Retailer Charles Tyrwhitt selects Thought Provoking Consulting for project

27 November 2018

Charles Tyrwhitt has selected retail consultancy Thought Provoking Consulting to support with the design and implementation of a new sales and stock-planning software. The firm will help draft a roadmap for the changes, before assisting the clothing retailer with the change management process.

Charles Tyrwhitt is a multi-channel British clothing retailer, specialising in men’s shirts, shoes, suits, knitwear, and accessories. The global purveyor of fashion is also known for world-class customer service and eccentric personalised communications. As the retailer has worked to adjust to a turbulent market in the UK, Charles Tyrwhitt recently installed new software to aid the firm with additional business intelligence to effectively manage its stock as it continues to grow internationally. In order to complete the complex process, the group sought the external expertise of Thought Provoking Consulting (TPC) to help support the implementation.

The software implementation comes at at time when retailers are under pressure. Online competitors have made a significant dent on the business of traditional bricks-and-mortar stores, while consumer spending power has been restricted by stagnant wages and a decline in the value of the pound has made importing materials more costly. Amid this perfect storm, however, Charles Tyrwhitt has managed to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market through the positioning of its unique branding.

Retailer Charles Tyrwhitt selects Thought Provoking Consulting for project

Beyond this, however, the firm is aware that the role of tech is key, and better stock planning is something that can make companies more agile and cost effective, while better serving customers through fewer stock shortfalls. The project has started, first focusing on designing business processes and defining the blueprint for implementation. Then, once the roadmap is in place, TPC will assist with the rolling out of the changes. Alongside a potentially tricky technical implementation, much focus will be given to change management, and helping existing staff adjust to the new business plan.

Charles Tyrwhitt identified TPC as an ideal partner because of its collaborative approach, proven success at delivering high-value projects and its experience with planning software. Also, the two have a long standing relationship, as this is the fourth time the companies have teamed over the past year, having already worked on plans for the software and in pricing.

Elaborating on the collaboration with the consulting firm Michael Stanier, Chief Executive of Charles Tyrwhitt, commented, “Attracted by their combination of strategic expertise with the real-world experience of their consultants, we began working with TPC just over a year ago. They have already delivered actionable insights to our business; and now we look forward to the successful implementation of a new stock planning and business intelligence tool, which will give us a platform for the next stage of our growth as a global menswear brand.”

Keith Taylor, one of the co-founders of TPC, said he is delighted with the continuation of the partnership. He added, “Charles Tyrwhitt is rapidly evolving, and having improved infrastructure and processes will support their stock planning considerably. The partnership between us is very collaborative, and they are open to exploring new ideas, making it a pleasure to work with them.”


How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.