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This iconic chain of hardware stores reduced turnover by 26% and hit 60% of their manager’s labor targets

United States
retail industry Retail

At a glance

  • Reduced turnover by 26% across five stores
  • 60% of managers have now hit their labor budget targets
  • Fewer call-outs and last-minute schedule changes

The Story

Established in 1926, Route 66 is one of America's original highways. Many traveled westward from Chicago to Los Angeles for a new beginning using this road. If you find yourself cruising down this historic route today, you’ll pass by one of Ace Hardware’s most impeccable stores: 66 Hardware.

66 Hardware opened its first store twenty-eight years ago. Today, it has expanded to operating five stores across Oklahoma and Texas. By the end of 2024, it will open its sixth location. 

With so much business growth over the years, one thing remains constant: all of the stores share the same mission of being an extraordinary place to work and an amazing place to shop. 

Their District Manager, David Zane, shares that there are around two hundred part-time and full-time employees combined across all their stores. He points out that what makes his growing team unique is the diverse working age groups—ranging from teens to seniors. 

As his team was growing, David realized his previous scheduling solution wasn’t robust enough to help his managers create efficient schedules, stay within their budgets, make last-minute changes, and streamline operations.

The Challenge

With their old platform, 66 Hardware couldn’t schedule staff efficiently across all their storefronts. Each location had its own set of goals, unique scheduling circumstances, and labor budgets to follow. 

Since their old system wasn’t easy to use, managers turned to manual processes instead, which caused them to lose time and efficiency when managing schedules.

“If a store manager weren’t tech savvy, they would use a piece of paper and pen, make photocopies of a sheet, fill it out, keep the schedules the same, and cross out those who were on leave,” David explains.  

Schedule management only became more complex when there were seasonal schedule variations. For example, managers wanted to hire more gardening staff during the end of the year or schedule more lighting staff during the holidays. 

Another hurdle managers faced when creating and editing schedules using pen and paper was adhering to their labor model and staying on budget. David shares, “They couldn’t see exactly what hours were used.” 

The Solution

Since using Deputy, managers have been able to gauge fluctuating demand and create schedules to match it using the software’s demand forecasting feature. 

This has helped managers create smart schedules and stay within labor budgets. In fact, 60% of their managers have now hit their labor targets because they can easily track wages compared to budget and sales within Deputy. 

Furthermore, managers have been able to create and optimize schedules with ease. They can make schedule changes on the fly or duplicate ideal schedules with a few clicks. By quickly updating and publishing schedules, employees can get their schedules faster, which has improved attendance and reduced turnover by 26% across the five stores. 

“The nice thing about Deputy is that there are fewer callouts and last-minute changes. If someone’s got a dentist appointment or going to be on vacation, there is the ability to be flexible with that,” says David.

That visibility and flexibility have positively impacted staff retention. He adds, “And without a doubt, our staff retention has definitely increased because employees know they can be flexible with their schedules. They could also pull out their phone and be a few clicks away from doing what they have to do when it comes to scheduling.”

When asked how Deputy has also helped his team boost team camaraderie, especially across a team of different working age groups, David shares: “We have a few old timers that need help with [scheduling using the app], and the younger employees [will pull out their phones] and teach the older team member, it just really opens the communication flow between staff, which is so refreshing.”

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