West Salem Ace Hardware Reduces Scheduling Time by 75% with Deputy

  • Salem, Oregon
  • retail

At a glance

Replaced spreadsheets and legacy workforce management solutions with Deputy

Integrated Deputy into their tech stack in three weeks

Increased employee engagement and attendance

The Story

Opened in 1977, West Salem Ace Hardware has been a family-owned hardware store for 43 years.

“I’ve been involved in the store since 1982 when I was born,” says Heidi Mackay, owner of West Salem Hardware. “I used to come with my parents. I’ve been in the store ever since.” 

Heidi manages the store with her husband Jeremy. And with 25 people on staff, West Salem Ace Hardware is stocked with more than just quality products. This high-performing store employs a strategic mix of managers, assistant managers, supervisors, floor associates, and cashiers. 

In fact, West Salem has reached “Pinnacle status” — Ace’s elite level for the top-performing stores. To be part of that elite group, West Salem has to meet several requirements, including providing excellent customer service, provide ongoing training, and deliver aggressive sales.

I've been involved in the store since 1982 when I was born.
It would easily take us 20 to 30 minutes just to schedule out one week for our employees.
Ace Hardware employee talking

The Challenge

Before Deputy, West Salem used spreadsheets as their scheduling and staff management solution, which put their employee and revenue performance in jeopardy.

“Every day was essentially one or two people sitting in the back office for an hour figuring if this person or that person needed the weekend off, if they could only work 9:00 to 5:00, or if they worked overtime,” says Andrew Mulholland, assistant manager at West Salem Ace Hardware. 

In addition, the store had a problem with attendance. Staff showing up late to work, or not showing up at all.

The team first tried another workforce management solution but was quickly disappointed. 

“That was a pretty difficult process for us. We found the interface of their system to be really difficult,” says Andrew. “Not only for us as the planners, but for the staff in general.”

Common requests like time off to go to the dentist or attend a family member’s graduation put a wrench in their day. 

“I consider myself moderately tech-savvy, and even I had problems with their mobile app,” admits Andrew. 

In addition, it was easier to manually create schedules with spreadsheets than with the previous workforce management solution.

The Solution

At the Ace Spring conference in 2019, the CEO of Ace Hardware announced Deputy as Ace’s preferred workforce management platform. That sparked an additional incentive for all Ace Hardware stores to switch to Deputy’s more efficient workforce management solution.

“We had talked about really being unhappy with our scheduling program for a long time,” says Andrew. “When Ace corporate mentioned Deputy at the spring show, it seemed like a no-brainer.”

So West Salem implemented Deputy at their busiest time of year — when they typically do about 40% of their sales in two and a half months. They expected it to be hard and they didn’t expect the transition to be so fast.

“Even with it being so busy, Deputy was the least of our worries,” says Andrew. “We didn’t really have complaints and our staff pretty much adopted it wholeheartedly.”

The result speaks for itself.

West Salem finally has a simple and effective solution to let them get back to focusing on providing top service for its customers. 

“It would easily take us 20 to 30 minutes just to schedule out one week for our employees. Now we can easily do an entire month’s worth of schedule for the entire store in about 20 minutes,” says Andrew. “Deputy has allowed us to be a little bit more strategic with our scheduling by showing us when our sales are higher, lower days where we need more people.

On top of that, attendance has improved. 

“It’s definitely helped my staff be on time,” says Jeremy. “The app notifies my team when they have an upcoming shift and also lets them check leave balances, like sick time.”

West Salem also knows that if anything comes up, help is right around the corner. 

“With Deputy, we feel like we’re just a call away from being walked through whatever we need to figure out. That’s why it made it so easy for us to integrate it within about three weeks,” says Andrew.

Now West Salem can continue to be “the helpful place” that Ace Hardware is known for.

“Deputy gave us the tools to see better what we needed as a store and gave us the ability to talk to employees and say what we need from them. We’re able to tell our staff, ‘You’re part of this team, and this team needs to do this as a whole to provide our best help to the store, provide our best help to the customers, and for our community.’”

Now we can easily do an entire month's worth of schedule for the entire store in about 20 minutes.
Ace Hardware employee showing app