2016 Planning Challenge Case Study: Staples

Simon Waldron, Senior Real Time Analyst, was tasked with implementing a centralised real-time management team in Birmingham to support Staples’ customer services teams across Europe. One of the biggest challenges this year, this is his story.

  • Making better use of staffing resources means we can now deliver service for a lower cost and invest more time in our staff and in quality.  
    Introducing conformance and adherence reporting to our management team highlights areas of inefficiency and allows us to track the improvements we are making.
  • Key to our success was gaining operational buy in and breaking down our goal into steps and checkpoints. 
  • Regular reviews, with my line manager, helped me maintain momentum, overcome blockages and deliver on time.

Working across so many countries means that one size does not fit all, raising challenges such as:

  • Experience – No dedicated planning or real-time team, little experience of effective planning or the benefits.
  • Language – six of the sites we support have English as their second language. 
  • IT – mergers & acquisitions have left different CRM platforms and divers local processes.
  • Regional variations –  local scheduling rules are constrained by feedback, regulations or works councils.

Our biggest success has been the level of buy in throughout Europe and managers are now proactively coming to us for data. The Challenge played a key part, helping me create a well-defined goal and action plan. Feedback in the workshops helped me to set realistic targets and not do too much in the first year. The resources and support were so good, from The Forum and the professional community. I trialled new methods, which I now use on a regular basis, and took time away from the normal working environment, to reflect and to share ideas. This is what makes the challenge programme so beneficial. 

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