Modern warehouse

How our partnership with pioneering UK retailer drives contingent workforce transformation while achieving cost savings

An eight-year collaboration with Guidant Global has improved contingent workforce efficiency, reduced costs and helped to implement the latest staffing technology into one of the UK’s most prestigious retail brands.

The client

This modern stalwart of British retail has a visionary and successful way of doing business, boldly putting the happiness of its permanent employees at the centre of everything it does. Their people-centric approach has enabled them to stay ahead of the curve and to keep their customers happy for over 100 years, making them one of the UK’s biggest retail success stories. 

However, the way we live our lives is changing and retail is a fast-paced, innovation-led industry which has undergone unprecedented change over recent years, sparking a digital and technological transformation within this organisation. Their contingent workforce has had to rapidly evolve and expand to offer the flexibility of resource they rely on to support the fast-changing needs of their customers. Our contingent workforce management program spanning their entire head office and warehousing / distribution business has helped to make this possible.

Our partnership begins

Due to a period of sustained growth in its business, the need arose for this major UK retailer to outsource the management of its increasingly large and complex pool of contingent IT contractors operating across the organisation. Over the first year, Guidant Global helped to streamline resourcing processes, improve visibility, provided consistency and embedded a strong, honest relationship between ourselves and the client, based on openness and trust. 

In August 2012, due to the success of the program Guidant Global quickly incorporated non-IT head office contractors into the existing managed service program. This combined approach was crucial in helping the organisation achieve annual savings of £1.3 million.

2011 November - first generation outsourcing agreement implemented across the Group. December - managed service for IT goes live. 2012 August - PAYE head office incorporated into contract across the organisation. £1.3m annual savings
Driving savings through innovation

The years spanning 2013-2015 saw significant developments for our partnership. During this period, cost saving initiatives were implemented across the business. Taking more creative approaches to staffing — including workshops, tactical SLAs, and consistent benchmarking — the company was able to make significant savings. In 2013, those amounted to £1.7 million. By 2015, savings increased by 111% to £3.6 million.

There are a number of factors that contributed to the significant growth. Guidant Global took on the supply for a key distribution centre, while also becoming the primary supplier for PAYE roles. Enforced Christmas holidays were also gradually phased in across the business to achieve cost savings, without causing disruption to overall business. 

The supply chain approach also evolved during this period to mirror the ethics and performance of the client’s permanent workforce, applying appropriate performance and bench-mark data to consolidate the supply partners. By the end of 2015 their approach to contingent staffing was more efficient, more cost effective, and more reflective of the brand culture.

2013 January - commenced widespread cost saving initiatives. July - new account team appointed to manage critical hiring across flagship distribution centre and customer delivery hubs in Milton Keynes, Northampton and Stevenage. December - hiring of temporary key customer service representatives during the 2013 Christmas peak. £1.7m annual savings
2014 March - Two major customer delivery hubs moved into the managed service side of our business. April - Guidant Central Sourcing Team (CST) introduced as primary supplier for PAYE roles. August - Our supply chain approach mirrored the ethics of the client from the very start. As the contract evolved, we were able to effectively consolidate the supply partners. Annual savings of £3.6m
Ensuring quality

A brand that is built on such strong ethical foundations needs to make certain that the temporary staff it employs live up to its values. In 2015, Guidant Global introduced a Quality Assured programme to ensure that the contingent staff working for the organisation don’t undermine their brand identity. 

During this time, our supply chain were encouraged and empowered to improve performance and quality based on our fair and transparent benchmarking methodology. Guidant Global audited the MSP program and produced a league table which compared what other businesses were achieving in different sectors. With learnings from the audit implemented across the program, annual savings increased to £3.8 million in 2015.

2015 February - Flagship e-commerce fulfilment centre goes live. Guidant gains on site supply with 75+ live work-ers. Additional distribution centre opens in Milton Keynes and is serviced by Guidant. March - Guidant’s Quality Assured benchmarking programme introduced.  Annual savings of £3.8m
Delivering Christmas
A big part of our client’s brand is built on its iconic Christmas campaigns. In 2013, we delivered Project Gold — to provide the business with the high numbers of customer service consultants needed to successfully deliver Christmas in the UK and manage in bound customer calls.

Each year since then we have delivered over 1,000 distribution workers across a number of different roles over the Christmas period. Our talent acquisition strategy continually evolves and for the peak recruitment period (August-November) in 2017, Guidant created a dedicated and innovative recruitment marketing campaign to attract high volumes of warehouse workers and 7.5 tonne drivers in a targeted and engaging way. This cost-effective campaign resulted in us exceeding client expectations and over-delivering their challenging targets for these hard to fill seasonal roles. 
2016 April - Two additional distribution centres open in London and Milton Keynes and are supported by onsite Guidant team.  July - Co-hosted supplier workshop with a focus on diversity.  August - Launch Sector Based Worker Academy (SBWA) initiative in Milton Keynes and Northampton.  September - Delivered IT Statement of Work project.  November - Client Share digital community launched providing stakeholders with a secure platform for sharing information, data and recruitment intelligence. December - Recruited 1000+ temporary logistics workers to ensure Christmas is delivered to our client’s cus-tomers.  Annual savings of £4m
Transformation through research
Research is one of the most effective ways of improving efficiency and reducing costs. In 2017, Guidant Global launched a pioneering contingent worker research project to help our client optimise their distribution centre workforce. We explored the key factors which drive contingent worker wellbeing and productivity — crucially important as our market shifts towards flexible staffing models which are more reliant on higher numbers of non-employed workers. 

Though the business celebrated £4 million of annual savings in 2016, we envisaged that further improvements could be made. Over the course of the year, a service transformation project was put into place. By the end of the year, all of the findings were implemented across the business — boosting their employer brand, improving efficiency and driving greater cost savings.
2017 February - Pioneering contingent worker research project launched at key distribution centre.  April - Service transformation project kicks off. June - Guidant hosts workshop on Modern Slavery legislation. July - Introduction, development and management of blue collar supply chain.  August - “Take your Place” marketing campaign launched to support Christmas peak.  September - Grocery MSP goes live providing stock replenishment workers across 217 stores during peak. October - SOW buying support service launched and TDX benchmarking and analytics tool is implemented. December - Implemented contingent worker research finding.  Annual saving TBC
Taking further steps

When the organisation needed to enhance its procurement processes, Guidant Global introduced an effective statement of work strategy. A multi-faceted approach was employed. This included the introduction of a new buying strategy — including a masterclass on strategic consultancy management, flexible access to experienced procurement professionals, and a bespoke sourcing toolkit. Once all the aspects of the statement of work were implemented, procurement costs reduced by 20%. 

At the same time, the company now has access to the same visibility and control, process efficiency and cost saving opportunities for third-party Services Procurement as it does for traditional contingent staffing. 

2018 April - Awarded three-year contract extension for all white collar contingent labour. May - Awarded three-year contract extension for all blue collar contingent labour and re-engineered processes for groceries brand.  June - Project to upgrade and sophisticate client’s recruitment technology.  August - Persona-based recruitment marketing campaign for niche Digital & IT roles.  Annual savings TBC
Building the future

Every aspect of our lives is increasingly driven by technology. Over the course of the collaboration with this pioneering customer, Guidant Global has consistently helped integrate the latest tech into their staffing practices. 

From upgrading the vendor management system, to improving UX and candidate experience with a class-leading CRM, to implementing AI and machine learning, we always drive to enhance the journey for both our client and the people it seeks to employ.  Aside from advancing efficiency, productivity, and year-on-year cost savings, it will also consistently provide further improvements in the future.