We were looking at our customer experience and had introduced a training programme to ensure customers receive the same treatment in every store. In addition to a consistent approach to service, we wanted a united staff image. WorkwearTeam developed a bespoke uniform range for us – all branded in line with our guidelines, including our artwork and specific pantone colours. Now, we know customers entering any store will be met with the same greeting from a smart, recognisable staff member.
– HR Director, Harveys / Bensons for Beds
Furniture retailers Harveys and Bensons for Beds are both part of Steinhoff International. Recently, the Group introduced an internal training programme for customer-facing staff called the Customer Services University. The objective was to provide a consistently positive customer experience for shoppers. Dovetailing with this theme, the Group also chose to review its staff uniforms to create a consistent, recognisable appearance for staff in line with each chain’s brand identity.
For several years, OfficeTeam has supplied the Group with a range of business supplies. Having recently begun to supply its staff uniforms, we worked with the Group to unify its staff image by introducing a bespoke workwear selection.
When we initially took over the supply of Harveys and Bensons’ workwear, we adopted historic stock from the outgoing supplier. This included a range of off-the-shelf products, which we depleted to fulfil orders and replenished with like-for-like stock from our own manufacturers. From the outset of the contract, we appointed a dedicated workwear specialist to support the account. So, when the Group launched plans for its Customer Services Academy, we already had experts on hand to help introduce bespoke uniforms, designed in accordance with each outlet’s brand guidelines.
To scope the selection of products required, we reviewed the existing garments and visited stores to talk to staff about what they liked about their uniforms and what could be improved. This exercise revealed some items which were missing from the range. For example, several staff wore their own cardigans over their branded shirts as no cold weather garments had been supplied. This identified a need for branded knitwear as part of the uniform.
We enlisted a graphic designer to illustrate how bespoke uniforms could provide a distinct and consistent image for store staff. Equipped with the product specifications and each outlet’s brand guidelines, they developed design boards to demonstrate the proposed ranges, including cold-weather variants. Once the look was signed-off, we worked with our manufacturers to conduct a lab- dipping exercise to ensure the fabrics selected matched each brand’s pantone colours.
To ensure the final uniforms were absolutely consistent with the approved designs, we introduced sealer cards for each product. These cards accompany each garment from manufacture to delivery and contain details of its specification, such as the size, colour and weight. Before each item goes into manufacturer, these cards are signed off by the Group, WorkwearTeam and our manufacturer – ensuring we are all working to an agreed specification. We check a sample from each incoming and outgoing delivery against the card, providing ongoing quality control.
The new uniforms have been rolled-out in tandem with the Customer Services University. Staff attending the training undergo a sizing, where samples of every item in all sizes are available. Once the sizing is complete, the individual’s order is taken down. Upon graduating from the training, they then receive their uniform.
We have also issued a bespoke wearer guide which includes images and instructions on how the uniform should be worn. This includes the Group’s expectations on how employers should present themselves in terms of hair and accessories. Once again, this promotes a standard image for all staff.
As part of our fully managed service for uniforms, we hold six months’ worth of stock for each line which we constantly replenish based on forecasted demand. The account’s dedicated workwear specialist carries out weekly stock reports to check the volumes held and plan ahead. This includes scheduling orders for any seasonal garments and factoring in any new store openings.
All products are ethically sourced from Sedex and WRAP approved suppliers.
Steinhoff International operates a variety of leading value retail brands across several global markets. Within the UK, its outlets include Harveys and Bensons for Beds. Harveys is the largest furniture specialist in the UK, with over 150 stores nationwide. Bensons for Beds specialises in bed frames, mattresses, divans and bedroom furnishings. It has 270 stores nationwide.