Carrefour Market Mechelen eliminates administrative inefficiencies, via bookU

For over half a century, the name 'Willaert' has been synonymous with supermarket expertise in the Mechelen region. Back in 1969, even before the rise of the large supermarket chains, Dirk Willaert, a West Fleming, decided to open a neighborhood supermarket there, then as a Unic franchisee. 55 years later, the location is still the same, but outside it, of course, a lot has changed. Daughter Vicky Willaert took over the helm with her husband Bernd Bastens, the store was completely revamped a while back and the administrative section was also gradually due for an update. Enter bookU!


The basis established by a hunger for enterprise

Although born and raised in Kortemark, West Flanders, a twist of fate (and a small hunger) at the time ensured that Dirk Willaert would open a supermarket in 1969 in Eikestraat in Mechelen-North. “In the late 1950s, my uncle had started a Unic store where I regularly lent a hand. And I liked that,” Dirk told the Nieuwsblad as recently as 2021. On a brief stopover, prompted by a hunger pang, the local baker told the enterprising thirty-something that a department store was coming to Eikestraat. The passion for the supermarket thing would eventually even prove hereditary, as over time daughter Vicky would also enter the business in 2001.


Times change, even in retail

Now, almost a quarter of a century later, it is she and her husband Bernd Bastens who are leading the way. With respect for the past, but at the same time with ambition for the future. And that ambition manifested itself, among other things, in a recent refresh of the store itself, but also in the search for how to improve administratively.


“How the store was run by my father back then - apart from the importance of personal contact - can hardly be compared to how it is run now,” Vicky explains openly. “This should not come as a surprise: digitization has spread at lightning speed among suppliers, employees and customers alike, and the labor laws regarding work regimes and statutes are no longer the same as, say, 30 years ago. Add to that an increase in staff numbers, and it quickly becomes clear that it is no longer realistic to manage everything with Excel sheets, let alone pen and paper.”


Climbing the paper mountain on Friday

For Vicky, until recently, Fridays were kept entirely free for administrative tasks. “In the morning I invariably drew up the hourly schedules for the following week, only to spend 2-3 hours in the afternoon drawing up an average of about 70 contracts of flexible employees and job students,” the case manager explains. “After transferring this data weekly to Liantis, our social secretariat, they in turn had to work with this data as well. Pretty inefficient, if you ask me...”


Administrative simplification, via bookU

And so, in her quest for administrative relief, the business owner decided to sound out the social secretariat for tools that could simplify this. “Via Liantis, I was referred two parties,” Vicky reflects. “One of them turned out to be BookU, where we came into contact with Customer Success Specialist Nele. From the start, the contact was very cordial, and the use of the tool itself, including the link with Liantis, was also self-evident. The tool not only looked very easy, it was!”


Since using bookU as a workforce management tool, employees at Carrefour Market Mechelen can clock in via the digital time tracker. “The contracts of my flexible workers are also generated automatically since then, as are the Dimonas. And if adjustments have to be made to Dimonas because they have worked longer or shorter than anticipated, bookU automatically adjusts them based on the pricked hours,” Vicky says with satisfaction. “By switching to bookU, I already gain at least 3 hours every Friday.”


Vicky Willaert (Carrefour Market Mechelen): 

“By taking the step to bookU, 

I already gain at least 3 hours of time every Friday.”


From Light to Full

Today, Carrefour Market Mechelen uses the Light version of bookU. “Recently, however, I decided to switch to the full version of bookU,” Vicky explains. “This allows us to pinpoint permanent employees in addition to flexible workers, create a planning based on their work schedules and automate performance processing for all employees. This way, I will soon also be able to eliminate  the Excel hourly rosters and schedules that sometimes cause some confusion.”


Also fancy a U-turn for your planning, admin and/or time registration? 


Request a demo!