Simplifying governance in Food

Who are we

The Governance & Assurance team are part of the Transformation function in the Retail Support Centre. We look after the governance landscape across Food for the change portfolio – programmes (big, multiple initiatives) and projects (single initiatives) that are in progress and the new ones that come out the Strategic Planning Cycle

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Image credit: flickr.com/duaneschoon

We’ve been listening

From your feedback, we’ve heard that there are plenty of opportunities in how we run governance across Food. At its heart, governance is about making the right decisions for the business in an efficient and effective way. Unfortunately, and partly due to our business’ complexity, we’ve found that:

  1. It’s not always clear how to get stuff done – the landscape can be daunting and often doesn’t have a clear route to decision/roll out.
  2. Governance groups can have conflicting interests and priorities – leading to colleagues becoming stuck in a governance ‘carousel’.
  3. Even when we agree that we want to do something, it can take a long time to get through the mechanics of governance – which risks expected benefits and can test the resilience of project teams!

All of these issues have come about from people trying to do the right thing for our colleagues, members and customers, but it does slow us down. We’ve looked at some examples like ‘Top Shelves’ within the Leading the Way programme. A simple project to fit some extra shelving in our stores, which helps colleagues with product availability for our members & customers. Despite it being something our competitors do and the business has endorsed, we had a series of governance and decision delays which meant rather than finishing the project to plan at the end of July, we’re a couple of months behind with nearly 600 stores completed so far.

What we’re going to do

Our role is to make governance effective. If designed and used well, governance is invaluable and can help speed up the change we want to do, and ensure it lands well.

Whilst all of our current processes are important and protect the Co-op, there’s too many or too much duplication, which adds time, effort and money to the delivery of our change plans. We’ll therefore be doing a sprint over the next 5 weeks to simplify and strengthen the governance process, as well as laying the foundations for best practice.

What our new landscape will look like

Keyword – simple! With defined roadmaps or even motorways, traffic lights, signs – a set destination, we’ll know when we’ll get there and there’s a clear view of progress along the way. We’ll do this by…

  • Mapping out the current decision-making landscape so we can identify common pinch points and opportunities for simplification.
  • Making sure the right people are in the room and we’re making the most effective use of our time – so we do what’s best for our Co-op and we spend members’ money like it’s our own.
  • Developing a compelling narrative, with insight from colleagues, members and customers, suppliers and partners. Helping stakeholders better understand a particular initiative, so they can make informed decisions at the right time.
  • Moving towards one simple set of templates to avoid the effort that goes into the multitude of decks and packs we create.
  • Updating on progress, with clear visibility of the risks involved, so stakeholders can apply rigour and keep us safe & legal.

 

How can I get involved?

The Exec have put forward functional partners to work with and we’re engaging across the business to gather inputs. We’ll be sharing plans and ‘how tos’ as part of an easy to use Governance portal after we’ve shared our ideas with the Exec.

In the meantime, we’re really keen to engage with those colleagues who have experience or an interest in this area, and we’d love to hear from you at retailgovernance@coop.co.uk

Andy Young & Ben Flannery are setting the right plan to achieve the Co-op Food strategy

We’re the Strategic Planning team, which is part of Governance & Assurance in the Transformation & Retail Support Centre. We’ve just kicked off the annual Strategic Planning Cycle (SPC) and we’re gearing up for a busy few months. The SPC process is used by Co-op Food to do two things:

  • Firstly, to confirm we’re heading in the right direction to achieve our five year ambition of Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities. Which is defined brilliantly by a term Ben found: coddiwomple “to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination”. I’m not saying our ambition is vague, but we’re flexible to the market and we can pivot and remain agile to all the headwinds we may encounter on the journey.
  • Then we’ll review our current plans and retail risks, alongside future trends and potential impacts – helping us to establish the activity that will enable us to deliver our ambition.

Working across the Co-op

At the moment we’re working with key functions: Finance, IT and Customer – holding workshops and sessions across the Co-op to gather of all the great ideas, insight and establish the latest vision of the future. Supporting and helping functions to ensure we’re focusing in the right areas to build a Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities together.

Planning
Planning the coddiwomple

 

Building the plan

In the coming weeks we’ll pull all of this information together, alongside our current portfolio of programmes and projects (Andy’s favourite part). Building the plan for our Co-op to deliver for colleagues, members, customers and their communities.

Tweaking the process

Over the last few SPCs we’ve listened and recognised the food retail environment and customer expectations are changing faster now, than they ever have before. So, going forward we’re making sure our plan is flexible and we can assess change regularly (Andy’s new favourite part). As a result we’re making the SPC an ‘always on’ process, with two key builds:

  • Monthly reviews of new ideas and proposed initiatives, to ensure we tackle any new headwinds or disruption to our 5 year ambition.
  • Quarterly reviews of the portfolio, to make sure we’re focusing on delivering the right initiatives and managing our resources effectively.

We’ll let you know how our coddiwomple is working out

Keep an eye out for updates on our progress over the summer. We’ll share how we’re building the plan and the critical paths that will deliver some great benefits for our Co-op, colleagues, members and customers. Your engagement and support is much appreciated, and once the plan is finished we all get behind it and deliver our part.

Andy & Ben

The Food Transformation team have joined with the Retail Support Centre

It’s been a busy few weeks of change for all in the Food Transformation team, which is something that they’re used to… because they’re the people that look after the Co-op’s large portfolio of change activity for Food and Retail.

Their job is to ensure everyone is aligned, ready to receive the changes, and ultimately to make stores a great place to work for colleagues, easy for members and customers to shop in and build a Co-op for the next generation of members.

These are exciting times for the new joined up team. We’ve all worked together before and, along with colleagues from across the Co-op, we’ve helped to develop some great digital products: ‘How do I’ and ‘Shifts’. With the Transformation team alongside the Retail Support Centre team, we can be confident of developing further initiatives, bringing our expertise together to help achieve our ambition of a Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities for the future.

There are three main focus areas for the Transformation office:

First, the Governance team works across the Co-op to identify potential new programmes and projects, then helps the Transformation team decide which to do. After that they keep everybody honest, so the Food Portfolio delivers what they’ve said they’ll deliver and on schedule – ensuring they use our time wisely and spend the Co-op’s money like it’s their own!

Next, the Portfolio Management Office makes sure all of the planned changes are meaningful and delivered well. They also provide a centre of excellence for all things programme and project management related e.g. methodologies, tools, resources, and the people who can support the process when needed – enabling and guiding the Portfolio.

Finally, the Food Portfolio team ensures we all deliver the programmes and projects that the wider teams agreed to and ensures it’s done well! They do this by sharing plans and goals across the Co-op, helping to build a platform to support activity for colleagues, members and customers.

Smartphone product scanner and part of the pay in aisle trial. Picture by Chris Bull

The Transformation & Retail Support Centre teams will continue listening and designing solutions with colleagues, for colleagues by harnessing your passion and energy. We know by working with our stores, logistics and here in Angel Square, together, as One Co-op we can…

  • Develop simple, intuitive projects and solutions for colleagues
  • Create meaningful experiences and shopping trips for members & customers
  • Deliver sustainable change supported by everyone in the Co-op
  • Build a stronger Co-op for the future
  • Connect with all of our communities and strengthen the links

We’re working on some critical plans that will deliver some great benefits for our Co-op, colleagues, members and customers – your engagement and support is much appreciated.

Watch this space and we’ll keep you updated on our key progress, successes and let us know what you think too! We know that change is hard, but any retail business that isn’t transforming will leave themselves open to disruption. So please, do support and get behind what’s on the plan. 

Listening to colleagues in the Support Centre

Thursday 15 March saw 17 store colleagues gather in Angel Square’s ‘Innovation Centre’, a nerve centre of ideas and future store concepts from the Leading the Way team.

They were there to take part in March’s Store Manager Listening Session arranged by ourselves in Colleague Insight, a day that’s designed to provide an opportunity to hear from teams around the business, offer feedback on existing or upcoming pieces of work, and give us their thoughts and feelings on how things are for them currently.

An extra bonus of the day was an hour’s chat with our Retail Chief Executive, Jo Whitfield. The chance for an hour’s conversation with the boss is a rare one, and Jo was very willing to hear a “warts and all” view of the challenges our store colleagues are facing at the moment. You can read more about this on the Colleague Insight intranet pages.

Jo&Crew
Jo Whitfield speaks to store colleagues during our Listening Session

 

As well as hearing from them, Jo was able to give an update on how things looked from her perspective and gave some pointers about what was to come up for Food in the rest of the year.

She left the group with 3 key messages to take back to their colleagues in store;

  1. Believe in the plan
  2. Put the customer first
  3. Look after our colleagues

As well as Jo, several business areas from around the Support Centre were able to sit and talk through their world with the colleagues present, asking for the current feelings on how things work at the store level.

Among the topics discussed were store KPIs, the communications cascade and the top shelves project, where the comments and experiences of the colleagues were extremely useful in deciding what we do in the future.

They also had the chance to talk to a project manager from the wider Co-op team who discussed the very early stages of a new training project.

The learnings from a day like this feed into our quarterly hackathons, and help us keep the voice of the colleague front and centre in the minds of all in the Retail Support Centre.

By the time you’re reading this we’ll have just finished Quarter 1’s Hackathon, an event where we gather 50+ colleagues in a big room and, as well as hearing about current projects, we get them involved in shaping future projects, working out solutions to the things that they’re facing.

If you’d like to be involved in either type of session in the future (and they’re not all held in Manchester), then email the team at colleagueinsight@coop.co.uk and we’ll be in touch telling you when the next session is.

How we’re simplifying crime reporting

In their recently published annual crime survey, The British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported that retail crime is at an all-time high having risen by 6% against 2016 to a staggering £700m.  The number of violent incidents has also seen a huge increase and reflects a growing concern in society around the challenges facing the retail industry in the UK.

When crime and security incidents occur in our stores it’s really important that every incident is logged. This enables our Retail Support Centre teams to monitor and analyse crime data and ultimately drive the actions and changes that help to keep our colleagues safe. The safety of our colleagues is always a priority, and we’ve listened to store colleague’s feedback on the existing reporting process – one of the biggest concerns our colleagues have raised is how time consuming it is for stores to report security incidents. Unfortunately this often leads to only a small number of incidents being reported, especially if it is relatively low value theft.

A Mobile Solution

Kingdom 1We’ve listened hard and based on this feedback we have been working with Kingdom to develop an app that will make this much easier for store teams to log minor security incidents. It’s stressful enough for our colleagues when they have to deal with incidents in store, so anything that can simplify the crime reporting process for our colleagues is hugely beneficial for our coop.

We recently released Kingdom Konnect – an app that give stores an easy and simple way to log incidents on their mobile devices. So after an incident, instead of having to go back into the office and log on to the PC, colleagues can now complete security incident reports on the go – whether it’s on the shop floor, at the kiosk, or in the warehouse. The app gives our colleagues a quick and easy way to log minor shoplifting and anti-social behaviour incidents – and it takes less than a minute to do. Many colleagues are already using the app, and we’ve heard some great feedback so far

“This is amazing! It’s easy to use and no excuse not to report crime….”

Liam, Cambridge

“It’s really brilliant to use – Everyone is using it. Logging incidents is much quicker than before. The ease of it is that it’s in your pocket so you can use it as soon as an incident happens”

Ian, Dunscroft

“It’s so much easier than logging it on the back office”

Hannah, Somerton

The information logged via the app is vital, as it allows us to gather greater insight and understanding of crime in our stores. Having access to this information in turn helps support centre teams make the right decisions for colleague safety and allows us to react with resource where needed.

Guard
Jamaal, our Guard at Butcher Hill has been using the new App

All stores will be given access when store tablets launch later this year, however we know from listening to colleagues that they welcome the opportunity to use their own devices in the meantime. So, if colleagues choose to, they can download and access from personal devices (Colleagues should see week 9’s Bulletin for info) . We’ve seen a fantastic number of colleagues starting to use it already. This is a great step forward in simplifying crime reporting for our stores, but we haven’t finished yet. Later in 2018, we have plans to introduce an all-encompassing Health and Safety system that will be accessible from our store mobile devices which will bring further improvements to help us support the safety of our colleagues in store.

Keeping our Stores Resilient

Keeping our Stores Resilient

Our role as the Retail Resilience and Response Team is to be the first to react when issues or incidents cause disruption to our stores. It’s our job to provide the intensive support our colleagues need by ensuring that any incidents that affect them are understood and dealt with quickly to allow our stores to continue to trade.

Resilience

Maintaining Continuity

It’s unavoidable that sometimes incidents will impact our shops, and when this does happen, it’s our role to act as the interface between Stores and Support Centre functions to ensure that normal operations resume as soon as possible. Central to this is providing a 24 hour response to critical incidents that require business continuity or RIMT (Retail Incident Management Team) invocation.

We do this by acting as a co-ordinator for the Stores behalf, providing a hyper-care  process, liaising closely with support desks and performing root cause analysis of incidents. We escalate issues where required and instigate wider business continuity plans  in order to gain traction to resolve issues and return stores to trading with minimal effort and impact to the store.

Support when it’s needed most

Just last week, colleagues at our store in Nursling were affected by a serious armed robbery.  When opening the store, colleagues were subject to a robbery during which four men armed with crowbars took money out the safe and tills, and all the cigarettes from the gantry. The two colleagues were locked in the office, with cages barricaded against the door.

In the aftermath of the incident, the Resilience and Response team co-ordinated a great response from key support centre functions to minimise the disruption to the store and to support colleagues.  Colleague welfare was prioritised, with affected colleagues referred to counselling. In addition to this, the team sent in the store’s Risk officer to provide further support, arranged for replacement till drawers, and equalised the stores hours.

We also supported the store with the many other fixes they needed to help get them up and running – including looking at hours with TARA and chasing work orders with the Facilities team, and in this instance the store was able to resume trading later that day.

 “It was amazing service from everyone, absolutely amazing – Emily from Response has been absolutely wonderful – all the store managers to Area Managers right up to our Divisional Managing Director have been brilliant, the level of support you brought in from the Response team has been amazing

Jan, Nursing Store.         

When our stores face disruption, we’re there to support them through it, but it doesn’t end there. To ensure we can continue to co-ordinate this support, in the background we’re continually gathering data and insight for analysis which is crucial to enable the business to make informed decisions to drive continuous improvement. This means we can continue to be there to provide the best possible support for store colleagues when they need us most.

Approaching Risk Collaboratively

Risk Team

For the Food Risk Team, keeping our stores safe for our colleagues and customers is our number one priority, and through 2018 we will be taking a more collaborative approach to look at how we can improve store operations.

A New Approach

The food business has invested a great deal to re-invigorate our approach to risk, and key to this is establishing a dedicated Food Risk team within the Retail Support Centre. For a long time Risk has been a Group function, but we believe that stores deserve a front line risk support team who are in touch and engaged with our food stores, and can act as a first-line support.

Bringing in Experience

The new team brings together experienced risk colleagues into the Food support centre to support stores. Our team of 24 Food Risk Support Officers (FRSOs) will bring with them a huge amount of experience and working within food they will be closely aligned to our stores with one clear objective – to make our stores safer for colleagues and customers.

What Stores will see

From 4th February the FRSOs will be embarking on a series of operational assessments which will run through 2018. But where previous audits have been focused on spot-checks and reactively supporting stores after incidents, our new approach will be more collaborative. For each assessment, the team will be spending around 6 hours in your store – looking at all elements of store operations and operational compliance. We’ll be looking at processes that we have never reviewed before, and by spending more time in stores and speaking first-hand to colleagues and store teams we will have a great opportunity to identify where processes aren’t working, and to speak to colleagues on the front line to get their insight on how things can be improved and simplified.

Benefits for stores

This is also a great opportunity for our store colleagues to speak to the team and give your feedback and insight on how we can improve things. We will be using the data and insight we gather during the assessments to feed in to the Retail Support Centre to drive the changes, improvements and opportunities that will make your stores simpler and safer for colleagues, customers and members.  The Team are really excited about this can’t wait to get out to meet you.