How to stay relevant when consumer habits change - Learning from libraries
Faith Popcorn's consumer trends 2007

Just-in-time shifts based on customer flows

Walmart has come-up with an innovative worker shift system. Shifts will be based on customer flows and employees will know it  3 weeks before!

I think this is an interesting evolution where shoppers, customer service and optimization of costs are at the central focus of this decision. As we move from a "mass manufacturing" era to "mass customization" era, new management principles and methods have to be invented for the companies of the future. We are yet to see some innovations in this area. If Alfred Sloan changed the auto manufacturing thinking for GM or if Henry Ford brought-in the mass manufacturing methods during early 1920s, the new service economy will have to dump the old economy rules and transition to new ones. Because, 24x7 businesses need to find innovative ways of developing superior customer service while balancing it with fair HR policies.

MSNBC reports:

Wal-Mart said the new system ensures that stores are fully staffed at peak shopping times and it takes into account the hours employees prefer to work.

“It is much friendlier and more predictable than the previous system in that it actually asks for our associates preferences of when they prefer to work,” Clark said.

She said under the old system, store managers drew up schedules based on the level of sales in a store. Now, increased staffing will coincide with times when customer traffic surges, she said.