'A lean, mean fighting machine': Moving towards shiny new technology….

As always, lots has happened over the past two weeks, here in People Services.

The Continuous Improvement work is really taking shape with Andrew Bolton – Business Improvement Manager – running workshops to apply "lean" tools and techniques to our current processes. This has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of steps in each process which, as you can imagine, improves the flow of the work and gives us additional space to introduce more ‘value add’ activities for the customers.

We are taking a phased approach to introduce these changes to the floor. All this activity will dovetail into the introduction of … our new technology!! …Yes, you heard us…we are all gearing up for the introduction of a telephony and case management solution for the centre in order to prepare us for the much-anticipated Somerfield integration. These new technology solutions will support our work on the entire organisational design of our centre and hopefully push us beyond delivery…and farther.

Alongside this we have implemented an entire floor audit and upgrade of our previously under-performing PCs, which should equip everybody with the tools they need to do the job.

Another new and exciting technology tool that has had 100% take up in our food stores is the manager self-service initiative. This allows managers to be in control of much of the inputting for their new starters and leavers and also brings our operating model more in line with that of Somerfield. This new way of working is beneficial to the managers – our customers – as it allows them to manage data and have more accountability for their stores. It also happily frees up time in our teams for more "value add" activity, which again, benefits the customers. We are all about the yielding of efficiency and lean processes as this can only be of benefit to all.

With all this activity gearing up towards Christmas, we feel it only proper to get everybody together and show our appreciation for all the hard work and achievements we’ve seen throughout the year, across the floor. To this end we are organising a "People Services Appreciation Awards Ceremony" mid-December, and we are hoping this will be an evening to remember. It is being organised by my PA and it seems she has a real skill for blowing budgets! Let’s hope we won’t have to live on rations in the New Year…but in all seriousness, this centre has come a long, long way in such a short time and I am very keen to let everybody know how pleased I am with their performance.

On a final note, with all this talk of mutual appreciation, the group talkback results have this week been announced….we have improved by a massive 8 points since last year. Just another reason to go and celebrate!