We’ve partnered with David Graham, Box Technologies’ Head of Managed Services, to bring you this piece on how you can manage an effective field force/successful deployment. We hope you find it useful.

David has been leading the Box Technologies managed services business division for the past 3 years with great success. He has successfully scoped, planned and deployed projects for some the largest high street retail rollouts in the country. These have been for brands such as Ladbrokes Coral Group, Poundland & the YUM Group (Pizza hut deliveries). Dave has overseen the year on year growth of our services business by circa 82% growth and in its peak we have been deploying over 60 stores a day for a multitude of customers across the UK, Ireland & Europe.

We sat down with Dave to discuss his top 10 tips for managing a successful field force/deployment and here is what he had to say……

1.     Planning – This for me take’s the top spot and is the basis for any project approach that I undertake. I follow a couple of key methodologies within the planning phase and the first is “Planning at the customer’s level” but “deliver at store level. What I mean by this is that there is a high level plan that is scoped in theory with our clients from experience & understanding but ensuring that the detail is executed in practice when we look at the pilot phase’s & the rollout commences. The second theory is basic but incredibly fundamental to any successful project and that is the 3 R’s – Right person, right product, and right time.

2.     Environmental Impact – I am always incredibly respectful of our clients environment policies, a prime example was a couple of years ago I had a client who insisted that where possible we used public transport for all or part of the engineers daily commute to install to minimise the environmental impact. We always look to look at the most environmentally friendly solutions and always encourage our clients to consider appropriate re-sale, WEEE or D-Ban disposal.

3.     Leadership – The mantra of leading by example is one that I follow on a daily basis and the saying “There is no I in team” couldn’t be more important to a successful project. There will be times when all members of the team including myself may need to cover someone’s role or step into a situation for the greater good of the project

4.     Training – Training is fundamental to our engineering field force but converting the training into the client specific experience is the most important factor. I execute this by ensuring that no “Virgin engineer” attends a client’s site without shadowing an engineer who has carried out the deployment activity previously.

5.     Communication – We take a modern real time approach to communication both internally and externally for projects. The use of modern chat tools such as what app allows us to create an engineering community for each project where the team can share experience, ideas and media on their installs with the other team members. These tools also allow us to work with our clients teams in real time and avoid the inbox overload where we will only then share the agreed daily reporting with the client.

6.     Never over promise but always deliver on your commitments – From my experience this is crucial to setting clients expectations at the scoping faze. We always are looking to innovate and stretch our services offerings but I will not commit to something that hasn’t been through operational testing.

7.     Adaptability – The reality of any retail project is that there is never a fixed blueprint & you will need to overcome unexpected challenges throughout the project. This can be as basic as at store level, where a specific operator is left handed so would like there receipt printer installed on the left hand side or we there may be an operator that is partially sighted so requires an extra hours of training on the new system before our teams leave.

8.     Customer awareness – We work across retail, gaming, banking and hospitality projects which means will have a vast number of different store layouts, in different towns or shopping centres, that have different security, store opening times or staffing challenges and each one of our brands require us to understand there business before any deployment.

9.     People – Our people are our everything, and whether it is one of our staging team who are configuring the devices to our service delivery team processing the orders or the project manager they all equally play an important part in the success of the project. I ensure that all aspects of the business are aware of the client we are working for and what we need from them in order to be a successful project.

10.  Respect – Respect is earned and not given and we always want to earn respect from our team members and our customers based on the project we have carried out for them. I think this particular point is a testament when a client comes back for the next project because then you truly have mutual respect for the role everyone has played.