Clear Rock help Bensons for Beds launch the Luxurious Earth Collection. Bensons for Beds is the UK’s largest bed retailer selling a diverse range of beds, mattresses and bedroom furniture across its 170+ stores and online. 

Overview 

New product launches are complicated as they require lots of moving parts to come together at the right time to be successful. 
Customers expect an omni-channel experience where they can interact with and buy products where they want, when they want. 
 
When Bensons partnered with Hypnos to launch a new luxury mattress range, it was essential a smooth launch into 42 stores and online was achieved alongside a new delivery service to provide a great customer experience. 
However, recent new product introductions hadn’t been that smooth. Our product launches haven’t been planned cross-functionally enough to consider the right omni-channel awareness and journey for customers, says Ed Preston, Chief Commercial and Digital Officer. 
 
Something needed to change. 

Approach 

Through stakeholder interviews, conversations with business functions and observing the current process, the team were able to identify the key pain points. This enabled improvements to be identified, agreed and implemented. 
Business Process Review: the existing end to end process was mapped to understand the sequencing and ownership of work as well as time lapses between key activities. This identified three key issues with the current process. (1) dependencies were time based rather than event based – teams were unaware of the linkages between their work. (2) planning and progress review meetings did not include all business functions involved in the launch. (3) project management assumed ownership for all activities removing accountability from the business functions completing the work. 
 
Integrated Planning: the process was optimised and converted into a repeatable launch plan. Every business function was included in planning to ensure they understood their role and the required interactions with other teams. All activities within the launch plan are owned by the relevant business function to ensure accountability sits in the right place. 
Communication and Information Flow: the single weekly progress review meeting was re-instated removing the many smaller side meetings taking place. As business functions now own the activities within the plan, they are tasked with providing relevant updates. The meeting focus shifted away from trying to establish the current state to problem resolution and risk mitigation. 
 
Portfolio View of Range Launches: range planning was extended to provide a ‘portfolio’ view. Bensons were able to see all product range launches and key trading periods on a single page. This enabled better informed decisions to be made around scheduling, budgets and resource allocations. 

Results 

The Luxurious Earth Collection launched on time without the last-minute disruption seen on similar product launches. All critical dependencies were met on time against the new plan and meeting time reduced by 76% over the course of the project. 
 
The launch of Hypnos in Bensons was a fantastic cross functional project, in which colleagues from across Bensons all played a key part. Particularly when you consider this was a new trading partnership with Hypnos, so no pre-existing relationships across teams and our first range launch into our new Premium Sector for Bensons; all this in tandem with an incredibly short timeline. Best summed up by the team at Hypnos this is the most professional launch we have had with any retailer says Pam Johnson, Head of Buying who led the project. 
 
David Jameson, Commercial Director adds this launch has now set the benchmark as to how we will approach future range changes. 

Conclusion 

For change to last, it needs to embed within an organisation and become the new normal. Ed Preston summarises nicely. This improved process has truly embedded within Bensons, meaning ever strengthened cross-functional working across our buying team, the suppliers, logistics, marketing and our sales channels. We’ve since rolled out several new ranges very successfully – it’s now a cornerstone of how we operate”. 
Tagged as: Project Management
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