Sainsbury's has deployed a multi-million pound software system from TempoSoft to improve the efficiency and visibility of staff scheduling.
The solution, deployed by Sainsbury's outsourced IT provider Accenture, will allow the supermarket group to schedule 150,000 employees across 450 stores.
Taking information from Sainsbury's Oracle HR database, and a demand forecasting system powered by information from in-store EPoS systems, it produces detailed schedules for each employee.
The TempoSoft software uses complex calculations to balance employee skills, preferences and contract terms with detailed information about productivity and business needs. Employees are allocated tasks and break times in 15 minute time slots.
A reporting engine compiles data about labour costs, staff performance and customer service levels for central management and human resources departments.
The project is among the largest and most complex of its kind in the world, TempoSoft claims.
Sainsbury's senior retail change manager Martin Richards said: 'Our stores have given TempoSoft a rapturous reception. It used to take more than three days to produce a typical weekly schedule and this can now be generated in minutes.
'The TempoSoft technology implemented by Accenture, combined with our extensive business change programme has already contributed to a 20 per reduction in queue lengths and a 30 per cent increase in scheduling efficiency.'