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Benchmarking selected to drive up the performance of retailers and enhance staff skills

Winning Moves is partnering with the National Skills Academy for Retail (NSA) and the Source in Sheffield on a project aimed at supporting retail businesses in the UK. This important work is being funded by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service.

Retail is as tough a space to operate in as any other sector you can think of right now. Its importance to the economy is obvious when you consider that it is the largest private sector employer in the UK with 291,000 businesses, three million employees and an annual turnover of £265 billion.

NSA plays a key role in developing and marketing skills and qualifications for current and future employees within this vast sector. They do this by offering access to consistent, high quality training and support through a network of quality-marked retail skills shops. The Source, one of the Academy’s retail skill shops is a £5.5 million state of the art training and development facility. Established in 2003, they are a recognised centre of excellence based in South Yorkshire, providing expert support to employers.

Our brief is to develop a methodology for improving the skills of individuals employed in the industry. At the same time, the challenge has been set to make the direct link between improved staff competence and business performance, resulting in improving the commercial results of the employing businesses.

This project will lead to stronger management, more profitable sales, lower costs, an enhanced customer experience, a differentiated offer for participants to stand out from the crowd, and, perhaps most importantly, improved skills for those at the cutting edge of retail organisations.

Winning Moves expertise in developing powerful, impactful business support tools that make a real difference, allied to the retail industry knowledge provided by NSA and the Source, will result in an invaluable, sustainable resource for retailers. The service will be underpinned by our Benchmark Index database of more than 100,000 sets of business data, including more than 17,000 from the retail sector.

Building on a highly effective model originally developed by us for the National Skills Academy for Construction, benchmarking is a proven, highly effective way to learn new and better ways of achieving better results. We will initially establish the blueprint to be a successful retailer, build a framework of the key processes involved aligned to the Mary Portas Master class model, and finally identify performance measures that will help manage these. The service will be piloted during the spring of 2011 with full roll out expected during the summer, so watch this space!