Supermarket chain Albert Heijn starts restocking at night
Customers can’t stand it: shelf fillers blocking the aisles when they are trying to do their shopping. By doing some of the restocking at night, it keeps customers happy and it also has logistical advantages for the supermarket.
A study was carried out to see if it was possible for Albert Heijn to do some of their shelf restocking in the evening or even at night. The situation was unclear because the collective labour agreement did not cover working in night shifts and the supermarket employees had not worked at night before either.
More night shifts possible now
Albert Heijn asked Déhora to carry out trials in 10 pilot stores in order to explore the available options. It quickly became clear that the employees, who had all volunteered to take part in the trials, did not mind working at night. The supermarket managers were also pleased with the outcome: every morning the store was perfectly clean and the shelves were all properly filled.
One problem area, however, was the number of night shifts per week. According to the rules adopted by Albert Heijn, employees were not allowed to work more than 2 or 3 night shifts per week. Déhora quickly pointed out to Albert Heijn that the wording of the Working Hours Act meant a solution could still be found. Under the Working Hours Act, the number of hours are added up that an employee works between 00.00 and 06.00 hours over a period of 14 days.
With some creative shift roster design, employees would still be able to work 5 to 6 night shifts per week. This was a solution that was acceptable to everyone involved, including the representatives of the works council.
Roll-out of the new shift rosters
Déhora also advised Albert Heijn to increase the size of the night shift to absorb the effect of any sickness absenteeism. It was also safer to have at least three instead of two employees working in the supermarket at night. Since then, Albert Heijn has introduced restocking at night in dozens of its stores. Following the success of the workshop, Déhora has been supporting Albert Heijn with the transition to the new shift rosters.