Case Study

100 Stores. 5 States. How Schnucks Pulled Off a Mammoth Collaboration Feat

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By converting to G Suite, Schnucks increased productivity, offering managers additional time for customer service, while simultaneously improving security and reducing hardware and software spending.

As a family supermarket chain since 1939, Schnuck Markets Inc. depends on driving efficiency and volume sales to achieve its mission, identifying customer service and community partnerships among its key differentiators.

In order to commit its maximum resources for success, Schnucks continues to focus on streamlining operations and achieving greater efficiency. Management and administrative staff throughout the company’s 100 stores in five states need to be able to collaborate effortlessly while enjoying an accurate, centralized information exchange platform. These efficiencies have the potential to impact productivity, customer service, and employee engagement.

Fast-tracking data sharing

Before adopting G Suite, Schnucks found collaborative workflows to be a challenge. Managers from different stores, often in different states, had to provide data that could be compiled and shared. Collaborative documents on traditional platforms faced challenges at Schnucks, where limits of simultaneous users would result in user lockouts. Schnucks managers often exchanged many different versions of the same documents and spreadsheets. However, reconciling all those versions was time-consuming and limited real-time collaboration.

“When we share a Google sheet and request data, 200 people can add their responses immediately at the same time from any device. They don’t walk away and forget and need a reminder. The result is near-effortless compliance,” says Kim Anderson, Director of Procurement and Replenishment at Schnucks.

Schnucks has been successful using the entire range of G Suite tools, with DriveDocsSlidesSheets, and Forms contributing to enhanced collaboration. Google Keep is a popular productivity tool for meeting notes and tasks and creating reminders. Schnucks also uses Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat to reduce time and costs spent in face-to-face meetings, and Calendar as the central source for scheduling company events and meetings.

The partnership between Schnucks and Agosto helped with a successful G Suite deployment for the retailer. Agosto helped coordinate the logistics of the move and tackled the G Suite migration with a three-part strategy: IT staffers would move to Google first before employee “Google Guide” experts came in who could help answer teammate G Suite questions.

“Agosto’s deployment plan helped our G Suite deployment run smoothly,” says Dave Steck, Schnucks Vice President of Development and IT Infrastructure. “Their thorough planning helped mitigate the inevitable disruption a change of this size would make.”

Enhanced security and reliability

Previously, Schnucks relied on email to exchange information and any outages added even more lag time to its operations. With Gmail and the entire G Suite, Schnucks now experiences virtually no downtime, allowing for effective communication with enhanced levels of reliability and security.

“We were able to take advantage of the security benefits of G Suite right away,” says Joey Smith, Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer at Schnucks. “Our administrators are able to quickly configure, test, and manage our G Suite security settings to fit the security needs of our business while maintaining compliance with all regulatory obligations.”

On top of the CapEx and OpEx savings with Google providing infrastructure for its office productivity software, Schnucks has gained increased security and high availability, as well as robust disaster recovery. These features are included in G Suite, without any need for IT intervention.

“G Suite automatically encrypts our data with a unique encryption key for each piece and distributes it across multiple data centers for performance, security, and reliability,” says Joey. “This saves us a significant amount of time and money while achieving top notch security.”

Another way Schnucks benefits from Google security is the availability of data loss protection (DLP) features native to Gmail. With DLP, Schnucks can automatically audit outgoing emails for Personal Identifiable Information (PII), Protected Health Information (PHI), and other information the store requires.

“DLP is very powerful because it provides detailed visibility,” says Joey. “We can isolate emails, analyze patterns of false positives, and follow up with education or enhanced restrictions to increase security.”

Spam reduction

An unexpected advantage of adopting G Suite was an instantaneous reduction in spam emails. That’s more administrative time saved for employees. In fact, Gmail native spam prevention is so effective that Schnucks was able to replace its third-party spam filter with a simpler technology that costs 80% less.

Savings on hardware and software

Converting to G Suite saves Schnucks the operational costs of an infrastructure for office and communications solutions, but its web interface also provides substantial savings on application maintenance, anti-virus software, and hardware.

With G Suite files and applications residing in the cloud, the need for employees to use heavyweight installable applications is increasingly rare. As laptops age, Schnucks is replacing them with Chromebooks, saving approximately $1,250 per computer. Because Chromebooks don’t require additional anti-virus software or many other endpoint security measures, the need for software licenses and other security and maintenance costs are simultaneously reduced.

Schnucks also finds that Chromebooks instantly increase productivity. “What’s great about the Chromebook is the productivity savings we get from the speed and ease of use and management,” says Dave Steck, Vice President of Development and IT Infrastructure at Schnucks. “You’re not waiting for applications to start up. As a result, Chromebooks are the only laptops we need for the majority of our teammates.”

Aligning the company across sites

More than just providing a common set of office tools, intuitive collaboration in G Suite enables the grocery chain to provide consistent messaging and a central information hub across all store locations. With posters, presentations, and communications, Schnucks worked hard to help ensure that the entire company understood the value of the tools. The Operations and IT teams rolled out the changeover in three phases, using Google Guides to show the benefits of adoption and then rolling out to larger groups over time.

“Adopting G Suite as a collaborative platform helped us to integrate individual store activities and increase operational efficiency,” says Dave.

Investing in the future

Employees who were already familiar with G Suite because they used it in school or in their personal lives have found the move eases communications company-wide, and Schnucks believes that the move will also help attract prospective employees who already use G Suite.

“Knowing that more and more prospective employees are already familiar with G Suite is a big win for us,” says Joey. “To them, it helps demonstrate our commitment to innovation.”

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