Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities ambition circle

We have seven goals to deliver our Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities ambition:

pic showing our seven Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities ambition goals

We’ll be looking at each of them in turn, starting with thinking about what the goal ‘A Co-op which is agile, lean, safe and connected’ really means.

In a nutshell:

It’s about getting the basics right and saving money to invest in our future. Making sure we run our businesses in the most efficient and effective way. Acting as one Co-op to remove duplication and work together better. Keeping everyone who works with us, or visits us, safe. And protecting our data.

That means a Co-op where:

  • we all question ourselves whenever we spend anything – could the money be saved and put to better use on something else?
  • we pool our expertise and share best practice for the benefit of everyone across Co-op.
  • we have a culture of spotting potential risks or problems and sorting them out before they happen.
  • we stay GDPR compliant and treat everyone’s information securely.

What we’re already doing

  • We’re finding the fuel for growth – making savings in how we run Co-op so we can invest in our ambition and spend members’ money better.
  • We’ve set up our Co-op Service Centre to reduce duplication, share expertise and provide colleagues, members and customers with a better experience when they call us.
  • Raising awareness of GDPR was part of this goal too – making sure that we focus on keeping our colleagues’, customers’ and members’ data safe and secure. You can read more about GDPR on our colleague site.

Let us know what you think

How can you help us achieve this goal? Please share your comments and ideas in the comments below. And if you have questions about this goal, please email us and we’ll answer the most popular ones at the end of the week.

You can catch up with our progress across all our goals in our Q2 2018 quarterly update.

Join the conversation! 27 Comments

  1. How about less waste behind the scenes? I put tickets out week after week. Many are duplicates and some times it’s just the dates that change one week only to change back the next. A new printing system for tickets would be good. Wasting a sheet of tickets for 1 is waste. Printing gap checks .. waste.. sending out A4 posters… Stands we have no room for … Waste. And much more.

  2. Instead of senior management high powered executive cars,there are alternative vehicles out there.

  3. Thanks for all your comments. To help us be leaner and more agile, we have people from each business area looking at how we can make things simpler and reduce costs Co-op wide. They’re already looking at some of the things mentioned here – improving IT so we can connect virtually and cut down on meetings, printing of receipts etc. I’ve passed all the ideas here on to them.

  4. He is a basic for you, from a large shop perspective: Employ staff to physically stack the shelf’s and serve customers. This would create HIGHER sales (not to mention retention) and more profit to invest.

    Instead of going the other way of having NO staff and the stock in the warehouse.

  5. I feel like there should be a prompt on the self-service tills to ask if we wish to print a receipt. Surely this makes sense and would save money and also the environment? In Angel Square, the bins by the tills are full of discarded receipts and I know that I very rarely want one when making small purchases.

    • Hi Chris, Thanks for sending us your idea, it’s exactly the kind of thinking we’re looking for. This actually came up in one of the workshops I held last month and we’re looking at how we can do this on both assisted and self-service checkouts. We’re talking to IT and retail about what changes to till systems would be needed and thinking about how we’d communicate any change to colleagues and customers. Watch this space! Thanks again and do keep your ideas coming.
      ^Jon Church
      Cost Category Owner for Sales and Point of Sale

    • I really agree with this one – other shops can do this so why can’t we ?

  6. We should stop donating £625,000 per year to the Co-operative party. This money supports the Labour Party; I do not believe that Labour embodies the Co-op’s ethics, values and ways of being.

  7. Co-op News. Does anyone read it ? Why can’t it be online and save the cost of printing ?

    • co-op news( co-operative press) is an entirely different entity and not part of our group. It is a worldwide entity. We most likely receive our copies free or at low cost. I find it great to pick one up on my coffee break and find out what’s going on here in this country and across the world with the co-operative movement.

  8. Can we have a button to add points if a customer has forgotten there card like Tesco etc do if you need more details i am happy to email you

    • Customers can already go online to add points to their account if they forgot their card.

  9. When we are code checking I would like a function that would enable us to scan the bar code and enter the quantity then give us a print out in time to remove the product and reduce the price or dispose of as appropriately.

  10. There should be at least one person in each department who controls spending and queries all purchases For example, large screen tv’s which do nothing more than display data. Is it really necessary to have several of these 65″ monsters on a floor (which incidentally spend much of their time switched off) ? Also, how much is it costing to have two large projectors displaying information in the atrium when one would do.

    • The 2 projectors allows for people on either side to see a projection without all crowding round on side

  11. I really want to work in an a flexible way, cut travel spend and meetings etc but the state of IT in the business limits this tremendously. I read a blog about using google hangouts (Blocked on the network), Slack (blocked) and other VOIP tools which are blocked. Things like Google Docs (blocked) would be great for collaboration on documents – or Office 365 with Onedrive (we’re still using Office 2013!)

    Going from my personal technology to work technology feels like stepping back in time 10 years.

    I get there is a need for Data security but we’ve got to make digital collaboration and communication easier to truly work ‘agile’

    • + 1 on what Josh said !

      Our IT policies are laughably out of step with our ambitions.

      • massively agreed.

        we should have moved on significantly on this by now. will save a fortune on basic productivity if i can access google docs from my personal phone rather than. dialling, logging in, waiting, loading, opening 1 file to check something. wastes a lot of time and isn’t a modern way to work.

  12. Where’s the agile in this?

    I can see descriptions of cost savings and collaboration and risk management but nothing to expand on how we will make ourselves more agile?

    • Thanks for your genuine question. Agile here describes more about us being in a better place to react to things that may affect us. For example, we can’t be 100% sure how the changes with the Asda/Sainsbury’s deal, the possible introduction of a Tesco discounter format, or a change in Government regulation may affect our businesses. When things like that happen, we need to make sure we can react quickly. Partly that would be about having the money to react, partly this could be our governance structures on making quick decisions. It could be making sure that our operations are structured in such a way that our reactions can be quick and not get tied up in ‘but we do things 50 different ways across different teams’ which can obstruct rapid change in organisations. Basically it’s part of getting the basics right so we’re not left unable to react to either threats in the marketplace, or indeed react to opportunities which could make us even stronger. Hope this helps, ^Kevin

      • Thanks Kevin.

        We’re a bureaucracy, we don’t react quickly, it’s not in our DNA.

        I don’t believe we’re thinking hard about Brexit yet never mind other things that might happen.

        • Hi. That’s what the goal is here – to work on that and make us more responsive in areas we’re not. And on Brexit, I think there’re people looking at it in detail and thinking about possible outcomes and how they’ll affect us so we can be ready to react. But for the vast majority of us, just focus on business as usual until everything is decided. Thanks, ^Kevin

  13. Are there any timescales or targets in place for this initiative?

    • Hi Cameron. Our ambition (of which this goal is part of) was launched as a five year plan at the start of 2018. It’s about making sure that the activities we do day in, day out, are supporting us building a stronger Co-op so that we can support our communities more – and in turn they see the benefit of trading with Co-op because of this support: the virtuous circle that the graphic shows. So while it is a five year ambition, in reality, it’s about changing how we think and work to stay focused on this ambition. Thanks, ^Kevin

  14. Lean and Agile??? Sounds like job cuts on the way.

  15. If a colleague has an idea, where can it be sent to for due consideration?

    • Hi Mark. Feel free to add it into these comments, or send an email using the link in the text above (to: If you have intranet access, and your idea is about cost savings, then follow the link from the homepage to the Fuel for Growth section where you’ll be able to add your idea using the form on that page. And if you’re based in Angel Square, then you can also add your idea to the whiteboards in the atrium. Thanks, ^Kevin

Comments are closed.


Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities