Pak-A-Sak store location
Pak-A-Sak started with a single store location in Texas more than 37 years ago.

In the arid heart of the Texas Panhandle is a city where cattle is king and whose name is synonymous with one of the most famous songs in the last century. But look a little deeper and you’ll find there’s more to Amarillo than prime beef and country music lyrics. Decades ago, mom and pop McKee started Pak-A-Sak, Inc. with a single store location, and in the 37 years since, the family-owned chain has blossomed.

“Today we have 20 locations throughout the Panhandle, and our stores employ hundreds of people in the area,” says Gary McKee, CIO of Pak-A-Sak, and the eldest of three brothers currently running the business.

Like most businesses, a reliable, efficient workforce is one of the most valuable assets a convenience store possesses. Through the years, as Pak-A-Sak continued its growth trend, the need for an effective employee management system became increasingly apparent.

“The way we had been doing schedules was absolutely terrible,” says Mckee. “We were using spreadsheets and, in many cases, relying on pencil and paper. None of it was very efficient or accurate.”

Pak-A-Sak tackled the challenge head on with PDI/Workforce. The powerful labor management tool tracks employee hours with PDI/Time Clock and manages schedules across all 20 company sites with PDI/Labor Scheduler.

“With more than 250 people working at our stores, PDI/Labor Scheduler has become a crucial part of our operation,” says McKee. “The software is very user-friendly and allows our managers to easily create and change schedules in a drag-and-drop environment. When changes occur, it updates the information throughout the entire system.”

One of the primary features McKee and his team immediately capitalized on was the ability to see their sites’ scheduled hours compared to budgeted hours.

“Ideally, the scheduled hours for the week should always fall below budgeted hours, but this allows us to make sure that’s what’s happening at all our stores,” says McKee. PDI/Labor Scheduler also allows users to see actual labor hours by site and employee, a valuable tool in curtailing overtime. In addition, the actual hours view provides data from previous weeks, enabling management to spot trends and staff their stores accordingly.

“For any c-store chain, labor is going to be the biggest investment, and while the focus should always be on providing great customer service, racking up too much overtime can be a huge drain on the bottom line,” McKee states. “If a particular site is in danger of exceeding its budgeted hours or an employee is on the verge of overtime, we can catch it early and make the necessary adjustments.”

As Pak-A-Sak discovered, however, in some cases overtime is unavoidable. Like many c-stores around the country, the company often finds it difficult to find an adequate number of qualified people to staff its stores.

“More than ever before, we’re experiencing problems in our labor pool. It’s hard to find good people,” explains McKee. “Even so, PDI/Labor Scheduler provided the next best solution by allowing us to implement a loaner employee system.”

If a store needs an employee to fill a shift, the manager simply selects a location from the surrounding area using a map generated by the system. From there, a list of available employees immediately populates. Once the substitution is confirmed, the shift is automatically filled, and everything is updated.

“Despite our labor issues, with the loaner employee feature we’ve been able to minimize overtime and stay below our budgeted hours by an average of 2.5 hours per week per store,” says McKee. “That translates into a savings of over $31,000 a year. I’d definitely recommend this product to anyone.”

Download a PDF version of this case study: Pak-A-Sak, Inc.