Retail Case Study

“Lakeland now has a system which is very usable, sustainable and fits our needs.”

John Miller
Financial Controller

Immediate Benefits

  • Sustainable, future proof solution with a team of support available and automated backup
  • Integration with HR and payroll increasing speed and accuracy of information
  • Reduction in time spent on inputting and administration
  • Automated rostering saves time with easily editable features
  • Automation of holiday accrual

Challenges and Opportunities

  • Replace outdated bespoke with agile, high functionality software
  • Change culture of bespoke software and spreadsheets to paperless solution
  • Easy to use and cost-effective solution accessible to staff and managers

Background

Lakeland is one of the UK’s leading kitchenware companies. John Miller is their Financial Controller and was the main project manager and principal lead in the roll out of the workforce management project for Lakeland.

Challenges

“We realised about three years ago that the software we used for our workforce management was going to need a total overhaul,” John explains. “Our system was unique to us – it was totally bespoke and had been written by a third party which meant that we faced a considerable degree of risk should anything go wrong with it. There was only one person available who could support it and as the business was expanding we needed the security of a reliable and well supported system that could grow with us.”

Procurement

Lakeland undertook a pilot with one organisation but soon realised that it didn’t have the depth of functionality or knowledge and expertise in the retail sector.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t go the way we planned,” says John. “It was clunky and not user friendly – very tricky to navigate.”

John and his team of three store managers then looked at RITEQ. “I would really recommend including the people who will be using RITEQ to be involved in the process – it not only fosters ownership of the project but also gives them the opportunity to feedback on what they really need on the shopfloor.”

These store managers went on to help roll the system out through Lakeland’s 68 stores. They recruited ‘super-users’ throughout Lakeland so their knowledge was spread out and shared.

“The managers in each setting used spreadsheets before we introduced RITEQ and some of them were not keen to let these go,” says John. “We didn’t introduce clocking machines either but instead went straight to the PC and some managers were convinced this would not work. We were under some degree of pressure as this was a big investment for us and we needed it to be successful. With the help of the project team of managers we won members of staff over and Lakeland now has a system which is very useable, sustainable and fits our needs.”

Implementation and Pilot Scheme

Andy Bell, Store Manager, was one of the three project managers who were part of the initial procurement process and then led the pilot scheme where RITEQ was implemented in three stores before rolling out to the whole organisation.

“Our implementation consultant was brilliant,” Andy comments. “He helped us through every stage and was very knowledgeable and patient with us all, even helping us to produce a company manual that new starters can now download to help them use RITEQ from day one.”

“This pilot went really well and enabled us to iron out initial teething problems like issues with the way we record holidays. Phone queries were dealt with quickly and professionally by members of RITEQ staff,” he continues. “Changing software systems is always a challenge, particularly when dealing with members of staff who are not very computer-savvy but RITEQ is very user-friendly. Even our most techno- phobic members of staff could use it easily and without problems.”

“We have template rotas set up and they roll forward constantly unless we intervene to make a change,” Andy explains.
“Lakeland store managers plan their schedules in different ways. In my store I plan the rota on a fortnightly basis but some of my colleagues plan on a six weekly rota. Rotas in RITEQ are quick and easy to set up and edit – if somebody is absent at short notice, I can go in and edit the rota replacing that person in minutes.”

“The difference between our previous system and RITEQ is like chalk and cheese,” he says. “The other system was very slow and not intuitive. RITEQ’s usability is excellent.”

The relationship between Lakeland and RITEQ was a very successful one which made the pilot flow well. RITEQ’s implementation consultant was very clear in his feedback also – “Lakeland selected excellent people to be involved in the project. The store managers knew the real requirements of the software and they were a pleasure to work with on a personal level. Everyone involved had a constructive attitude which really helped when tackling issues,” he comments. “RITEQ and Lakeland had a common goal from the start, and throughout which meant we felt that we really were on the same team.”Once the pilot had finished, Lakeland used a phased roll out approach with the remaining stores to ensure each store manager would get the support they needed to be able to use RITEQ effectively. RITEQ was fully rolled out in 2018.

Additional Enhancements

John Miller also listed some of the additional features that RITEQ offers. “RITEQ is interfaced into our HR system, People Inc, which means all information is automatically updated. New starters feed into the rosters immediately as the data flows through. In practice this reduces our workload and there is far less scope for errors when inputting data,” he explains.

“Also, when people change contracts their holiday entitlement changes. This used to be a manual process that took ages. It is now calculated automatically through RITEQ which saves time and reduces errors.

“Now all the stores are on one system everything is quicker, easier to navigate and back up. In terms of support we have a team now to call upon instead of just one person – our initial requirement.”

“Rotas in RITEQ are quick and easy to set up and edit – if somebody is absent at short notice, I can go in and edit the rota replacing that person in minutes.”

Andy Bell
Store Manager

Plans for the Future

John hopes to roll out RITEQ’s employee self service functionality this year. “Feedback has been excellent from the pilot store that has used it – with employees able to request holiday, view their working schedules and look ahead to shifts booked,” he says. “Scheduling and rostering will eventually all be automated within RITEQ for the managers to authorise and we will need a week by week rolling rota which is in the standard package. “RITEQ is very agile and adaptable to our needs,” says John. “This is the kind of approach that we at Lakeland like. Some software companies wouldn’t take the time needed with organisations like us – RITEQ makes us feel that we really matter.”

Company Facts

Location: Head Office, Windermere, Lake District
Industry: Retail
Website: https://www.lakeland.co.uk

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