Founded in 1969, New Look has grown from a single store to become a dynamic, international, multichannel retail brand with a unique value-fashion offer in apparel, footwear and accessories for women, men and teenage girls. The New Look Group has over 800 stores across the globe in 21 countries, and their estate of 650 UK stores places New Look in immediate reach of the majority of the British population.

The Challenge

The main challenge was lack of possibility of HR records as each of the 650 stores across the UK kept their own employee documents in branch. This made it difficult to audit and reference any employee documents to comply with regulations. New Look felt the need for a more robust and centralised HR document management system that would help them keep each personnel file up to date, access and update documents and keep them secure. DCS was shortlisted to provide a HR document management solution because of the level of understanding shown towards New Look’s requirements, expertise in document management and ability to provide a solution in a short timescale.

The Solution

Following a detailed requirements analysis, DCS implemented a solution that allows New Look to manage all employee documents centrally. FileStore is deployed as a relational database that dynamically models the administrative organisation. The HR team has complete visibility of document status in each employee file. The system is accessible by 60 HR team members and others in the distribution team.

Back scanning:

The first deliverable of the project was to start scanning 18,000 existing employee files into DCS’s electronic document management system – FileStore. The precise volume of the job was unknown since sampling had not produced a consistent picture of what and how much to expect in each employee file. New Look arranged for their cash pickup partners to take the HR records from branches and deliver them to DCS for scanning. Paper copies would ultimately be held for four months after their arrival at DCS, before certified secure destruction.

Day-Forward scanning:

The process for day-forward scanning was similar but treated as a separate task. It concerned new files created after an agreed date and therefore not included in the back scanning process. These new files were considered most likely to be subject to updating and therefore the guarantee of immediate access for HR staff was even more crucial. For additional flexibility, an ad-hoc bulk upload service was set up via a desktop shortcut icon. This allows New Look HR staff to move any other files or documents (which may or may not be HR records) into a FTP transfer for DCS to pick up and add into FileStore.

Key solution components:

DCS Outsourced Services: Over 18,000 (and counting) employee files have been scanned by DCS using industry-leading document imaging software Kofax (from Lexmark). As Kofax diamond resellers we use Kofax Capture and Transformation Modules in our scanning bureau for document scanning and data capture. The data is then used to tag document images with important business information.

FileStore: Our award-winning electronic document management system was configured to meet New Look’s specific business requirements. A robust repository with an intuitive user interface, Filestore can be integrated with any business application to allow exchange of data and document images between systems.

Notable features of the solution include:

  • Various levels of access rights have been programmed to ensure employee data protection.
  • Reports to alert HR team of any documents missing documents or requiring update.
  • Customisable interface for ease of use.
  • Users have the option of either uploading the documents individually or in bulk via a desktop shortcut.
  • Over 140 different document classifications are included, allowing for documents to be retrieved via an easy “Google-like” search.
  • Ability to add new classifications without changing the existing system.

User Training:

New Look actioned a communications and engagement plan to ensure successful adoption of the HR records process. To that end, all HR staff plus four distribution centre based shift managers were given contextual training using live documents and files. DCS delivered training at the distribution centre and two support centres - from which the end users emerged ready and enthusiastic about the new system and procedures. The headline improvement that makes a difference is how quick and easy it is for HR staff to find documents and to help with personnel enquiries. A lot of time is saved from having eliminated manual tasks.

  • New Look HR team now has complete visibility of their employee documents held across 650 stores all across UK.
  • The solution allows for significant process improvements such as retrieving employee data for re-employment.
  • Any time secure access to employee, store, regional or whole organisational HR data and documents.
  • Changes to files are now made electronically so no more paper format change requests in intrays.
  • A HR document management system that makes compliance and Data Protection regulations easier.
  • New Look HR department and branches given back some space in reduced filing cabinets.

The Benefits

In addition, New Look HR staff are now able to see who is sending in documents and when, thus providing an invaluable view of branch stores’ use of the system. They can also run reports in FileStore looking for specifics - such as missing required information from HR records - making it much easier to draw up project plans to fix issues if they arise. New Look would not need a complete overhaul in case of business rules or strategy changing. For instance, whenever new stores need to be added or regions subdivided, DCS can accomplish this and ensure all existing data is appropriately reallocated, since FileStore has been configured as a dynamic and future proof solution.

"We consulted closely with internal stakeholders to ensure we got a system that would do everything we needed it to do. FileStore fits perfectly and landed really well. DCS were adaptable, practical and responsive throughout - fully bought into our communications and engagement plan and ultimately delivering the project on time and on budget. It is great to have the information we need accessible at our fingertips, and we can be safe and secure in knowing that we are fully compliant in maintaining our personnel files."

Lucy Entwistle

Global People, System & Process Manager, New Look