Hardy’s DIY Guides
U50036 Individual Assignment Case Study, March 2019
Company background: Hardy’s guides have been a staple resource among DIY enthusiasts for nearly 40 years. They have long-since evolved to support a community of tradespeople, all requiring that same blend of practical knowledge and expert support. Founded by Jerry Hardy in the late 1970s, the business started as a publishing arm of Hardy’s Garden Appliance Repairs, a family business based in Witney, Oxfordshire. Jerry noticed that many of his customers often craved advice on how they could repair and maintain their own gardening appliances and tools, such as lawnmowers and hedge trimmers. By the mid-1980s Hardy’s DIY Guides had become a household name and soon spawned a sister brand, Hardy’s Trade Guides, which is now the biggest part of the business.
Products and services: Today, Hardy’s boasts a back catalogue of over 500 DIY guides and nearly a thousand trade guides, as well as digital resources and helplines. Its most popular DIY publications cover garden and kitchen appliances, as well as ‘care guides’ covering areas such as musical instruments, and even pets. The flourishing Trade wing of the business includes guidance and support for a range of devices, from washing machines and tumble dryers, to dishwashers and fridges. As well as guides on maintenance and repairs, the Trade business also includes subscription access to data services, providing up to date advice on repair methods and the sourcing of spare parts. Indeed, it has become the ‘go to’ place for identifying compatible replacement components for units that are no longer made by the original equipment manufacturers.
Organisation structure and workforce statistics: Jennifer Hardy, daughter of Jerry, is now CEO of the company and oversees a management team comprising a Head of DIY, Head of Trade, Director of Marketing, Director of Finance, Director of HR and Facilities, and Director of Digital Technology and Data. A non-executive board, chaired by Jerry, provides the top level oversight. The company employs some 550 FTEs, 320 of which work in the company’s two operating divisions: 215 in Trade and 105 in DIY. The remainder work in corporate services such as marketing (25 staff) and IT and data support (35). Senior Management and some corporate service staff are still based in the company’s original HQ in Crawley, just outside of Witney. Another 200, mostly from the Trade wing, are based in nearby Carteron, with the remaining staff – comprising most DIY and other corporate service employees – being based in Banbury.
Sales and financial performance: In 2018 Hardy achieved a total turnover of £37.25m (up5% from 2017), with profits before tax of £9.34m (2% up on the previous year). The biggest growth continues to come from its Trade arm, particularly subscription-based digital services and online/telephone support. Costs associated with this are starting to rise, with specialists in IT and data services being only recruited at a premium in the West Oxfordshire and Cherwell economies.
Changes in skills and IT: In its early years, Hardy’s costs reflected the profile of workforce skills in technical publishing (e.g., copywriting, photography, design and printing). With the growth of online channels and digital services since the late 1990s, the cost profile has shifted towards digital activities. Indeed, some 55 people in the Trade wing are employed solely in data capture, cleansing and management. With the growing need to support multiple user devices – particularly tablets and smartphones – skills in web and interface design are increasingly required. The IT department is also experimenting with Chatbots and other AI applications, to help manage costs (through automation), as well as provide round the clock customer services.
Digital innovation and change issues: Hardy’s has recognised for some time that its structures and systems are not right for a data-driven company approaching the year 2020. It’s newly appointed Director of Digital Technology and Data, David Allen, has therefore been charged with organising a digital transformation initiative. This will overhaul IT systems and business processes, including creating organisational structures and ways of working that better foster innovation and exploitation of data assets. At the moment the company lacks any change or project management function. While it is well organised for operational service delivery, its capability around strategic sensing and renewal is clearly lacking. As a first stage – and at the insistence of the Board – David has commissioned a report from a Digital Transformation Agency, JHB Digital, to provide advice on how to approach things.
Your assignment brief
You are the lead consultant from JHB Digital. Your job is to respond in writing to David
Allen’s brief, as set out below. Write a report of up to 2,000 words that responds to the following:
From: David Allen, Director of Digital Technology and Data
To: JHB Digital
Date: 19 March 2019
Dear JHB Digital Colleagues,
I understand you have now been briefed on the background to Hardy’s recent developments and the need for a transformation programme. As you’ll have realised, there is much to do. Your report is important because it has been requested from the top – by the Non-Exec board and Jerry Hardy himself. In particular, they want to see some expert external guidance on how we should approach digital transformation in a state-of-the-art manner. Could you please get this to me by 13:00 on Tuesday 7 May 2019 and address the following?
- A mapping of the benefits to Hardy’s of potential change, given new technologies and other enabling actions. This might focus, for illustrative purposes, on the Trade side of the business and the role of mobiles, Chatbots and other customer-facing technologies to our subscription-based data services. In addition to ‘enablers’ of change, the mapping should identify relevant business changes across the retailer, as well as drivers and objectives. This will support us in producing an overall assessment of the business case for IT-related initiatives, including investing in new people.
- A discussion of how project, programme and portfolio management might benefit the transformation effort at Hardy’s and what this might look like. What structures and skills might be needed, for instance, and how would these be combined with IT/IS benefits management? What risks will need to be managed as part of this change?
- An account of the leadership and change management skills that will be needed across Hardy’s, both in delivering transformation, as well as in operating the new ‘business as usual’. Please refer to your module guide in your response. This should be provided in a business report format, supported by appropriate examples and evidence, and citing relevant literature to explain where your ideas, theories, techniques and concepts have come from.
Report Marks (out of 100)
- Analysis of benefits management and business case management 30 marks
- Discussion of project, programme and portfolio management 30 marks
- Discussion of leadership and change management, including skills profiles 20 marks
- Use of theory, frameworks and techniques 10 marks
- Presentation, use of evidence and observance of word limit 10 marks
Theories and frameworks to include:
- Benefits mapping that starts from:
- IS/IT ENABLERS> ENABLING CHANGES> BUSINESS CHANGES> BUSINESS BENEFITS>INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES.
- Benefit management
- Business case management
- Discussion of leadership and change management, including skills profiles
- Development methodology
- Gantt chart
- Project, programme and portfolio management
- Roll out plan
- Risk management
Include tables and figures!!