Dutch discount retail chain HEMA arrived n Britain earlier this year; it has 10,000 employees across 650 stores in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain. Effective HR management plays a key role in its success as the European retailer saved £3 million Euros and increased employee productivity by 3%.
The company has built itself up a reputation for having self branded high-quality, low-priced housewares, apparel, home furnishings and fresh food products. The store is popular in its home country, with one in five women wearing one of its bras and one in three boys wearing a pair of HEMA pants.
With more than 10,000 employees, the company recognizes that effective human resources management is critical to its success. Recently, HEMA decided to implement a new workforce management system, JDA Workforce Management. This was put in place in order to optimize labour costs while ensuring high customer service levels, and addressing all operations that characterize a multi-category retail business across all store formats.
By deciding to implement this new system, the company realised that effective human resources management was critical to its success. Efficiency manager at HEMA, Mischa Gijrath said “We quickly improved the productivity of our employees by 3 percent with JDA Workforce Management, and we lowered our costs by €3 million,” he stated.
He went on to say “If you look at the workforce management solution as a cost reduction program, then we’ve succeeded by more than 200 percent. We can see exactly which people are in the stores on a daily basis. We can see if stores are going up or down in sales. We can rank the stores by productivity. We couldn’t do this in the past.”
After only six months, HEMA has achieved a full return on its investment. JDA Advanced Scheduling enables HEMA to match associates’ time and skills to actual store traffic. This has improved accuracy on scheduling according to demand by about 18 percentage points, which enabled them to provide a better service to customers. The company has also been able to reduce employee hours overall and improve efficiency without lowering service level.
The store is predicted to do well in the UK and HEMA will have its pick of high-street sites when it opens stores beyond London. It claims to aim to make people’s lives more fun, shown by selling pink frying pans which are designed in-house. Analysts believe that HEMA could replace Woolworths, which disappeared from UK high streets in 2009.