Waitrose is to replace its staff planning system to maximise customer service.

The grocer has chosen a system from Dutch software provider Quintiq to help branch managers create optimal staff schedules.

Unlike some workforce management systems, where staffing decisions are made centrally, Waitrose branch managers will be able to make use of their local knowledge when using the system for staffing plans.

For instance, branch managers can model different scenarios to ensure that there are appropriate staffing levels for local events, while keeping an eye on overall customer service and profits.

The system has a fully configurable company-specific layer, so it can match Waitrose’s business, and staff can be allocated across different store types and over different periods of time.

The roll-out of the system will begin in the second half of next year, with all branches expected to be up and running by early 2010.

Waitrose project manager Andrew Wrigley said: “Excellent service comes from always having the right number of partners in the right place. With Quintiq, we expect to support branch managers in realising increased efficiencies in deploying partners.”

The grocer’s legacy workforce planning system has almost reached full capacity and was deemed unable to keep pace with planned expansion.