculate workforce requirements based on inaccurate data that’s five or ten years old to working with complete, correct data. From incomplete information and guesswork to pinpoint accuracy and strategic decision making.
As Chris says: “If an organisation wants to use ADAPT, they have to have labour standards. It’s a classic case of rubbish in, rubbish out. And it’s why linking with ReThink has been so important.”
Using the two systems together also delivers significant financial benefits as Chris notes: “The implementation of both systems means millions of pounds of labour cost savings which, in a competitive environment, is really important. The systems also gives really great insight into retail businesses, insight that can improve customer service, make employees more motivated and retain staff.”
Despite having worked on a number of projects together, the ReTime/ADAPT integration is fairly new and offers an exciting opportunity for retailers. “Both companies have seen lots of organisations that have started and stalled on their WFM journey,” says Simon. “But REPL and ReThink have both got enough experience to know what best practice is and to avoid the pitfalls that the uneducated can make in this area. This means we can avoid costly errors and provide a good steer on the best way forwards.”
What does the future hold for the alliance? “As both organisations are passionate about WFM and its importance to retailers, we’ll continue to develop the Planning and Productivity Forum,” says Chris. “We’ve built up a community of retailers who benefit from networking and sharing best practice. And we’ve also created informal partnerships that have helped REPL, ReThink and retailers in the past. The integration of ReTime and ADAPT is the next step on this journey: by formalising these systems we will benefit retailers into the future.”
Build the foundations for better retail workforce management. Get in touch with REPL on +44 (0) 808 200 7375 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.