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Guitar Center plays new labor management tune


For a highly specialized retailer like specialty music chain Guitar Center, keeping track of store labor can pose extra challenges.

“Our customers want knowledgeable associates for specific instruments,” explained Alex Khamudis, manager of store labor for Westlake Village, California-based Guitar Center. “How do you figure out when to schedule experts, and how many, across four separate departments like guitar and drums?”

Compounding the difficulty of Guitar Center’s store labor management task is the fact the retailer operates 270 stores across 46 states. Its previous manual spreadsheet-based solution proved time-consuming and could not be scaled chainwide.

“We wanted a solution that was automated and delivered on a cloud-based, SaaS basis,” said Khamudis.

Utilizing those criteria, Guitar Center selected the Ceridian Dayforce workforce management platform to overhaul store labor management. Initially, the retailer rolled out basic scheduling functionality. This was gradually followed by implementations of more advanced scheduling capabilities, as well as task management and time and attendance modules.

“We could create store-level labor forecasts down to 15-minute increments,” said Khamudis. “We knew if we needed someone who was expert in guitars between 11 a.m. and noon.”

In addition, store managers could use an autofill feature to create complete work schedules in a matter of minutes, instead of the hours the previous manual process required. And managers gained access to labor intelligence, allowing them to compare forecasts to actual results, allowing continual improvement in the accuracy of advance scheduling.

According to Khamudis, among the other benefits Guitar Center obtained were the ability to let employees check in to work from any computer in the store, as well as an easy online view of all schedule data. In addition, store employees were given a tool to notify managers of vacation requests, preferred hours and other important scheduling information online.

“Labor is the largest store variable expense,” said Khamudis. “Dayforce let us get scheduling closer to the pin.”

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