Fresh Flowers Group solves its 24/7 workforce management challenges with Deputy
At a glance
- Cuts managers’ admin time for rostering and payroll by 50%
- Gives full visibility of staff across multiple locations and timezones
- Ensures the right staff are rostered on each shift to meet demand
The Fresh Flowers Group has grown from a small family business wholesaling flowers to an empire of multiple businesses in multiple locations, operating across several time zones.It now owns and manages its product supply chain end-to-end, growing flowers and herbs on its own farms plus sourcing plants from other growers, to distribute year round to supermarkets, grocers, independent florists and its own Aunty Poppies branded retail stores in Brisbane and Sydney. Additionally to this it operates cafes and function centres which require staff to be scheduled on at short notice.
Peter Lynch, now general manager of the group, has worked in the family business since he was 16 years old explains “__My father’s flower wholesale business just grew and grew, and since we’ve come on board my brother and I have diversified into new areas, including the growing market for herbs. I love growing our business — all aspects of it”.
"My father’s flower wholesale business just grew and grew, and since we’ve come on board my brother and I have diversified into new areas, including the growing market for herbs. I love growing our business -- all aspects of it."
As the business grew, so too did the challenges of managing staff across multiple locations. Amanda Felice, who joined as operations manager in 2015, notes that when she was brought on the business had well and truly grown beyond the capabilities of its old administration methods. “The team was time poor and burdened in administrative tasks that inhibited our ability to create better business practices. For years the business had been using Excel for rostering, but it wasn’t efficient. There would be times we’d look at the rosters and we had approved 3 people to have leave in the same area and we’d missed it.”
Well aware that Fresh Flowers Group needed help, Peter and Amanda engaged SMB Consultants to modernise its core business systems. Jeff Atizado at SMB recommended a fully integrated system that links Deputy for workforce management with Vend for point-of-sale and Xero for accounting. “We had a lot of help from SMB — and having Deputy has been a saving grace,” says Amanda.
"Previously if a team member wanted to swap a shift it was very, wishy-wash. You'd have to make a hundred phone calls before you could get a shift changed."
“Deputy has definitely given us visibility across all of our 10 locations,” explains Amanda. “Our warehouse staff work not only at the warehouse, but on the road and at our retail outlets, so we can see where they are at any given time.”
Now staff can log in to Deputy on their own smartphones and check their leave and schedules, with the extra reassurance for Amanda and Peter that if staff need to swap a shift the approval process is very straight forward: “Previously if a team member wanted to swap a shift it was very, wishy washy,” reflects Amanda. “You’d have to make a hundred phone calls before you could get a shift changed.”
The integration of Deputy with Xero helped reduced administration time by 50% according to Amanda: “We used to spend roughly two days a week doing payroll and half a day a week doing rosters. We now do payroll in a day and rosters one day per month.”
Peter makes use of the reporting features for compliance. They are able to track who’s on leave and ensures that junior staff are on the right award rate as they age. These days Peter can’t imagine life without Deputy, though he also admits that when Deputy was first introduced some staff members expressed concerns about an automated system: “Getting the staff to agree to it was a nightmare. I think there will always be some form of resistance when you try and make changes in a business. But, we saw the end goal.”
Peter says the key to helping staff adapt to change is to clearly express the benefits and keep them involved. “Take your time with it — you’ll get there. You don’t realize how much you need it until you’ve got it. That’s my belief. There are a lot of opportunities still out there for us. What it does for me is great.”
"We used to spend roughly two days a week doing payroll and half a day a week doing rosters. We now do payroll in a day and rosters one day per month."