Survey: Grocery Labor Concerns No. 1

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With retiring baby boomers seismically changing the demographics of the U.S. workforce, the question of finding viable labor is of huge concern to grocers right now. In fact, grocery labor concerns are the top worry of 68 percent of supermarket managers across the nation, according to a recent survey by Progressive Grocer.

“Recruitment, retention, diversity and training of a workforce to propel (grocers) into a new era are seen as key concerns for the coming year,” confirms reporter Jim Dudlicek. “With millennials’ purchasing power continuing to grow and Generation Z’s not far behind, retailers are going to need to make the grocery industry more attractive as a career choice so their talent within reflects the audience to whom they need to appeal.”

Dudlicek points out most major grocery chains are already aggressively recruiting at all branches to try to meet their labor needs. And the ability to hire and train skilled workers is slated to become an even greater competitive differentiator in the future, he notes.

In the survey, managing employee benefits which was No. 1 last year dropped to No. 7 this year among challenges faced by grocers. The other 10 top concerns were:

  • threat of competition (#2)
  • keeping up with technology (#3)
  • managing online sales (#4)
  • market saturation (#5)
  • increasing overhead costs (#6)
  • benefits (#7)
  • price increases (#8)
  • sustainability (#9)
  • data protection/security (#10)

Reducing your labor costs

As forward-thinking grocers look for ways to reduce labor needs, they’re turning to all kinds of tools, technology and automated equipment that can make workflows simpler and more efficient.

One solution they’ve discovered is making the switch to RPCs instead of corrugated boxes for shipping their perishable products. Because RPCs are strong and designed to protect, there is less damage and mess to clean up that can occur from corrugated box failures. And, because RPCs can go directly from the backroom or truck directly to the shelf, they save associates hours of time previously spent unpacking boxes to restock shelves. By speeding up the restocking process, your customers are likely to find the product they want to buy on the shelf versus encountering empty shelves from backed-up workflows.

Finally, RPCs eliminate the need for your employees to cut open boxes, flatten, and then make the walk to the baler for disposal. A tiresome process that can take significant time away from the floor and your customers.

When you use Tosca RPCs, the containers are emptied, collapsed and put on a pallet in the backroom for return.

As you seek ways to streamline your labor intensive workflows, think about how Tosca could help make your supply chain more efficient. While RPCs can’t solve all your labor concerns, every little bit helps.

To learn more about how reusables create more efficient supply chains, click here.

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