Kingfisher uses portal to achieve uniformity across the board
Kingfisher is Europe’s largest home improvement retail group and the third largest in the world, with brands including B&Q, Castorama, Brico Dépôt and Screwfix. Established in 1982, the company’s purpose is “to make it easier for customers to have better, more sustainable homes.”
David Morris, deputy company secretary for Kingfisher, has been an integral member of the organisation since 2010. David was charged with finding a way to standardise and simplify the creation and distribution of the company’s board materials. In 2011, David began a three-month search for a solution that would best meet Kingfisher’s needs.
Kingfisher operates more than 1,000 stores in eight countries in Europe and Asia. As an international organisation, the company has a number of boards. Their ability to drive strategic decisions is critical to the success of Kingfisher’s expanding brand portfolio of DIY (do-it-yourself) retailers. Members of the company’s board of directors often serve across a number of committees and require materials for several board meetings delivered with short notice.
Formatting board materials, printing physical copies and adding new pages as inevitable last-minute changes arose was time-consuming work performed by the Kingfisher Company Secretarial team. The frequency of meetings and the location of board members across Europe presented a challenge when it came to compiling and delivering board materials in a timely, secure and cost-effective manner.
Alleviating the administrative burden and finding an easy-to-use technology that drove uniformity across all boards were key priorities for Kingfisher. Security was also critical since board materials contain such sensitive information. David also sought a solution that was intuitive, requiring minimal training for directors.
Following extensive research by David and the administrative team into Diligent Boards™ and other board portal providers, Kingfisher started using the Diligent Boards portal in October 2011 for a meeting of its main board.
Prior to the first meeting, David and the administrative team received training on the system by a dedicated account manager. Board directors were sent log-in details and an iPad training guide, and further support was available, if required. Given the intuitive nature of the interface, to date, no additional training has been requested by Kingfisher’s directors.
For the administrative team, it was essential that the ultimate solution significantly reduced the burden of compiling and editing board materials. Multiple contributors meant that inputs for each board meeting arrived in varying formats, fonts and text sizes. Collating disparate information using the Digital Boards portal helped Kingfisher create a unified, iPad-friendly format.
Beyond usability features, security was of the utmost importance. To audit the safety of the solution, Kingfisher engaged a third-party expert security firm to conduct penetration testing. The result: Diligent Boards withstood the test.
The result of adopting the Diligent Boards solution was immediate: On average, the creation of paper board packs required more than a half day’s labour per team member per pack for the Kingfisher Company Secretarial team. Now the creation and distribution of material takes a fraction of the time.
After the initial trial, David implemented Diligent Boards on 10 additional Kingfisher committees. Ultimately, the B&Q brand also adopted Diligent Boards as their portal solution, as did nine B&Q committees. David recounts a “eureka” moment that drove home the significance of the change wrought by the portal approach: “In the October 2011 meeting where we first tested it, we decided to launch it offsite. Two of the documents needed to be updated on the morning of the meeting. I was not at the meeting site, but was able to make changes from my office and, within minutes, signal to the directors that updates were ready for synching. That was when we realised the power of the Diligent Boards solution.”
David also noted that Diligent is evolving portal features based on feedback and new ways its customers find to use the portal.
The quality of the Diligent Boards product was outstanding compared with the competition. Then again, Diligent had their solution long before the iPad was introduced.
Deputy Company Secretary
Many other solutions entered the market with the introduction of apps and are in catch-up mode. And Diligent innovates its solution in response to changing customer needs to stay ahead of the curve.