The client

Our client is one of the largest independent retailers in the UK. Known for their ethical credentials, they operate over 400 food stores and service outlets from West Yorkshire to East Anglia.


The challenge

Following the significant impact of Covid on the retail industry, there was a drive to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure that customers were at the heart of all operations.

A new leadership team was in place, and a new operating model was required. They asked Change Associates to help.

What we did

Change Associates assembled a team experienced in retail, organisation design and orgvue™ – the leading organisation design and workforce planning tool.

We started with an assessment of the business’s current state, including qualitative interviews with key individuals. We then conducted a detailed quantitative analysis of the organisation structure and costs using orgvue™.

This phase also included upskilling the senior leadership and HR teams in organisation design and the detailed approach and tools we recommended for the programme.

We then worked with the CEO and senior team to design the future operating model. This involved securing agreement to several organisational changes with activities stopping, starting, changing, and moving between functions to build a more cohesive, efficient and customer-centric business.

These decisions were guided by the key design principles which had been agreed by the team at the outset, as well as some constructive challenges from the Change Associates team.

The impact of different options was modelled in orgvue™ with functional leaders. The senior team met regularly to share progress, ensure continued alignment, and discuss how best to support their people through the change.

The result

  • The programme identified and delivered £5m of cost savings
  • The orgvue™ modelling revealed some new insights, such as the team was bigger than had previously been reported, and there were more temporary workers
  • The new model was more efficient with more activity focused on driving benefits for customers
  • The leadership team was aligned in the future direction of travel, and supported one another in some difficult changes
  • They decided to make a long-term investment in orgvue™ to help manage future headcount. Leaders had been impressed by the ease with which they could model multiple scenarios, and the clarity and focus it brought to decision making

Image (c) Shutterstock | BearFotos


“We’ve learnt a lot – thank you for getting us there”.


“A huge thank you for all your support on the project. We couldn’t have got there without you, so I wanted to let you know how much we appreciate all your support”.


“Just wanted to say a personal thank you for all your support, guidance, and incredible expertise over the past 6 months, we really couldn’t have done this without you”.

Senior People Partner