As one of the largest retailers in the UK, Tesco’s property maintenance is a business critical activity. Ensuring these assets are in good condition at all times, requires a continuous programme of enhancement to ensure that all sites deliver the very best experience for the customers.
With around £18B of property, the bulk of which are stores, two-thirds of which are in the UK, this is a major part of the business and it is managed by a dedicated internal organisation, called Tesco Property.
Tesco Property are responsible for the upkeep and continual enhancement of all Tesco properties. This team is a critical element of the business, failures here will have a direct impact on revenues with a ripple effect running throughout the business and customer experience.
On-going training is a critical to the smooth running of this large property portfolio. The Tesco Property team, and the wider Tesco staff, need quick and easy access to information about each location in order to ensure the very best practices can be adhered to at all times.
Technical Training Group
Phil Youles runs the technical training group for the Tesco UK Central Region, covering a large swathe of the midlands from Wales to the Wash. His team is responsible for both the risk assessment processes and the training of Tesco staff across the region, most of whom are based in the stores.
The Technical Training Group also offer its services to other external organisations – suppliers and collaborators – if a external business is working with Tesco, though the bulk of the training is for Tesco staff. With the courses usually being run in training rooms within the stores.
Phil’s team has in depth experience of technical training, but like every organisation, it faced resource challenges as the company grew. In particular, the expanding range of programmes required as the portfolio expanded.
Training had historically been largely paper-based which generated significant on-going costs – printing the training materials and inertia of updating materials to reflect the new developments. It also meant ever-increasing workloads for the training teams, who were often overwhelmed by the manual assessment and feedback processes.
It was felt that integrated technology had the potential to solve this, in summer 2016 Phil’s team piloted the implementation of a tablet-based training programme. Initially researching the available hardware, then identifying and developing the content for the various courses using these new tools.
They made great early progress, discovering and developing a suite of online courses from Safety Media, who have an excellent reputation and wide range of proven training materials. Tesco was able to licence a good selection of these, customising where necessary for its specific needs.
Safety Media were also commissioned to develop some proprietary paper-based Tesco programmes, these were quickly added to the portfolio, including:
- Risk Assessment
- Quality and Diversity
- Change Management
- Working at Height
- Electrical Awareness
There were many others, totalling around 125 courses at any point in time.
With the content developed, tried and tested, the team was now able to focus on the hardware. Choosing the appropriate tablets/manufacturer proved to be the easy bit, they settled on Windows 10-based, 10” tablets from Linx.
They provide each student with a tablet for the duration of the course. So every tablet had to be fully charged before each session, they needed to be easily transported to the relevant room, and securely stored when not in use. This proved to be a more complex challenge.
The solution to this came from Loxit Products, who proved the perfect partner for Tesco. Being Cheshire based, Loxit was able to work closely with Phil’s team, and rapidly came up with the perfect answer: the Loxit TabCart.
A highly mobile solution that will store up to 32, 10″ tablets. USB Charging comes as standard, the units themselves are highly engineered, secure with steel welded joints. They are also lightweight making moving location much easier.
The TabCart provides universal USB charging and a fully lockable, easy access top opening door for in-house security. This gave Phil exactly what he (and the team) required, he originally commissioned 6 TabCarts to get the project moving.
Phil was impressed with the overall quality of the the TabCart’s design, as well as:
- The custom made cushioned compartments – essential for the protection of the tablets as they are transported, particularly the vibration in the vehicles.
- The cart’s ease of use – the tablets were simple to install and remove.
- Its security – the offices are widely accessible to staff and others, but the tablets remained safe and secure at all times.
- Its electrical integrity – as the carts were being used in stores, safety was a key requirement.
- For the overall customer service and responsiveness provided by Loxit.
Phil found working with Loxit gave him flexibility, they were very responsive throughout the project. For example, when he asked about customizing the foam interior, to neatly protect the tablets and damp the vibration when transporting in the vehicles, along with a secure in-vehicle docking solution for each cart, describing the Loxit team as ‘brilliant’ and a ‘very valuable partner’.
After several months of successful operation, Phil reported that the new tablet-based training programme had allowed the delivery of higher-quality training. The faster feedback loops provided greater productivity from each training session.
How it works
Each student is set-up with their own account, this ensures a complete, personalised training history for every member of staff. Even if the employee moves to a different location/store.
This also means the courses can be taken from any location, minimising travel costs, and the records can be accessed from anywhere – a huge advance over the previous paper-based systems.
Loxit’s solution has ensured the tablets are stored securely when not in use, are easily moved to the specific training room when required, and are kept in a fully charged, safe state ready for use, all critical to the effective delivery of quality training. Which in turn ensures Tesco is able to maintain its properties in the best possible condition at all times.
The increased productivity of the training staff has allowed for more training of external groups, which in turn has delivered a useful incremental revenue stream to the company.
Finally, the financial benefit has been both substantial and immediate: the saving in printing costs alone was enough to pay for all the hardware and licensing fees. The savings in travel and time, with huge gains in efficiency, have added further tangible and measurable contributions to the business.
But greater than all this is the end result: a better-trained and more motivated workforce ensuring buildings across the Tesco portfolio are maintained to the very highest standards at all times.
The original intention was to rotate the 6 carts and associated tablets to the other regions in Tesco UK. However, due to the success of the programme, and Loxit introducing the TabCart 16 solution, prompted Tesco Maintenance to replicate the same system into the neighbouring region.