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Slack workflow automation enhances Shipt productivity

After Shipt deployed Slack's workflow automation tools, the company saw greater productivity and communication with its employees and shoppers.

Shipt Inc. has been a customer of Slack Technologies since the online delivery service launched in 2014 to support collaboration across the company. But Slack has become a key ingredient in boosting productivity and workflows beyond collaboration.

Based in Birmingham, Ala., Shipt provides same-day delivery of groceries and other household items ordered from participating stores in over 5,000 cities across the U.S. Following its acquisition by Target Corporation in 2017, Shipt fully integrated Slack to manage workflows for its 1,000 employees and more than 30,000 shoppers.

In a webinar, Chayse Porter, Shipt's senior director of IT, discussed how the company has been using the collaboration tool to improve efficiency and automate workflows.

"We were able to go from a reactive IT team to a proactive IT team," Porter said of how Slack workflow automation capabilities supported his team.

According to Metrigy's "Workplace Collaboration: 2023-24" global research study, more than half of organizations view their collaboration tools as a work hub. These tools are becoming more than just a place to chat -- they are creating a space for employees to manage and collaborate with others in their work.

Porter discussed how the company adopted Slack's workflow automation tools to further improve their delivery services. For example, Shipt uses the Service Cloud capability for its experience team to communicate with shoppers if they get into a fender bender during a delivery. This pulls in all the relevant people to address the issue and communicate in real time with customers to keep them updated on the situation, he said.

Workflow Builder is an additional way that Shipt was able to automate tasks and improve efficiency by streamlining processes. For example, the workflow in an IT team's channel is triggered by an emoji, which shows a ticket has been claimed by a member, requiring less active communication on the ticket's progress, he said.

With over 100 workflows to automate tasks and 63,000 files shared in January 2023, IT teams are saving half the time it would usually take to work through an issue, Porter said.

Shipt has also virtually eliminated reliance on email. Too much time was wasted in the inbox, which resulted in information getting lost or employees forgetting to include someone in a chain message, Porter said.

We were able to go from a reactive IT team to a proactive IT team.
Chayse PorterSenior director of IT, Shipt

Instead, Slack acts as Shipt's primary method of communication by supporting asynchronous collaboration through channels and multiparty direct messaging, he said.

Porter highlighted additional features that boost productivity for employees, including channel-based communications and Slack huddles.

Enhancing internal and external communication

Shipt has taken advantage of the fact that Slack does not limit how many channels a company can have and created more than 200 groups within the business. The organization uses companywide channels, which all employees join to stay up to date on important information. There are also more specific channels, for example, for recruiting teams and an HR onboarding group for new hires, Porter said.

Once onboarded, employees are placed in every channel they need access to, such as water cooler chats and FAQs, in order to begin working successfully, which, in turn, encourages conversations between workers, he explained.

Another feature the company deployed is Slack Connect. This capability saves time by moving conversations among employees, partners and customers into the same space. It enables workers to contact people outside of their organization or email domain. Shipt employees often use this feature to communicate with grocery chains and vendors, essentially cutting implementation times in half and helping with customer feedback tools, Porter said.

Slack huddles decrease meetings and increase productivity

Slack huddles are designed for times when shared information requires more complex communication than chat but does not require a formal meeting. Instead, users can escalate to ad hoc voice and video chats or recorded clips.

For Shipt employees, this helps minimize the number of meetings and reduce video fatigue, Porter said. Additionally, they can save time by sending a video that walks through the information. This capability enables employees to prioritize work and lowers the number of meetings that may have otherwise gotten in the way of finishing other work.

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