In 2011, Israel’s largest supermarket chain in Israel embraced QM7’s ability to bring order to a critical part of its organization. With 8 marketing chains, Shufersal employs 13,500 men and women, hundreds of which are engaged in day-to-day maintenance. When Avner Siaki started as IT Director at Shufersal’s headquarters, he was confronted with a problem that did not seem to have an easy solution: How to manage the chain’s physical maintenance issues in its 254 branches.
Shufersal was founded in 1958, trades on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and appears on its Tel Aviv 100 Index. In addition to its marketing chains with hundreds of shops countrywide, it has a logistics center supporting sales by the Internet, fax, and phone and has its own store brand. Hundreds of employees take care of physical operations: Health and safety, plumbing, electricity, airconditioning and similar issues. Each branch receives quarterly calls – often surprise visits - by municipal inspectors, who publish their findings in reports. These various documents are submitted to Shufersal’s headquarters, which will then address any problems to be corrected or face stiff fines.
Shufersal’s Director of Maintenance faced weekly meetings with 15 managers, responsible for these employees. There was no task management software. “Every manager would come in carrying a stack of Excel files as thick as the yellow pages,” says Siaki. “They employed at least one person each, just putting together these Excel files every week. Meetings were very inefficient as Excel was simply not built for the purpose of coordinating tasks or keep track of history.” Avner Siaki decided to introduce task management software QM7 as a 40-license pilot project and the result was explosive. The employees charged with putting together the Excel files took to QM7 as fish take to water – with minimal training. Within days they had adopted the program, were coordinating across departments and had dropped the previous way of doing things. “I was surprised, to say the least.” Says Siaki. “I felt like telling them to hold on. Hey, it’s just a pilot project! But of course it was obvious we had a winner and we never looked back.”
The initial pilot project’s success did not end there. Just a few days later, the next weekly Maintenance Department meeting was held without stacks of files. Instead of endless files, there was an overhead projector, hooked to a PC, showing QM7’s tasks and their status. The meeting’s agenda was built with QM7 and decisions resulting from the meeting were instantly distributed with QM7. What used to take three-hours was now concluded within 60 minutes. Within a few more weeks even the size of the meetings was reduced. Every manager would just come in for the relevant half hour with the Maintenance Director and then get on with his work. “Imagine the cost savings that resulted from introducing QM7. Instead of 15 managers spending 3 hours a week in meetings, it became one manager at a time, spending half an hour. For a business that relies on profit margins of 2%, this is a significant improvement.” Siaki also discarded a previous management - tasking tool in favor of QM7. “That was possibly the simplest of all. QM7 just converted the data from the old program and employees could seamlessly continue with the tasks they had open and have access to the 20,000 task history.”
QM7 is clearly not just a task management tool. At Shufersal it has become a management tool and has changed the way company views operational issues. “When a software can change the way you think, rather than focus on fixing the immediate problem, you know you have a winning solution.” Concludes Avner Siaki. Shufersal now manages its entire headquarters with QM7 Task Management Software.