Homefashion Group: changing the customer journey requires changing of processes

Kwantum, is the largest home discounter in the Netherlands and Belgium, and Leen Bakker is a well-known  furniture and interior shop. Together, they form the Homefashion Group.

HSO and Homefashion Group build a new foundation together

When you come to the Netherlands or Belgium, you will probably run into them: Kwantum, the largest home discounter in the Netherlands and Belgium, and Leen Bakker, the furniture and interior shop. Together, they form the Homefashion Group. Both companies faced a huge challenge: not only to develop a new way of working but also the urgent need for new systems and processes that met today's customer's needs.

Need to transform the way of working

"There is a big change going on in the customer journey, in customer expectations and in the sales model in retail. Customers no longer want the one blue three-seater sofa from the brochure, but a custom-made sofa in the perfect colour," explains Noël Manning, director of Tech & Data at Homefashion Group. "The customer decides what, when and how they order something. That change is clearly visible, but our IT systems were still built based on that standard blue three-seater sofa. It was high time to adapt."

A new customer journey

The customer journey has changed significantly. For instance, customers no longer come to the physical shop to buy curtains and hang them themselves. They first look around in the webshop and then come to the store, where they expect service and advice. A salesperson will go through different options with them, an interior advisor might come to the customer's home to measure and a service expert will come around to hang the rod and curtains.

Adapting processes, systems and organisation of two companies

Kwantum and Leen Bakker are very similar in terms of processes. After extensive research and from a financial point of view, HFG decided to develop a single system that could serve both companies. "For example: in a home and furniture shopping mall, our shops are often next to each other. Currently, we drive from the distribution centre to both shops separately. That could be done a lot more efficient. That's why we went for synergy," says Noël Manning.

Jos Otermans, responsible for customer engagement in retail at HSO adds: "The question of turning two ERP systems into one, quickly moved to a new business model and a complete application architecture, that fits the synergy and the new way of working."

Shared objectives

Jos: "Building the new platform is in full force. We are collaboration closely with the people of Homefashion Group. With an agile way of working , we constantlyu monitor the objectives of the programme. We develop, analyse, reflect and adjust where necessary. In sprints, we translate our wishes into processes and IT solutions. Ultimately, we create the right mix of new systems. We collect those systems in the architecture and develop them in Condor, a programme that will be set up broadly for Homefashion Group."

What will the architecture look like?

Jos: "We base the omnichannel architecture on five pillars: price data, article data, stock, orders and customer data. The ERP system takes care of the financial processing. And in the CRM platform, we collect all customer information. We also keep track of stock and know exactly in which shops we can fulfil the demand."

Noël adds: "It's not just the processes and IT that are being addressed; this project also has a big impact for the organisation. For this aspect, we work together with another consulting company and collaborate closely with HSO, since all components must eventually merge into one new way of working."

"HSO is closely involved into our business processes. This allows us to merge organisational processes into the technical aspects. This shows that HSO is more than just an implementation partner."

Noël Manning Director Tech & Data Homefashion Group

The choice is vast. Why HSO?

"We want a partner with a certain maturity. A team that recognizes what we need and brings best practices and experience. For us, that is HSO," comments Noël Manning, director Tech & Data Homefashion Group.

Jos Otermans adds: "We want to add true value as a company. We see the employees of Homefashion Group as colleagues and we are working very hard as one team to build a new foundation, that results in synergy, a new way of working and putting customer first."

A new way of working

How do employees view these changes and are they positive? Noël: "The employees have been involved in the project from an early stage. Should any concerns arise, we take them seriously. For this we appointed a number of change leads: employees who are involved in the project at management level and bring the story to the shop floor."

"Also from HSO, we continuously monitor whether the organization is still aligned," Jos says. "Fortunately, we see that everyone understands that the changes are necessary and that the need for a new way of working is significant."

"To cope with the workload of the project, we have hired extra capacity. This way, enough employees are free to fully participate in this enormous program" explains Noël.

Jos: "We also want to make it a pleasant experience. So we celebrate the successes together with drinks and bring fun into the meetings".

Plans for the future

The total project will take several years to complete. Jos: "For Kwantum and Leen Bakker we can expand and develop the processes even further. Homefashion Group wants to be part of the customer's life: starting with furnishing the baby room, later the student room and everything in between and beyond. That all starts with a good foundation of data and processes, which we are building now."

Dreaming about the future is always good, but Noël stays in the present: "We are at a crucial moment, now that the strategy we have defined is actually being implemented. We will now start implementing the systems and continue to work on innovation for our customers."

"There are many issues that require a lot of technical knowledge. A Microsoft partner like HSO is perfect for that."

Noël Manning Director Tech & Data bij Homefashion Group

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