Ruud Schoenmakers new IG&H partner within retail practice

By | News, Retail

IG&H expands the retail branch of the company with Ruud Schoenmakers as new partner. Schoenmakers joined IG&H as a consultant in 2005. Since then, he has served both national and international customers in the areas of retail, trade, logistics and financial services.

IG&H is a leading player in business transformations, where new platform technology plays an accelerating role. “Our approach is distinctive because sector experts and experts in the field of technology, data science and organisational transformation work together intensively. I really believe in that. That is why I’d like to join IG&H as a partner for a long time. By combining different competencies, strategy becomes reality and we can help our customers make a difference for their own customers,” Schoenmakers says.

The new partner is mainly involved in the changing digital retail market. In recent years he has developed innovative concepts in several areas, including smart pricing, last mile delivery, new business ventures and agile business transformations. As a sector expert he is also involved in converting traditional IT environments into high performance platforms, making customers more innovative, agile and keeping costs relevant.

Although the head office of IG&H is located in the Netherlands, Schoenmakers has gained a lot of experience abroad. He has worked in England, Poland, France, Belgium, Germany and America, among other countries.

“Ruud has proven to be able to complete major change processes for international customers. He has really helped leading retailers reach a higher level in times of disruption. This allowed them to innovate faster and respond better to customer demand. In recent years Ruud has proven to be a true IG&H person; he looks at the facts and at the same time knows how to create energy in the organisation”, says managing partner Jan van Hasenbroek.

Improve inventory management Wehkamp

By | Casestudys, Retail

What did the customer want:

wehkamp.nl encountered challenges in reducing working capital and stock levels while the availability of products remained unchanged. The aim was to improve internal processes and prevent unnecessary investments in distribution networks.

We took into account the following context:

  • Availability on the following day is extremely important for the business model.
  • Mixed procurement NW Europe versus Eurasia.
  • Physical limitations in the network, demanding non-profitable investments if they were not averted.

What was our approach?

  • Short quick scan and design phase to determine approach and improvement potential.
  • Agile, hands-on approach that is result oriented, and in collaboration with management and employees.
  • Weekly stand-ups with direct feedback on improving the results.
  • Focus on the largest suppliers to provide (short-term) evidence for this way of working.
  • We supported teams with data analysis to improve decision making.
  • Multiple preconditions for improving the sustainability of the solution (KPIs and incentives, organisation design, management style, supplier management, etc.)

What have we achieved?

  • In just 3 months, time stocks and working capital were reduced to 25%, the stock turns improved to 60%. The lost sales and operating costs remained unchanged.
  • The incoming receiving capacity in the distribution center improved by 35%.
  • Development of supplier performance monitor.
  • Improved collaboration between sales and operations.

What did the customer think:

“Refreshing, practical approach, with clear results. An advisor who does not only do what the client organisation wants to achieve, and thereby finds a whole new angle of approach.”

Step change in product availability Intertoys

By | Casestudys, Retail

What did the customer want:

Intertoys had to contend with poor product availability, which led to a significant loss of sales. The aim was to increase the availability of DC stock from around 50% to over 80%. The company wanted to achieve this before the start of the high season in the autumn, without increasing the total inventory levels.

What was our approach?

  • Intertoys’ assortment, together with the category management team, validated and sorted in order to identify a regularly refillable assortment.
  • Along two tracks – data quality and merchandise planning – we developed quick wins and a sustainable improvement of tools and processes to complement the right assortment with the right stock levels.
  • Development of a commercial approach to sell surplus stocks at minimum price discounts.
  • Merchandising planners trained in their new roles.

What have we achieved?

  • Availability of the DC stock rose from around 50% to over 80% over a period of about three months.
  • Increased data quality to enable a more streamlined operation.

What did the customer think:

“In a dynamic retail context, we wanted to improve the availability of the DC stock and to develop a reliable replenishment process. The IG&H approach helped us to combine quick wins with sustainable improvements in product availability and stock levels. IG&H provided the right structure and transparency for our activities through the implementation of every step of the project “

Optimalisation of a distribution centre for a large Dutch retailer

By | Casestudys, Retail

What did the customer want?

For a large Dutch retailer, the DC (distribution center) is essential. Keeping logistics costs manageable guarantees competitive prices, happy customers, and a competitive position. Our customer’s current DC is no longer sufficient, but which products will we put in the new DC, and how, and why? For the best results, we will make these decisions based on hard facts and data so that we can optimally focus on the DC.

What was our approach?

A dynamic model that determines the optimal allocation in real time, for every situation. We have built an advanced Linear Program that optimally allocates all SKUs within the DC. This optimum is determined on the basis of costs (hourly wages & productivity, return percentages, turnover rate, etc.) but also, for example, capacity and the characteristics of the SKUs. All input is fully customisable so that infinite scenarios can be compared.

What have we achieved?

On the basis of the most recent data and desired adjustments, S & OP can optimally set up the DC. S & OP not only has the tools to optimise the current situation, but can also use it for future changes. Capacity problems are already clear in advance because predictions, in combination with the tool, can determine the ideal DC of the future.

What did the customer think?

Practical logistics experts. Good balance between concepts and practical applications.

Strategic frameworks for structural renewal of the product range for non-food retailer Blokker

By | Casestudys, Retail

What were the client’s needs:

Clear strategic framework for a structural implementation of a new product range:

  • Addressing the customers’ needs by a structural review of the current product ranges and by adding products that are lacking.
  • Improving the price perception of the customers by rolling out a clear price strategy based on dynamic prices.
  • Expansion of the own brand product range for an attractive margin, realising the quality promise, and giving a price signal to the market.

What was our approach?

  • Design and execution of a category briefing process for a structural review of product ranges based on reviewed category roles and a uniform structure of the customer decision tree.
  • Setting up a process for the identification, assessment, and execution of product ranges that are lacking.
  • Creating a clear and dynamic price strategy which has been further developed into price guidelines that can be implemented for every established price category.
  • Optimising the own brand policy, established at product group level with clear guidelines for the implementation of the private label product range.

What did we achieve?

  • Demonstrated and structural category briefing process in which strategy, format, category, management, and shop experience are all combined to develop a clear renewal of the product range.
  • Clear price strategy that can be implemented, structured up to SKU level
    Optimised private label policy which gives direction for the implementation of the own brand product range.

Omnichannel distribution network design Blokker

By | Casestudys, Retail

What were the client’s needs:

Due to crucial organisational changes, increasing online sales volumes, and continuous developments in the commercial propositions and product range, there was an apparent need to restructure the distribution network in order to:

  • Accelerate the desired commercial proposition.
  • Support the omnichannel fulfilment ambition (for example with entirely interchangeable online/offline distribution channels, shop pick-up, shops storage).
  • Improve the efficiency, costs, and capacity of the distribution centre.

What was our approach?

  • In collaboration with the management, we established the scale of the commercial proposition in order to facilitate it by deploying the new distribution network (e.g. the number of SKUs, channel mix, product features).
  • Development of a growth model for logistic volumes
    Assessment of the current distribution structure, identification of problems/bottlenecks, and the execution of a fit-gap analysis with the growth model.
  • Development of future warehouse layout, automation options, detailed processes, and IT/WMS requirements.
  • Development of the business cases for every scenario, including the required investments and reduction of costs.
  • Facilitating boardroom decisions.

What did we achieve?

  • We developed a solid omnichannel concept for the distribution centre where inbound, storage, and picking activities for online and offline flows are integrated and supported by automated processes.
  • Substantial cost reduction of 18-20% on the total distribution costs.
  • The distribution centre has been structured in such a way that it will not just facilitate the current commercial ambitions but also those in the future.

What was the client’s experience:

“IG&H pools thorough logistic expertise and combines this with a pragmatic approach for an effective decision forming process based on facts.”

When does technology enhance customer experience?

By | News, Retail

Using in-store technology to inspire customers is not as important as may be expected, IG&H concludes from a survey conducted among 2000 Dutch consumers. “Technology can further enhance customer experience but the right ambiance and personal attention are still decisive”, say retail consultants Joris de Bruin and Evelien Kip.

It is key to understand how great or poor customer experience influences your consumer’s behavior and your success as a retailer”, De Bruin explains. To provide retailers with more in-depth insights about the latest trends in retail, IG&H is going to publish regular updates. This research about customer experience is the sum of all online and offline interactions with a retailer’s products, services and brands.

“We see a lot of buzz around augmented reality, AI and mobile payment, but the effect of these advanced technologies on customer experience is (still) very limited if it does not contribute to ambiance and personal attention. Don’t bother to start using advanced in-store technology or social interaction experiments to improve customer experience, unless you have these basics right”, he says.

 

Personal attention is most appreciated

70 percent of the customers surveyed said to value personal attention most in an offline store. A good in-store ambiance is appreciated by 60 percent. Almost half of the respondents enjoy an element of surprise. “Think about ‘tokens of appreciation’ such as free demo products, gifts, additional services or just a sincere compliment or thank you from the staff”, Kip says.

Getting the basics right is key in creating a great customer experience

This does not mean that retailers can ignore technology completely, she explains. “Contactless payments, apps and self-scanning definitely contribute to the customer experience, but should further improve personal attention, design and ambiance. Retailers often forget about further educating and developing well-trained employees with a relentless focus on the customer.”

As a good example in this field, she names Coolblue with their XL stores. “A warm welcome awaits from a dedicated employee once you enter the store. Based on your needs, you are guided directly into the right customer journey”.

To create an excellent in-store ambiance, Kip advises on creating a multi-sensory experience, like the smell of fresh bread in the supermarket. “A great example is the Jumbo Foodmarket concept: extra wide and clearly classified isles, decorated with culinary elements speak to the imagination during your journey to the counter.”

A tailored approach to the online customer experience is required

In the online world, ambiance (or design) is most important, according to the respondents. “This can be translated into providing a user-friendly website with an appealing design aligned with the brand’s image. Contrary to the offline world, personal attention is not a must-have for a great online customer experience. We believe this is heavily linked to a shopper’s mindset and goal. Online shoppers often want a quick, easy and more anonymous journey”, Kip says.

Great customer experience transforms customers into brand ambassadors

IG&H Retail consultants focus on helping retailers to remain relevant. “Being relevant to your customers should be the key objective”, De Bruin observes. “Relevance can be achieved through successfully aligning your organization’s purpose and proposition with your customer’s expectations. It requires a connection with your customers on an intrinsic level, they need to be able to identify themselves with your brand. Key to this is providing them with a great customer experience that exceeds expectations.”

Loyal customers will act as true brands ambassadors

If a retailer succeeds, customers return more often, tell their friends and family about their experiences, and tend to buy more, leading to an increased revenue. Margins are not that easy to improve, as customers are not willing to pay more for the same products or services while having a great experience.

“A poor customer experience impacts everything, from the bottom line, to loyalty and reputation. It will make your brand less relevant and eventually lead to ending up in the retail graveyard. Retailers who put their time and effort into providing personal customer attention at the highest level possible and constantly create a pleasant ambiance, will create loyal customers who act as true brands ambassadors”, he advises.

Curious about how Dutch retailers score on customer experience? We will announce which retailers are the winners and which ones need to pay more attention to it soon.

Last-mile delivery model under pressure; paradigm shift inevitable

By | News, Retail

Rising e-commerce sales are driving up demand for parcel deliveries. Good times for logistics carriers, you might think. However, the parcel delivery sector has been under pressure for some time now: PostNL saw its operating results drop in the third quarter. In Germany, DHL made a significant (downwards) revision to its profit forecast for 2018. Where have things gone wrong, and is there a way up?

Currently, most parcel carriers are facing major operational challenges. For example, delivery personnel (mostly freelancers and subcontractors) regularly complain about high working pressure and underpayment. Yearly events such as Black Friday and Singles Day cause enormous spikes in delivery volume, which are in turn difficult to process on time. In Chinese postal depots, we saw parcels literally flying around. The danger of strikes always lurks. Recently, in the Netherlands, there were threats of strike action by delivery personnel around the time of the Dutch Sinterklaas festivities. Read More

Boosting 8% revenues by aligning customer needs and assortment via >330 new floorplans

By | Casestudys, Retail

What the customer wanted

Matching customer needs to the products offered in the store:

  • The current store formats were not in line with the needs of the typical customer of this non-food chain
  • There were limited smart data insights on shelve performance

What we did

  • Built a data system to measure shelve performance on various metrics (revenue, margin, quantity sold per m3).
  • Developed a smart grid to create logical “assortment building blocks” to design a store.
  • Used a sorting algorithm (based on shelve performance) to define >330 store specific floorplans, including:
    • Formula strategic guidelines on specific ‘core’ assortment groups
    • Geographical aspects of store (proximity of competitors)

What we achieved

  • Enabled the non-food retailer to transform >300 stores to a store where the customer can find its products again – with expected benefits:
    • 7% more customers
    • 8% revenue increase
    • 11,5% margin improvement

What the customer said

“IG&H really understood our Retail business and what was needed to transform our stores to the right set up for our customers. Using both smart analytics and understanding of our retail systems and tools they really delivered great output. Without IG&H, we would not have been able to transform our stores in the right layout format on time” – Bas Verheijen, Director Marketing & Formula

Enabling a strategic assortment renewal at a Dutch non-food retailer

By | Casestudys, Retail

What they wanted
A big Dutch non-food retailer wanted to get a better grip on commercial processes to accommodate further professionalization of the organization. Therefore, a short-term strategic assortment renewal was needed. Its realization required a clear organizational structure, transparent end-to-end processes, and pragmatic tools. Additionally, the implementation of first-time-right store transformation processes should result in the rollout of the new store concept.

What we did
We designed a clear, complete organizational structure, including clear descriptions of jobs and responsibilities based on best practices in the market. Furthermore, we provided the design and implementation of end-to-end processes in close cooperation with middle management. In doing so, we focused on having constant insight into progress to enable monitoring and management. Quick wins were implemented right away. For example, we held daily stand-up meetings for operational control. We also realized simplification by introducing event classification, among other things.

What we achieved
Together, we have established a future-proof buyer-planner organization offering better grip on category management: the non-food retailer can react to the market proactively and has more control of closing stocks, revenue, and margins. In addition, first-time-right processes regarding the planning of store and shelf layout have led to an effective management of the flow of goods, resulting in a 95% product availability. We have also realized an end-to-end assortment renewal process. The result: a controlled assortment renewal of 30% in 2017, up to even 50% in 2018. Moreover, we have improved the quality of article data entry: the margin of error dropped from 60% to less than 10%.

What they said
“Thanks to IG&H, we have re-obtained grip on and control of key commercial and supply chain processes. This is crucial for achieving our revenue, margin, and stock-level targets.”