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.