Case Study 1 – VWG Bonus Project
VW Group UK (VWG), encompassing Audi, SEAT, Skoda, VW Passenger Cars and VW Commercial Vehicles
VWG employed the services of Akeno to complete an as-is review of their Bonus Payment System. The comprehensive review evaluated systems, people, processes and governance, and included a ‘to-be’ presentation of recommended actions.
Akeno were invited to extend their services into the implementation of the recommended actions, delivering a number of improvements including:
- Enhancements to Retailer facing systems.
- Definition and documentation of processes and procedures to increase efficiencies and improve Governance across the 5 Brands (processes and procedures were documented to strict internal and external audit standards).
- Roll out of electronic signature capability to an existing SAP system to control the release of new car bonus payments to over 850 Retailers in the UK.
- Supported the Senior Leadership Team in strategic decisions around organisation structure and efficiencies.
Akeno supported the project from start to finish. We utilised our breadth of skills and industry knowledge in the following ways:
- Project and work stream management.
- Gathering end user business requirements via workshops and one to one interviews.
- Retailer visits to obtain requirements and communicate key messages.
- Defining new operational processes and enhancing existing operational processes to maximise efficiency and ensure adherence to internal audit standards
- Documenting requirements and liaising with suppliers during development phases.
- Facilitating UAT (User Acceptance Testing).
- Go-live management and communication.
- Training end users and embedding new processes.
- Communication to Senior Leadership Team and the PMO (Project Management Office).
The project workstreams detailed above were delivered on time, to the agreed budget and achieved the following committed outcomes:
- Compliant operational processes and procedures covering the end to end bonus payment processes for all 5 Brands.
- Enhancements to Retailer facing systems to increase the efficiency of new car bonus reconciliation; rolled out to over 850 Retailers in the UK.
- Evidenced most efficient operating model for internal bonus payment teams.
- Rolled out a new electronic signatures system across all 5 Brands to regulate the payment of new car sales bonuses to over 850 UK Retailers.
- Trained end-users and provided coaching and support to embed new systems and processes.
Case Study 2 – SEAT Stores
SEAT UK, on behalf of SEAT Spain
Akeno were invited to join the Project Team responsible for launching a SEAT Store in Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex, in 2016. We joined an established team to provide operational business skills in order to define and document operational processes for the new Store.
In 2016, the concept of omnichannel car sales was a new, highly innovative, and largely untested idea. The approach had to be different. This was not about operating as a retailer in a new location; it was all about the new and improved customer experience. The operating processes had to reflect that. Then there were the logistical challenges to overcome, such as delivering cars to a busy shopping centre (if you’ve ever tried visiting busy shopping centres like Lakeside at Christmas time, you’ll know what a challenge it is in a car, never mind in an 11 car transporter!)
The Lakeside Store opened on time and to budget in August 2016, and was such a great success, plans started for Store number 2 in Westfield White City, London.
This time, Akeno were asked to add Digital Concepts Project Management to their list of responsibilities. As well as driving the operational processes as we did before (with a new set of logistical challenges like having to use an industrial crane to lift the vehicles onto the first floor in the shopping centre!), we also project managed the entire build and launch of the Store itself, working with designers, the building team and IT suppliers.
The operational business processes for both Stores were developed following a number of workshops and one to one sessions with the SEAT UK Team, their Suppliers and Partners. The Stores had a whole new set of needs and challenges that everyone had to overcome; from delivering cars into a busy Shopping Centre, to evaluating the best way to ensure an unsurpassed customer experience. Ideas had to be challenged, and new concepts had to be explored. This challenge and exploration of new ideas was a key part of Akeno’s role.
All operational processes were documented thoroughly to provide a robust blueprint for future Stores. An operational manual was also produced for the Store team and the Retailer Group operating the Store on SEAT’s behalf. This document was written in an intuitive and informative way to support new staff in the future, and to provide knowledge to existing staff, on all parts of the Store operation.
The Westfield Store project was able to take the blue print processes as a base, with adjustments being made for the new challenges that were faced with a Central London Store, including the transporter not fitting into the delivery yard!
The Retail Digital Concepts Project Management aspect of the role also bought a new set of responsibilities:
- Working with the onsite building contractors to manage the physical construction of the Store and its internal fittings (hard hats at the ready!).
- Approving design changes in conjunction with the Chief Designer.
- Liaising with marketing and communication teams to manage key messages to the media.
- Recruiting staff, designing the training programme and ensuring readiness for Store opening.
- Liaising with the factory in Spain to communicate progress and ensure an accurate portrayal of their vision.
- Managing UAT (User Acceptance Testing) of customer-facing systems to ensure an intuitive and accurate user experience.
- Ordering merchandise and designing merchandise display stands.
- Working with the IT Supplier on their delivery of the technical solution.
Both Stores were opened on time and to budget (Lakeside in August 2016 and Westfield White City in August 2017), and continue to go from strength to strength in terms of sales and customer satisfaction.
The Stores have been such as success that other Brands have followed SEAT into the shopping centres, including Mitsubishi who opened in Lakeside in summer 2018.
Learn more about the SEAT Stores:
Case Study 3 – Volvo Cars UK Online Sales
Volvo Cars UK
Akeno were invited to join Volvo Cars UK to support the implementation and rollout of their omni-channel sales solution. The omni-channel solution included a comprehensive website to enable a completely online journey, but also the capability for the Customer to interact with their Retailer at any time in their journey.
The core service requirements were:
- To define and document operational processes for both the customer journey (front end website), and the Retailer interaction (back-office administration).
- To work with the IT Supplier to challenge and input into the design of the digital online solution to ensure a positive customer journey for the Volvo customers (from an end-user perspective, rather than from a technical design perspective).
- To project manage, own, and deliver, the areas of responsibility, feeding into the wider Project Team and associated Suppliers and Partners.
- To define the User Acceptance Testing strategy, and manage the execution of the testing, including writing test stories, engaging testers, managing defects and retests, and ensuring delivery against plan and budget. (Not the technical and functional testing, which was conducted by a 3rd party).
Time, resource and budget were limited, so immediate results were required in order to ensure a successful outcome. The project had already been initiated and was underway when the Akeno team were engaged, so it was essential that we quickly got up to speed with the achievements to date, the Supplier relationships, and any other key nuances and details. This was achieved within the first few days on site, and it was then straight into planning and delivering the work streams.
The service requirements were achieved in the following ways:
- A blend of one-to-one stakeholder interviews and group workshops, in order to draw out requirements for the online system and the operational processes.
- Engagement with Retailers via visits to their individual locations in order to obtain a detailed understanding of their business as usual (and how that would be impacted by a digital sale), and also requirements to feed into the final solution.
- Ownership for workstream delivery in line with the wider project plan.
- Regular communication with Suppliers, Partners, Stakeholders, Senior Managers and the wider Project Team.
- Working closely with the IT Supplier who delivered the digital solution.
The online sales capability was released on time and in budget. It was quickly proven to be a success and achieved its first online sale shortly after launch. It has continued to be a positive sales tool for Retailers.
Akeno delivered all agreed outcomes to the Volvo Cars UK Team:
- A suite of compliant operational processes that clearly defined the customer journey and system interactions.
- A fully documented user-acceptance testing approach, including standards, templates, blueprints and best practices.
- A legacy for future projects; process templates, blueprints, best practices, guidance and support.
- Handover of all processes and documentation to internal Teams to ensure continuity.
- Embedding the solution; ensuring internal Teams were fully engaged and understood their role in supporting the solution and the Retailers.
Case Study 4 – Jaguar Land Rover (Global)
Jaguar Land Rover (Global)
Peer to Peer Learning
Change is a funny thing… Deep down, we all know it's needed, but when it happens to you it can be frustrating.
You're trying to get on with your day job and a wedge of paper lands on your work station. It's a new Company Directive/Advisory Note/Policy Document from Head Office to read, understand and adhere to…did I mention that you're trying to get on with your day job….
This is where change becomes an imposition, an inconvenience; and funnily enough, not very well received.
Change is essential to business innovation though; even more so after an exercise of review and learning.
Akeno were engaged to work with the thebigteam, by Jaguar Land Rover, to work with their Aftersales function in the Global Retailer network to improve workshop optimisation.
After a period of learning, we established the issues and areas of opportunity. The solutions and changes were defined, but the challenge was how to communicate them.
During the learning exercise, we utilised the Barrett Model approach to analyse how the teams on the ground felt. This is important as it enables us to understand the best way to embed the change.
People are one of the most important assets of any business. If your people are unhappy, their motivation will be low, which impacts on their productivity, efficiency and customer service levels.
Our analysis showed that a peer to peer approach to learning and change would be most effective. Rather than focusing on the negatives, we focused on the positives. We used a range of media including easy to digest video clips, simple written assets, and even podcasts to communicate the change and share examples of great practice.
The impact was great, the feedback was positive and well received, and most importantly, workshops became more optimised. By taking the time to learn before rushing ahead with changes, we were able to demonstrate a rapid and positive outcome for the Technician, the Retailer, the Customer and the Brand.