“You would expect having so many colleagues doing a course at the same time; it would dramatically effect the operation. This certainly was not the case in our experience. The assessor’s were absolutely fantastic”. Sharon Wheeldon, People Development, Asda

The Employer: In 1999, Asda became a subsidiary of the American retail company Walmart and today is the UK’s third largest supermarket chain by market share.  Today (2014) the company has more than 560 stores and in excess of 175,000 employees (whom it refers to as “colleagues”). It has featured in The Times Best Companies to Work for as second place.  A network of 26 distribution depots across the UK and a headquarters in Leeds support the UK retail stores.

Background:Asda is committed to the continuous training of it’s colleagues.  A number of successful programmes from induction through to succession planning exist and colleagues are actively encouraged to climb the career ladder in the company with the correct input and support provided by Asda.  Today, Asda is recognised in the industry for The Asda Academy, a vocational alternative to University, available to eligible Asda colleagues. It includes Retail Apprenticeships and a Higher Professional Diplomas in Retail Management.

The Challenge:Asda implemented a new logistics methodology back in 2005 that would transform the way fulfilment would be carried out.  This included the introduction of new Radio Frequency Pick technology.  Central to the success of this implementation was the training of all colleagues across the 26 distribution depots.  Asda was keen to ensure that colleagues were given the right level of new skills and behavioural support to embrace this change and adopt it successfully.

The Solution:Talent Training designed a vocational qualification for both Warehouse Colleagues and First Line Managers.  The content of the programme included the new system and process as well as the key aspects to logistics operations.  After a successful pilot in the company’s main ambient distribution centre in Wakefield, Talent Training were asked to roll-out the training to the remaining UK sites.  Approximately 2,000 colleagues in logistics operations completed the programme and the impact of this programme included increased pick rates, improved colleague engagement, return on investment from month two and achievement of accolades including ‘best house-kept site’.

In addition to this programme, Talent Training continues to deliver Apprenticeship programmes for Asda as well as a range of stand-alone qualifications.

The Location: Multiple sites across UK.

David Harper’s view: “We love working with Asda.  The organisation makes things happen.  Colleagues at Asda have a hunger for learning.  We have worked in partnership for almost a decade and I am proud that our team has supported so many colleagues over the years to achieve a qualification as well as make a genuine difference to the business’ performance”.