5 Insights into How Global Retailer Auchan is Planning to Save 11,000 Employee Hours per Day by using Smartphone Scanning

By Natasha Sandoval, Vice President of Marketing, Scandit 

80% of people are significantly influenced by a company’s use of the latest digital tools when looking for potential employers, while companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147% (The Engaged Workplace, Gallup). And according to Forrester Research, 89% of retailers increased their investment in smartphone initiatives in 2019. Equipping retail workers with the latest digital technology is therefore a great way to attract, motivate and retain the best talent – while also helping to drive efficiency and transform retail operations.

Scandit explored this topic in-depth in a webinar with Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst George Lawrie and Cornel Crisan, a retail industry expert who in the recent past led French retailer Auchan’s successful employee mobility program. The webinar explores how a global plan to take retail operations mobile for 360,000 staff in 14 countries was developed and proven, and details the essential role of Scandit-powered barcode scanning on smart devices.  

During the webinar, Cornel Crisan emphasizes that with 60% of employees performing over 200 scans daily within their job roles, high quality and reliable scanning performance on mobile devices is simply a must-have. By deploying fast, enterprise-grade mobile scanning across all of their stores, Auchan anticipates substantial potential savings of around 11,000 employee hours per day. 

Alongside the time and efficiency savings, rolling out smartphones to replace hardware scanners allows Auchan to rationalize and simplify their existing infrastructures as they go, reducing the TCO (total cost of ownership) by up to 50%. In fact, their business case showed that only 10 minutes of employee productivity per day proved to be enough to cover the global cost of the mobility project.

Here I’ll highlight five key takeaways and insights shared by Cornel Crisan, that any retailer can use to successfully transform their operations and employee workflows with smartphone scanning, including:

  • Think of it as a change management program – business case and employee communications are key
  • Involve your employees – tap into their knowledge
  • Decide on your device ownership strategy – BYOD or COPE?
  • Start with the basics – you don’t need all the answers upfront
  • Good enough scan performance is NOT enough – performance is critical for adoption

You can see the full webinar replay here to hear more about Auchan’s mobility program, including the vision, starting point, transformation pillars and some startling KPI results, as well as some key retail industry insights from Forrester. 

#1 – Think of it as a change management program

When assessing your employee mobility strategy, think of it as a change management program – where technology is an enabler. In Auchan’s case, HR had a vision of enabling staff to work fundamentally differently in stores. No retailer wants new devices and mobile apps simply to create a fancy in-store environment. Business agility, employee engagement, company image & attractiveness, customer proximity & satisfaction are all key goals for retailers. Identifying the use cases to achieve your stated goals, supported by strong internal communications and a clear business case are critical to the ultimate success.

#2 – Involve your employees to understand and address their pain points

To succeed in changing how employees work, you must consult with, involve and empower them in the planning stages of the project and communicate on every step of the journey. They truly understand the pain points and inefficiencies in the workflows and tasks they complete everyday, helping you highlight the potential gains by automating them.

A few examples:

  • Give employees the useful information they need and the confidence to answer any customer question on the spot. A simple scan on mobile devices offers immediate access to instant product information such as description, price validation, competitor price comparisons and stock availability.
  • No more long treks to the backroom to print labels for associates. Transform shelf management with shelf label printing on mobile printers in aisles to avoid wasting time and adding needless extra steps to every shift.
  • Speed up stock taking and eliminate arduous paper-based processes for staff. Scanning products for stock taking in real-time with a smart device is quicker and more accurate, with the ability to re-order stock and manage the receipt of goods much faster on the same device.

#3 – Decide on your device ownership strategy

Deploying smartphones into retail operations allows retailers to rationalize into one single device for multiple tasks to empower employees to collaborate, perform routine tasks faster and better serve customers. It can also drastically reduce maintenance and security costs. When moving to consumer devices in a professional environment, you must clearly define the right ownership model for your environment.  

  • BYOD –  Bring Your Own Device

A BYOD policy offers speed of deployment (simply download the employee app) and allows staff to use their personal, familiar device, but raises questions around liability, consistent user experience, security, device management and the ability to provide professional support across a large variety of devices.  

  • COPE – Corporate Owned Personally Enabled

For a large retailer with staff distributed across multiple countries such as Auchan, industrializing the deployment with corporate owned devices with optional personal use provided the best option. This method enables the guarantee of a perfect user experience, while still letting employees choose (and use) their device for personal purposes. Providing devices that are double sim also allows employees to insert their personal sim for a better experience. This also led to better adoption and reduced loss and breakage rates.

#4 – Start with the basics

Search for and solve the irritants!  Start with the retail basics, such as creating new efficiencies across your operations by bringing barcode scanning to employees everywhere, then expand to new areas. Empowering employees with high performance mobile scanning makes it fast and easy to do retail operations tasks like shelf management. No more sharing pool devices results in greater productivity, get the benefits of the same user experience in work as employees have in their personal lives on consumer devices, promoting more collaborative working amongst staff and helping them to remain in closer proximity to customers.  Scandit’s scan engine can ensure top performance scanning and accuracy in all conditions on over 21,000 models of smart device, including the ability to scan in bad light, at any angle and with damaged labels.

Once the foundations are in place, continue to innovate as technology and your organization matures. This could include introducing Augmented Reality (AR) in your apps that gives employees or customers real-time product information overlaid onto direct on their device screen just by scanning a product barcode. It creates more opportunities to simplify tasks, improve efficiencies and create loyal customers.

#5 – Good enough scan performance is NOT enough

Don’t go for good-enough technology when it comes to critical functions like scanning. Choosing a technology partner who can deliver superior scanning performance is essential.  

“In Auchan’s case, the mobility program would not have happened without the valuable partnership with Scandit.  Scandit’s ability to bring fast, accurate smartphone scanning, along with ongoing and responsive enterprise level support in a mobile world that is moving fast, ensures that Auchan can continually empower employees and delight customers.”Cornel Crisan, Employee Mobility Program Director, former Auchan

Scandit ultimately helps retailers automate end-to-end retail operations by moving routine processes and tasks onto mobile devices powered by our high-performance barcode scanning software. Talk to us about how to delight your customers and re-engineer retail operations with mobile-scanning and augmented reality (AR) in store, back of house and at home.

If you’re ready to find out more:

And we’d love to talk, so connect with us for more information.

Posted in Retail