Productivity & Collaboration

Behind the counters, Chrome Enterprise and G Suite help Schnucks create faster grocery service

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Editor’s note: Founded in 1939, Schnucks Market is a family-owned grocery store founded by the Schnuck family. Since its start, the company has grown to more than 100 stores across five states in the U.S.. In this post, Schnucks executives explain how they rolled out Chromebooks and G Suite to their workforce, with help from partner Agosto.

At this time of year, a fast and friendly shopping experience is top of mind for our customers. At our grocery store counters (and in our IT department), we’re right there with them. We want to help people get through checkout lines faster, so they can get home and prepare family meals. Now that we have Chrome Enterprise tools like Chromebooks in our grocery departments, our workers are able to help customers even more efficiently. This saves us time in our ordering and food prep processes, cuts costs, and helps us reduce waste by going paperless. 

The changes we’ve made behind the scenes might not be obvious to our customers, but for us, they’re a big deal. Here’s how the typical work day for store employees and our IT team is much different today.

Spending more time helping customers
Prior to moving to the cloud, our meat and produce employees had to check email and follow up on orders via Windows PCs located in back store rooms. This meant employees had to walk back and forth from counters to back rooms, often leaving customers waiting for assistance. What’s worse: once employees got there, they would spend several minutes logging into various applications on the PCs—another frustrating time-waster. 

We turned to Chrome Enterprise and G Suite to help. Now we have about six Acer Spin Chromebooks in every store—and nearly 700 company-wide. The counter employees can log in to shared Chromebooks in seconds, check Gmail and review orders, and still help customers in person, all in the same place. Agosto, our partner, made sure our G Suite rollout went smoothly, and that everyone was prepped for the change. Now, each employee is saving about eight hours a week because they’re getting tasks done from counters—with 2,700 fresh food employees, that’s a total of 21,600 company-wide every week. 

Saving money and time 
As mentioned, cost was a major factor as we considered alternative technology options. Because Chromebooks are much less costly than PCs, we can add more devices to each store. In fact, it cost us $250,000 less to get twice as many Chromebooks as PCs. Because the Chrome OS keeps Chromebooks secure right out of the box, we don’t need to buy and manage encryption software, so we can cross that off our list. Our endpoint security team can focus on more urgent issues.

Setting up Chromebooks is incredibly fast with Chrome Enterprise—about 15 minutes compared to the hour or more it took to image and update software on the PCs. That’s another way we are saving time. We recently rolled out new seafood counters in our stores and were able to send out Chromebooks to employees in just a few days. It would have taken weeks to do this with PCs.

Reducing paper and food waste
Our fresh-food department heads used to place their food orders—as many as 30 a day—using paper forms, which could take upwards of an hour and a half to complete each order. Now, using Google Forms (that we customized with simple script using Apps Script), each order only takes 30 minutes to place—two-thirds less time. These orders are saved in Google Drive which means that the meat department is now completely paperless. We’re hoping to eliminate paper across other fresh food departments soon.

With the old paper-based order system, the meat cutters had to guess how much meat to prepare daily. With Chromebooks and Periscope, our fresh-food management application, we’ve reduced food overproduction markdowns—like discounts on excess fresh meat—from 400 a month to just four per month. We can offer fresher meat to customers while better forecasting what we need to sell.

When people walk into a Schnucks store, we’re happy that Chrome Enterprise and G Suite are making grocery shopping fast, efficient, and friendly—during the holidays and all year-round.