FMI (The Food Industry Association) proclaims Feb. 22, Supermarket Employee Day – a time for the food industry to recognize employees at every level for the work they do feeding families and enriching lives.

Supermarkets are the backbone of our communities, and the COVID-19 pandemic showed us how critical the supermarket employees was to our daily lives. We may remember those empty shelves and the battle for toilet paper but perhaps we forgot that the supermarket employee maintained the critical pipeline of food and customer goods that sustain the health and well-being of our families. During the pandemic many businesses were forced to close their doors or lay off workers. In contrast, grocery stores increased their total number of employees by 10%, or roughly 500,000 individuals.

There are more than 40,000 stores that sell food and grocery items in the U.S. alone. Millions of supermarket employees come to work daily to keep shelves stocked and provide communities with essential services that help them survive and thrive. Despite supply chain disruptions or workforce reductions, supermarket employees have demonstrated trojan efforts to keep communities going. So, if you have the chance, it’s important to thank these frontline workers today – and every day.

Retail technology continues to evolve, and grocery retailers know that they cannot be left behind the curve. The pandemic drove an increase in online shopping and grocery retailers were not immune to the huge interest in buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, and buy-online-same-day-delivery. Not to mention scan-n-go and self-checkout solutions, which have moved some of the cashier roles of past to new roles as the picker and packer of the orders. This expansion of options for the customer has stretched the supermarket employee further than ever before, and retailers can benefit with modern day workforce management systems to allow their employees the flexibility and visibility they desire.

Recently, Schnucks grocery store in the St. Louis area, introduced Flexforce. This allows the employees to optimize their work schedules by selecting shifts and store locations that best fit their personal schedules while creating opportunities for growth and learning.

“At Schnucks, a primary goal is to position our teammates for success, and we are excited to offer this new opportunity to both our current and prospective teammates,” said Schnucks Chief People Officer Laura Freeman. “Much like rideshare and food delivery service employees, Flexforce teammates will be able to seek and claim shifts at the time and location of their choosing.”

Talk about ahead of their time – Schnucks once again shows their leadership position in the regional grocery business by leading the way with technology. Robotics, electronic shelf labels, and smart carts technology all have added to the customer experience for Schnucks – so meeting their employee needs with flexible scheduling is world class.

For my family, I get the pleasure of doing the weekly grocery shopping. Having worked in retail for over 30 years and spending almost half of that time working on the frontline, I have a special appreciation for the supermarket employees. You can see the dedication of the employees and how passionate they are about their stores, as well as how they are part of the fabric of their communities. Not to mention that the supermarket customer can be very demanding.

I’ve made a career out of working in retail and I love that I get to now help supermarkets run more efficiently and deliver exceptional experiences with Blue Yonder’s grocery solutions.

Today we celebrate the dedicated employees that fill the shelves, ring the register, pack the groceries for pick up or delivery, keep the store clean, and watch over the self-checkout – you have earned our gratitude and we celebrate our front-line heroes!

Why Blue Yonder?

If you would like help delighting your employees and customers, controlling labor or boosting profitability with technology, Blue Yonder’s Industry Strategy leads are available to help you reach your goals. Reach out today.

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