Ideas for continuous improvement – the Waitrose Story

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Waitrose, a leading retailer with 350+ locations, is one of the largest employee-owned businesses in the world, and those employees are the keys to their innovation success. Let’s take a look at the Waitrose story, from process improvement challenges to tangible success.

The Challenge

Waitrose was in search of a way to increase levels of idea generation and engagement within their organisation. Previous idea schemes made it difficult to manage ideas, the correspondence between those submitting and the internal team tasked with implementing them. Additionally, there was no visibility of previous suggestions or actions taken, and so ideas were often duplicated. To put it simply, Waitrose felt that their existing system wasn’t fit for purpose, and that they needed to make a change.

The Solution

In 2014 Waitrose chose Idea Spotlight as their idea management platform. The company now uses Idea Spotlight across their organisation, in over 350 stores and with more than 60,000 Partners, and has seen outstanding success in use of the platform.

The success Waitrose has seen largely relates to the management of ideas being run from a central, multi-tenant platform, allowing multiple people to engage at any time whilst also investing in a team behind this scheme. The bespoke workflows within the system allow the innovation team to capture ideas from around the business, evaluate and prioritise these ideas and select the best of which to implement.

Idea Spotlight allows Partners to see each other’s ideas, contribute and comment. The system is also entirely scalable, and continues to grow with Waitrose’s business as required.

The Results
Waitrose’s Partner Ideas scheme has reached over 2,100 idea submissions, consistently achieving an average of 22 new ideas a week. With this, 124 Partner bonuses have already been awarded to celebrate implemented ideas.

Successful ideas have ranged from transforming the format and management of till receipts to improving the process of temporary ticket pricing. Total savings through the use of Idea Spotlight is now over £3,000,000.

To read more about the Waitrose story, download the case study.