Craig started his Lidl career in store. Now he’s helping to make store operations even better and more efficient. These changes are making a difference to both our people and customers alike.
Where were you working or studying before Lidl?
I graduated in International Business from the University of Strathclyde. Initially I applied to the graduate programme in Livingston, however I was offered a job in Belvedere as a graduate store manager.
What do you do now?
I’m currently working in Sales Organisations, which is divided into four teams. I work in the Operations team where I’m looking at the processes within stores. Essentially my role is to make the life of our store staff as easy and efficient as possible. There are around 16,500 employees in stores, and the impact that we can have is massive on the day-to-day running of the stores and, by default, our people.
Could you give an example of the types of project you work on?
I’m currently working on Lidl Basics, which looks to provide best practice recommendations for a number of different stores tasks. These can include how to “work smart” whilst working delivery to the “quick wins” available when conducting an inventory. We’re very much research driven, so in the research phase of Lidl Basics I will spend time in store getting feedback from our store teams and conducting the tasks myself. After that, we're in the office developing the project, getting more feedback and then eventually trialling the project. Finally, we’ll roll it out to all the stores.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your role?
I would say it’s remembering the impact that you have; small decisions can make a massive impact in stores, so if you change a process or procedure and it takes an extra second or an extra ten seconds to do that task then that's over 720 stores that you're then impacting.
How does it all fit into the bigger Lidl picture then?
We’re a retail discounter. Ensuring that the staff in stores have processes as simplified and efficient as possible, whilst maximising customer service, is something that's extremely important to the company.
What do you think has been your biggest achievement?
Coming out of university and going straight into the store and managing a team of people was one of the biggest challenges. Then more recently coming into Head Office provides different challenges. I was heavily involved in the inventory strategy for the company over the last two years, and see myself as being part of a strategy that has improved the inventory performance, increased awareness and developed knowledge within head office and the regions.
What do you enjoy about your role?
I like seeing a project through from its initial stages to getting buy-in from other departments and rolling it out in stores. If I go back up to Scotland to visit family, and I go into a Lidl store in Scotland it's massively rewarding for me to see something that I've worked on in Wimbledon rolled out in the stores up in Scotland. That's what I enjoy.
What makes Lidl different to other organisations of its kind?
With Lidl, especially with the business model, we're able to get things done a lot quicker. We can trial a new process or a new procedure within five stores; then escalate that to a region; then have it in half the regions in the UK and then eventually rolled out to all the stores in the UK in a much quicker time frame than some of our competitors who have a much taller hierarchical structure. That combined with a massive focus on developing our people is probably what sets us aside.
What would you say to someone who was thinking about joining Lidl?
When I first joined, I was praising the graduate programme and encouraging my friends to apply for it, because the development you get from day one is second-to-none. Now, I would say that the sort of development and responsibility you get within Lidl is not something that I've heard or seen within any other company I know of.
What about your future, where do you see yourself going now?
I think with the way the company's going, the opportunities are almost endless. I see myself developing within the department as a project consultant, and then in the future I'd like to potentially get some international experience.