News – Tesco set to restructure stores again.

Breaking news (initially via VeryLittleHelps) is that Tesco are embarking upon another store restructure and a pilot of 13 stores in the East Midlands area, has seen the team leader (supervisor) position eliminated with colleagues in those positions stepping down to a standard general assistant role.

Checkouts and online are exempt from this, with team leaders remaining in place, with the focus clearly being on service departments. To make up for the lost team leader positions, extra management roles will be created on nights and training to make up for the lost team leaders.

Redundancies have also been offered to some colleagues in team leader positions, with other managerial roles also being rationalised. This is overdue in many respects as word on the ground appears to point to roles such as ‘events manager’ which isn’t particularly a full time managerial role in this day and age.

Managerial changes are structured around merging grocery and warehouse together (as a commentator points out, JS didn’t merge these, it was administration and warehouse combined to form ‘commercial’) and eliminating other roles (as above). It looks to be across all formats in the pilot with department managers changing to ‘team managers’.

It’s unclear if managers will have to re-apply for the new roles but it looks likely, the change is being flagged as a better experience for customers. It will certainly free up more staff on the shop floor as team leaders can often be folly for poor performing managers.

It is only a pilot with 13 stores as things stand, but if it works then it’ll be rolled out across the business and will represent a cost saving, along with a leaner management structure.

Whatever the benefits, it’s a worrying time for the colleagues affected.

UPDATE – It seems unclear whether is across all formats, certainly Superstore and Extra but Metro and Express may well get a different consideration, team leaders are as crucial in these formats.

UPDATE 1 – Deputy store managers it seems are indeed to disappear, with Express also included in this change. However they gain a manager which will make a massive impact at convenience level. Larger Express stores could have 6 managers. This trial, my source believes should free up the store manager to get onto the shop floor.

UPDATE 2 – The changes mean that the expectation will be for managers to be on the shop floor, leading by example.

UPDATE3 – A communication has gone out to store managers this evening, confirming that the trial is taking place in the 12 stores and that nothing is concrete until the trial is completed.

The communication points out that store structures haven’t been reviewed in 10 years, overall headcount won’t reduce as a result of this trial, with the focus on speeding up decision making and freeing up colleagues on service and availability.

It’s not about cutting costs the email continues, about loving customers and improving the shopping trip. The pilot / trial is just that and will be reviewed before rolling changes any further.

Changes are then discussed –

  • Some Lead manager roles are removed and a number of lead manager roles are being created.
  • Larger stores – lead managers will complete the majority of duty management.
  • Line manager role removed and replaced by team manager roles.
  • Most team leader roles removed, team supports is the new role and retained on high headcount departments (checkouts/.com)
  • Investment is made into Express, with a further colleague added to complete duty management.

The email continues to discuss that they are in conversations to help transition colleagues to new roles and support those whose salaries are affected as a result.

New stores will also be considered as they open with regards to structure, to understand how the changes work for all before a further decision is made.

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Grocery Insight provide market insight on the UK sector with a focus on individual retailers such as Tesco. This insight is useful to various stakeholders and due to my store based focus. Insight can be delivered to suppliers to focus on growth opportunities, analysts and investors to assess the business performance and long term outlook and retailers themselves to assess best practice. 

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