How did we help Wickes?

Wickes | Business Process Improvement Success Story

Productivity rates aren’t static. In a workplace, seemingly small adjustments can have a big impact, and sometimes things don’t move the way businesses expect. Wickes’ performance data needed refreshing. We didn’t just bring their figures up to date, we sharpened up their systems and showed them how store changes were affecting their customers.

‘Let’s do it right’. For a retailer of DIY and home improvement products, Wickes’ slogan hits the nail on the head. It’s a core value that runs through their business. They had taken time to lay the groundwork for measuring productivity. They had a workforce management system in place and average performance times for in-store tasks, which they were using to set their budgets. But since they’d collected that data, things had changed and they had brought in new concepts, like a Pay & Collect counter. Wickes asked us to give them an accurate picture of their business, as it is now.

What did we do?

We used several different study methods:

  • Refreshed Wickes’ existing labour standards, or standard minute values (SMVs) – the average time it takes their staff to complete tasks in store
  • Looked at how Wickes’ people split their time between activities that directly and indirectly support customers, and tasks that don’t add value
  • Quantified the percentage of time employees spent waiting for customers, either at the tills or on the shop floor
  • Carried out ten day-in-the-life studies to understand how managers spend their shifts
  • Reviewed the company’s existing workforce management tools to see how effective they were
  • Watched and listened, making anecdotal observations about what was working and what wasn’t

How did it help?

We gave Wickes precise, up-to-date SMVs – the figures they need to plan their budgets and meet their sales targets. And we spotted a way to speed up the workforce management process itself. The online system they were using was over-complicated and time-consuming; it simply wasn’t the right tool for the job. We recommended a simple Excel model which, in a matter of minutes, can do what took the old system days to complete.

We found other ways to streamline their business too. We showed it was taking much longer to serve customers at the new Pay & Collect counter than at the traditional tills. The consequences were store-wide, something Wickes hadn’t considered. We suggested practical techniques to reduce queues and cut browsing time at the tills.

Based on our insights, Wickes can make an informed decision about rolling the Pay & Collect counter out to other stores. Their simplified workforce management system will give them more flexibility to react to change; they can easily model potential adjustments to understand their impact, before putting them on the shop floor. Not only are Wickes up to date, they’re better prepared for the future.

What our clients say

“ReThink weren’t afraid to test us to make sure we had the right solutions and options. They worked hard to integrate into our business and we felt like they wanted us to win, together. A thoroughly great team and bunch of individuals – professional, knowledgeable and honest.”

Darsh Chand, Head of Lean Operations at Wickes