For more than 50 years the Toronto-based Longo Brothers Fruit Markets (Longo’s), a premium grocery chain, has been celebrated for its high quality food and great service. As the company grew to 19 stores and 3,500 employees, it deployed a collection of workforce management solutions, including an Oracle-based HR application—but Longo’s needed a solution that was easier to use, easier to manage, and resulted in a lower total cost of ownership. Longo’s also needed to ensure that it could continue to use its Ceridian payroll system. To meet these goals, the company chose Dayforce, which runs on the Microsoft Application Platform including Microsoft SQL Server 2008. Moving to Dayforce has provided Longo’s with an improved workforce management solution, an enhanced user experience, and a better view into its business.
Longo’s employs 3,500 employees in its 19 high-end grocery stores. The company, started in 1956 when brothers Tommy, Joe, and Gus Longo opened a produce stand, has been selected by the Financial Post as one of Canada’s Top 50 privately-managed companies for eight consecutive years, achieving platinum status.
||Dayforce and the Microsoft Application Platform combine to provide significant value to our operations.
Vice President of Store Operations, Longo’s
Longo’s traces company success to its focus on natural products, dependable quality, and a dedication to providing superior customer service—known internally as “the Longo’s Way.” The premium grocer has long understood the importance of workforce management to achieving its goals of delivering consistent, high-quality service within its budgeted labor constraint. This understanding is reflected in the call to action ingrained in the corporate culture, which declares Longo’s commitment to having “the right people, at the right place, at the right time.”
Longo’s has achieved annual growth in recent years across three lines of business: urban small-footprint stores, full-scale stores, and an online ordering and delivery service. As with most retailers, human capital is the company’s largest controllable expense. To support its continued growth in an environment of fierce competition, Longo’s identified the capacity to deploy its people as effectively as possible as fundamental to maintaining and improving margins.
However, over time, Longo’s had come to find that its workforce solution set presented significant hurdles to building this fundamental capacity. Existing tools were both difficult for managers to use, and expensive for IT to integrate and manage. Employee, organizational, and user data were duplicated across multiple systems, including an Oracle-based HR database, a time & attendance application, and manual spreadsheets. Working with these tools required custom (and imperfect) interfaces, manual workarounds, and time-consuming, awkward workflows; maintenance was both complex and costly; and the overall architecture did not support the ad hoc and recurring reporting that Longo’s required.
“As we searched for a new workforce management and HR solution, our top needs included usability for our managers, easier systems administration for IT, and scalability to meet future growth,” says Dave Mastroieni, Vice President of Store Operations, Longo’s. “We were also interested to find something that would enable us to reduce our IT spend.”
Longo’s worked with Dayforce, a Microsoft Partner, to replace its existing workforce management and HR applications with Dayforce.
The application suite provides each Longo’s manager with a complete set of workforce management functions, including labor planning and scheduling, time and attendance tracking, human resources management, task management, and employee self-service. Dayforce is deployed on the Microsoft Application Platform including Windows Server 2008 Enterprise for 64-Bit Systems operating system and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (64-bit) database software.
Dayforce is a clear fit for Longo’s needs. Dayforce enables managers to combine corporate performance objectives into labor planning, workforce scheduling, and workforce management processes. In deciding to replace its existing system with Dayforce, Longo’s knew its managers would appreciate the ease of use provided by the familiar, Microsoft-inspired user experience. Longo’s also appreciated Dayforce’s ability to interoperate seamlessly with its Ceridian payroll system. Finally, Longo’s IT division also stood to benefit from streamlined administration and a lower total cost of ownership because the solution is deployed on the Microsoft Application Platform, including SQL Server 2008.
Dayforce provides its solution to Longo’s on a software as a service (SaaS) basis, using an architecture that includes:
- Client layer. Longo’s managers access Dayforce using a browser and application code that relies on Microsoft Silverlight 3.0 to provide faster response times when accessing server and network resources. Faster response times provide a better user experience.
- Service layer. Dayforce uses Windows Server 2008 and Internet Information Services (IIS) to host the application, along with Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) to support communication between the application and back-end processing and data services.
- Database layer. All data for the Dayforce application is stored in a relational database hosted on SQL Server 2008 (64-bit).
- Reporting. Recurring and ad hoc reporting is supported using SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services —a comprehensive, server-based solution for creating, managing, and delivering real-time information to support daily operations and decisions.
“The Dayforce development team has taken full advantage of Microsoft’s integrated and superior development environment including Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, SQL Server and SQL Profiler to more rapidly develop our solution”, says Ozzie Goldschmied, Vice President for Development at Dayforce.
||The Dayforce development team has taken full advantage of Microsoft’s integrated and superior development environment including Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, SQL Server and SQL Profiler to more rapidly develop our solution.
Vice President for Development, Dayforce
Longo’s SaaS solution is hosted on an HP ProLiant server with 2 Intel Quad-Core 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) processors and 32gigabytes (GB) of RAM. Using the Hyper-V server virtualization feature of Windows Server 2008, Longo’s uses redundant virtual machines. The database is configured with 2 CPUs and 8 GB RAM. Applications services are supported with 2 CPUs and 4 GB of RAM.
“The Microsoft Application Platform with SQL Server 2008 allows Dayforce to support a scalable and redundant architecture while minimizing IT spend, lowering the total cost to our clients”, says Warren Perlman, Vice President for Solutions at Dayforce.
Throughout the project, Longo’s was impressed with the efficient and collaborative approach Dayforce exhibited. “I was amazed by Dayforce’s collaborative, team spirit attitude,” says Steve Vetrecin, Store Manager, Longo’s. “From day one, Dayforce took our feedback seriously and made sure the solution would respond to our needs.”
Longo’s gained the improved workforce management it sought by replacing its old solution with Dayforce and Microsoft. By choosing Dayforce, Longo’s now has a better view into its business, an enhanced experience for users, and more efficient systems administration across all elements of workforce management. In addition, total costs of ownership have been dialed down compared to earlier solutions.
Improved Workforce Management
Prior to implementing Dayforce, Longo’s saw an opportunity to substantially improve the balancing of employee hours and customer demand while keeping spending in line with the company’s budget. The company also needed to remain fully compliant with its pay and schedule policies while accommodating employees’ stated availability constraints and preferences.
“Dayforce gives us the information we need to effectively plan, deploy, and manage our workforce benefiting our employees, our customers, and our overall operations,” says Mastroieni. “Our Dayforce implementation has helped Longo’s lower payroll costs by reducing over-scheduling, better aligning non-service hour tasks with labor capacity, and increasing payroll accuracy.”
Better View into the Business
Managers at Longo’s have gained a better view into the business by using Dayforce’s embedded analytics as well
||Managers reported immediate productivity gains to their own time. The time required to create schedules, for example, was reduced by about 75 percent.
Store Manager, Longo's
as its ability to create recurring and ad hoc reports. Dayforce has created a wide selection of recurring reports, and HR managers at Longo’s can create their own custom ad hoc reports. Dayforce’s reporting functionality takes advantage of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services.
Enhanced User Experience
Longo’s managers immediately felt at ease with the Dayforce interface, which provides the look and feel of familiar Microsoft programs. They reported productivity improvements from their very first interactions with Dayforce, as it is so much easier to use than the previous applications.
The solution has enabled Longo’s to accelerate routine business processes noticeably, making a big difference in the day-to-day life of front-line managers. “Managers reported immediate productivity gains to their own time,” says Vetrecin. “The time required to create schedules, for example, was reduced by about 75 percent. By streamlining and automating otherwise time-consuming workforce management tasks, Dayforce has enabled managers at Longo’s to focus on enhancing service quality and increasing store sales.”
Easier Systems Administration
Replacing a collection of disparate applications with the SaaS delivery of Dayforce running on the Microsoft Application Platform has lead to greatly simplified systems administration. The SaaS-based solution also makes it easy for Longo’s to support the addition of new stores to the chain.
In contrast, before Dayforce, “integrating and managing our previous applications was time-consuming and expensive because we had to work with multiple user interfaces and data stores,” says Mastroieni. “We were faced with numerous error-prone integration points which required multiple manual work-arounds. Dayforce’s complete solution brings together all of our key workforce data onto a single Microsoft platform.”
Low Total Cost of Ownership
By selecting the Dayforce and Microsoft solution, Longo’s brought day-to-day operations in line with its strategic objectives, achieving both the labor and IT cost reductions and the customer service improvements it required.
||Dayforce’s complete solution brings together all of our key workforce data onto a unified Microsoft platform.
Vice President of Store Operations, Longo’s
These benefits were gained even as the company enjoyed a lower total cost of ownership compared to its previous technology stack.
Moving all HR and workforce management processes to a single Microsoft SQL Server database and Dayforce Performance-Driven Workforce reduced licensing costs as well as ongoing integration and administration costs.
The competitive pricing and scalability of the Microsoft Application Platform—as well as the ability to deploy on a SaaS basis—enabled Dayforce to pass on significant savings to Longo’s.
“A complete Dayforce implementation—including high-value scheduling, task management, and employee self-service functionality, all elements which Longo’s previous systems lacked—cost less than the cost of maintaining Longo’s legacy solutions,” says Mastroieni. “Dayforce and the Microsoft Application Platform combine to provide significant value to our operations.”
Longo’s was able to improve workforce management across operations, and to measurably improve profitability by replacing a collection of disparate systems with Dayforce running on SQL Server 2008 and other elements of the Microsoft Application Platform.
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For more information about Longo’s products and services, visit the Web site at: http://www.longos.com/
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Document published January 2010