Ambitious plans, ambitious careers
Remerch Team Leader Alan is on a mission to transform all of our stores, all over the country. Here, he explains why he loves his role and how Lidl has changed over the last decade.
What’s your job title and what does your role entail?
I’m a Remerch Team Leader and my role is to ensure the successful implementation of the Lidl 2.0 re-launch of Lidl stores, which is basically the refurbishment of all the Lidl stores. For example, we make sure that the fruit and veg is stocked to the front of the store and then the chillers in the first aisle, as opposed to the last aisle. This process freshens up the stores and gives much more focus on our fresh food. When stores are upgraded, they look a lot more modern, so brown tags change to grey, blue price strips to grey and then all the price boards and hanging comes down to make the store look a lot more modern. My role is to make Lidl 2.0 happen and ensure the whole process is a success from start to finish.
Which different departments have you been working with to ensure the smooth and successful rollout of this change?
We work with Head Office to find each individual region's best facilities, collaborating with them to make sure things are done correctly and in the right way. We’ll work with contractors and the transport department to make sure goods can arrive as and when we need them and we also work with the sales department because we choose the things that are in the store. I will meet with the Stores Managers and Area Managers too, to inform them of what’s happening.
How did you end up in your role as Remerch Team Leader?
I joined Lidl as a Graduate Manager and was a Store Manager for eight years. I worked my way through different sized stores, improving turnover. Because I’d done so well in every store I worked in, I was offered the position of Remerch Consultant, on a secondment basis. I did this for a year and then when the Remerch project started I moved to the Team Leader phase to oversee the whole re-launch.
What’s the training and support been like?
I had a sterling training programme when I started as a consultant, but to be honest the actual Remerch processes and procedures were still evolving as we standardised things, so it became a learn-as-you-go process. That’s why I took the role really, to see another side to the business and develop myself as opposed to just work in the stores. That’s what’s great about working in Lidl, people move around the business and get an understanding of different departments.
How has Lidl changed over the past 10 years?
The company’s obviously growing quite substantially in all regions – even in times of recession Lidl was still opening new stores – so the expansion is there and you can see the investment in the stores with new technology. I would also say the company is a lot more focused on it’s people now, I’ve noticed that there’s a lot more formal training and checking up to make sure you understand what you’re being taught.
What advice would you give someone looking to join Lidl?
I would advise them that you should be under no illusions, that it's hard work, but if you put the work and effort in it’s very rewarding. It’s really satisfying and there’s a good level of job security, too. Whatever role you’re in, the company will look after you.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was going from a store environment to working in a Regional Distribution Centre (RDC). It was a complete change in culture and it opened my eyes to the business. It made me a lot more aware of cost and understand what goes into all the processes and procedures that ultimately, we see in store.
And what has been your proudest moment?
My proudest moment was opening the first Lidl 2.0 store in Dundee. All the Store and Area Managers visited the store prior to the opening and you could tell straight away that they thought the store looked amazing! Ultimately, I was responsible for that and it was a great feeling! Every store I visit now I’m always searching for the standards of that first 2.0 store. The introduction of the Lidl 2.0 stores have had an impact on the figures, too, which is really satisfying and I’m proud to be a part of that. I also love getting feedback from customers – I’m always getting told that the stores look so much better.
What do you like about working at Lidl?
It’s the excellent prospects that are available and the chance to develop yourself. Also, the fact that the company continues to grow and expand and it's a secure company. I don’t see another role that’s going to offer me that.