Transforming Business Processes to Improve Customer Experience

Retail and Consumer Products

North Highland worked with a leading UK retailer, to provide high-quality business analysis, problem solving and process design to reform their business process unit, identify pain points and propose short and long-term solutions to drive change.

Client Situation

The major UK retailer was experiencing significant issues spanning the end-to-end supply chain from Buying and Merchandising through to IT and Distribution. They were unable to meet the demands of in store pickup of online orders during peak periods of demand, and the infrastructure for launching products onto their website was not capable of supporting the anticipated increase in number of SKUs. These issues were resulting in unexpected closures, failed deliveries, and system outages. Additionally, their newest initiative, a customisable sofa option, was having difficulty meeting demand, and their supplier direct channel, which covers all products sold by the retailer that were not sourced from their warehouses, was not delivering a consistent customer experience.

The major UK retailer approached North Highland for help to understand existing ways of working, identify pain points and propose short and long-term solutions to drive change.

Our Approach

North Highland used a combination of tools and techniques (including interviews, process observation, process mapping, five why’s, hypothesis testing, role play, and workshop facilitation) to evaluate and improve four key areas:

  • Click & Collect: Conducted an end-to-end review of their processes and systems to identify the root causes of their pain points. North Highland then proposed potential solutions to address the problems in the retailer's E2E process for in store pickup of online orders during peak periods.
  • Item Creation: Reviewed the process and technology elements of their infrastructure for launching products onto their website, and identified solutions to move from a silo based approach focused on individual KPIs to improving the end-to-end flow, shifting their focus to the common goal of getting a product live.
  • Customisable Sofa: Conducted an independent review to identify the key pain points, opportunities for improvement and outline a formal process to manage exceptional circumstances, ensuring they would be able meet the high demand stemming from their new customisable sofa initiative.
  • Supplier Direct: Lead a review of the end to end process to understand the core issues, identify a future vision for the channel and develop a delivery roadmap. North Highland used visioning techniques to shift the client into the future and consider the problem via the lens of the customers and suppliers, which gave them a perspective they had never previously considered.

“North Highland are excellent at considering the client’s position and getting to the crux of the issue. They provide the honest response, giving great visibility on the train of thought and all the while presenting back exceptionally well.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                    – Customer Delivery Operations Manager

Value Delivered

North Highland helped the major UK retailer's Business Process Unit understand core issues and identify long term solutions that would be catalysts for change. The results included:

  • Click & Collect: Provided a prioritised list of recommended improvements with associated costs and benefits, that formed the basis of their business case. 20% of recommendations were taken forward and implemented, including those impacting the Customer Experience. By implementing these recommendations, they were able to meet the demands of next year's peak period.
  • Item Creation: Supported the implementation of a continuous improvement function to manage and deliver ongoing change, increasing the number of live SKUs by 35% and increasing trade by 32% compared with the previous year.
  • Customisable Sofa: Provided a prioritised list of recommended improvements and established a cross functional working group (meeting monthly) to review the list, update on progress and identify new opportunities to drive continuous improvement. We proposed 40 improvement opportunities, of these 25 were actioned and 16 have been implemented.
  • SD Channel: Established a Process Improvement Roadmap to drive better ways of working and introduce significant efficiencies into the client’s supply chain. Supported the implementation of Supplier Portal by developing processes to use system data to shift their contact centre from a reactive to proactive customer approach. Reducing the number of internal team touch points by over 30%, and shifting the balance of reactive to proactive contact by over 20%, resulting in a reduction of call volumes.


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