Tesco used our programme delivery, change management and capability building expertise to put a floundering start-up back on track in Central Europe.

Tesco are known for the scale of their ambition and their determination to simplify and improve.  Their strategy is to expand in non-food and grow the international business. These come with significant challenges, which we have been helping them with.

In achieving rapid growth, the challenges facing Tesco have been to develop consistent and effective processes and the capability to execute them. Managing effective communication between different operating units and stakeholder groups has also been critical.

In Tesco’s Central European business, as elsewhere, the broad details of the expansion plans were pretty clear: centralise buying and distribution operations, open new warehouse space, install new buying systems, and improve the capability of the people – all in about half the normal time.

What was less clear was how to coordinate, connect, communicate with and train all the right people in the right ways, so that all the stakeholders knew what they needed to know and had the skills to do their jobs effectively.

Our first task was to distil and make visible what needed to be done.  Then we engaged people by clarifying plans and discussing with different groups what was happening, why, and what it might mean to them, using our Visual Project Management Tools.  We structured formal approaches to engagement, communication and training, and spoke with people in less formal ways in order to build relationships and develop understanding.  We also managed a team, defining and improving business process.

We introduced a clear stakeholder management plan as well as communication and training strategies and we followed ‘the Tesco Way’ – a set of simple and effective guidelines for thinking and interacting.  We facilitated meetings and conference calls, crafted visual and written communication documents and trained process experts to deliver training.  We used the company’s strategy management framework to communicate and share the wider context and to keep senior levels engaged.

As a result of our work, the business has made very rapid improvements and has developed the internal capability to manage ongoing changes.

The project kicked off with some difficult targets but all were achieved.  We set up a new legal entity, a complete set of business processes and the new teams to operate them.  We built a large distribution centre from green field to fully-operational within seven months. The first imported pallet was processed successfully on the planned date. We set up a new centralised ordering team, and implemented major business process change. New Oracle Retail systems reduced data entry time from 45 to 16 minutes.

While we have helped in very significant ways, all the results we have achieved have come from within Tesco, and the capability to keep improving remains with them.  They are now closer to achieving their strategy, closer to their values, and closer to giving their customers more of what they want.