IT’s all about the customer

At Jumbo Tech Campus our customers are at the center of everything we do. Everybody wants to make Jumbo an even more fun and convenient supermarket. Both on- and offline. So, we try to think like our customers. And we join forces with colleagues that operate closer to them, like Nicole Wolters, Sales & Operations Manager. She has worked with Willem Feenstra, Finance Product Owner on several IT projects. Let’s find out what they have to say about their shared experiences. 

Get to know each other ASAP

“It’s important to get to know each other as soon as possible. So, there’s no barrier to get in touch quickly when there is an issue.” Nicole says. “That is probably the most important lesson I’ve learned. It’s quite difficult for all my (IT) colleagues to understand what managing a supermarket is like.” She refers to a recent project where IT created a very thorough reporting system. Nicole explains the issue: “That dashboard took too initially long to load. In between their other duties, supermarket managers have a few minutes, not lots of time. They need to see current turnovers and how they compare to previous days, quickly.” When she explained this to IT, they understood and fixed the issue. 

Short lines of communication

“Nicole and I speak the same language”, according to Willem. “We’re both quite direct, we know what we want to achieve, and we know how and when to contact each other. Between us and our teams, we use little to no formal communication systems, such as tickets. You don’t need them when lines of communication are short.” 

Their current joint interest is Winkel Stuur Informatie, a set of dashboards that show store managers current and past turnovers, margins, labor costs and more. Currently they have several reports for these types of information, with Winkel Stuur Informatie it will save the stores a lot of time, also because the system will visualize the information, so it will become much easier to interpret.  Nicole manages several stores and acts on these types of information, which makes her the perfect liaison for the IT department.

Deploy. Test. Discuss. Improve.

“There are no set moments of contact, we get in touch when we have questions or issues.” Willem continues, “We’re in a continuous process of deploying, testing, taking in feedback and improving.” Nicole: “When IT wants to test their prototypes, we ask the stores in my area to test them and provide feedback and opportunities for improvements. That project is a fine example of close cooperation between our stores, IT, and me. My colleagues in IT responded quickly. A lot of issues are resolved swiftly.”

Create understanding and manage expectations

Nicole: “The most important improvement in communication I see is that stores are being listened to more. There’s a better understanding between IT and our colleagues in the supermarket. It’s the small things that make a big difference. Like when IT is unable to fulfil a request, they now explain why that is the case. That kind of communication helps create understanding and manage expectations between the departments.” 

Willem sees another important advantage in having a good, informal working relationship: “When you know each other well, asking follow-up questions becomes easier. In a formal relationship asking, ‘why do you need this?’ or ‘Whom is it for?’ and so on, can feel awkward. But the thing is: the answers to those question really help us to improve our output.” 

From IBM to Jumbo

Nicole and Willem’s first project together was R10, the rollout of the new cash register system. Back then Willem was assigned to this project by IBM, as the Project Manager. Willem tells us about the career change: “I felt this wasn’t the job I wanted to hold for very much longer, so I was already looking for new opportunities. At Jumbo, I met a whole lot of enthusiastic, smart people. People that came from – for example – accountancy firms”. He laughingly adds: “They wanted to do some real work. I felt the same way. I found out Jumbo was able to challenge me and help me grow as a professional every day. That’s why I made the switch. And I have never looked back since then.” 

Want to join the team and make sure customers get the best shopping-experience? Check out our open vacancies!