Barnardo’s has more than 600 retail sites across the UK. Barnardo’s uses Concrete (now part of Quinyx), our task management solution for retail staff. Central operations manager, Jo Strachan, explains how the day-to-day running of Barnardo’s stores has been transformed using Quinyx.
I joined Barnardo’s ten years ago as an area manager, looking after 34 stores. Back then, we had no internal messaging tool, other than email, to contact store colleagues and send communications – and communications were sent from every single department to stores, constantly. There was no ‘gatekeeping’ to streamline which store, or which manager, received which communication. An email might be sent with an instruction for stores, then there’d be a follow-up update, and another – and the information wouldn’t be relevant for everyone anyway. It was my biggest frustration.
All forms were kept on a server too, but old documents and outdated versions weren’t deleted. If there’d been an incident in store that needed to be reported, staff would spend time trying to find the right form to fill in, and it would be the wrong one. It still gives me tingles thinking about that server!
Five years ago, when I was seconded into the role of central operations manager, my aim was to establish a tool that stores could use, where we could communicate centrally and oversee everything that went out to store colleagues. We also needed a main library of documentation – basically where we’d be able to easily delete old versions of forms and know there was only one of each!
That was the start of our relationship with Quinyx. Tom and Simon, our account managers, supported us to create the platform we needed. We tested it initially in one area and got some great feedback, and then rolled it out across the organisation.
One of my team is the manager of the Quinyx platform. We’re now able to ensure all communications for stores come to us a timely manner, we can sense-check everything so we’ve got all the detail, we can push back on timings, we can make sure stores only receive information relevant for them. For example, some of our stores sell bought-in items (i.e., not donated) such as sweets, and we have frequent deliveries of them, as we don’t have a main storage centre. And the calendar – of which store is receiving which delivery - changes all the time. But now we can easily communicate with the relevant stores about their upcoming orders. When the store staff look on their calendars, they’ll only see tasks for their store. It’s a much more efficient process.
We have around 1500 staff using the platform in store. They mainly use it on the shop PC, but some also log in via their phones and I expect this will increase in the future. It’s currently used by our paid colleagues and key volunteers – those who have had additional training – but we want to look at increasing access to include more of our volunteers.
Feedback from the stores has generally been very positive, and it’s a great tool for gaining insights on all aspects of the organisation. We’re planning to hold some user forums in the near future to get further comment from stores about what will help them. For example, we’re exploring whether we might start sending merchandising tasks on a Monday, and anything to do with finance and risk might be on a Tuesday, health and safety might be a Wednesday and so on.
The chat option on our ‘stories’ (on the platform, communication is split into stories - for information – and tasks, which require an action) is also useful for obtaining feedback, enabling the team to ask questions on that particular ‘story’ if they need to.
We’re always looking at ways to improve our processes to make things easier for store colleagues, and Quinyx is a valuable support in doing that. We would be really lost without it now.