“We wanted a system that would give us greater confidence in the accuracy of the information
being shared, both in terms of day-to-day management of stores and the rolling out of new developments.”
To keep the myriad of stakeholders informed in real time as to the very latest developments
regarding the complex nature of modern building design and specification requires a robust and reliable
communication system. This system must also provide a seamless link through the project roll-out phase to
the ongoing property management.
Prior to partnering with ICON, Sainsbury’s had used a static platform for this communication
process. It had become increasingly clear, however, that this static system could no longer cope with the
large volumes of information being generated.
Richard Barham, former Standards and Website Manager at Sainsbury’s takes up the story,
“We realised that only a more dynamic and flexible system could meet our communication needs. Also, we wanted
a system that would give us greater confidence in the accuracy of the information being shared, both in
terms of day-to-day management of stores and the rolling out of new developments.”
Sainsbury’s went through an exhaustive evaluation process of ten similar systems before
short listing three. Barham again, “We finally selected the ICON System not only because we found it to
be the most intuitive, a factor which was one of our core drivers, but also in view of the fact that it
was a cost effective solution.
“Previous experience of working with ICON had given us the confidence that they could
deliver and we were greatly encouraged by their approach which is definitely partnership based rather than
purely commercial. For us it was critical that the new package wouldn’t be restrictive but would allow flexibility
in both design and usage.
“The ICON System has made it faster and easier to update vital information. It has simplified
publishing and enabled us to keep track of inputs and changes; following such changes we can easily advise
all the relevant parties that updates have been made. This means we can be 100% confident that accurate
data is being used throughout the process.”
As an added security, the system allows different permission levels to be allocated
to users; this ensures individuals only have access to the information each needs to know. ICON’s system
makes it easy for Sainsbury’s to publish one design standard thereby ensuring that users are able to meet
the required design criteria. The system’s central information library eliminates the need for paper records
and allows Sainsbury’s to manage its costs much more effectively.
Implementation of the system was very smooth as Barham extols, “We felt ICON’s support
was excellent. Although system rollout came at a difficult time for us, with departments being reorganised
and roles being revised, the ICON team were always professional and extremely helpful; they seemed to go
out of their way to provide the support we needed.
“Throughout the process the ICON team demonstrated a willingness to work with us, rather
than for us and that is a powerful strength of theirs. Their people are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and
dedicated. They didn’t just provide a standard system, they listened closely to our issues and created a
system that answered our concerns and provided real benefits,” explains Barham.
The sheer size of the Sainsbury’s organisation demands that the system is intuitive
enough to eliminate the need for excessive time and resource-consuming training. Barham again, “The ICON
System has clearly been designed to make it easy to use for operators at all levels. After only basic instruction,
you can quickly navigate your way around the system and this was a vital factor in our selection process.
“Another great benefit of working with ICON is the ongoing support once the installation
has been completed. They go beyond expectations, pointing out any inaccuracies or contradictions in information
being inputted onto the site. The team also raise queries when they see anything that may be inconsistent
and, more importantly, they are able to make corrections at short notice. All this has helped us establish
a superb relationship with our account team at ICON, who are always at the end of a phone when we need them.”
A Secure Future
The system is now used by over 1,200 people, both within Sainsbury’s and by their external
supply chain. Internal departments using the system include Procurement, Development, Health & Safety, Property
and Store Design. Meanwhile, contractors, architects and equipment suppliers are among the external users
with access to parts of the Sainsbury’s site.
“As we look to the future,” Barham explains, “the ICON System allows us to trial various
new store designs, while only allowing those stores and users involved in the trials to share the information.
This not only provides security, but also eliminates any confusion that could arise between existing and
Barham concludes, “Everyone using the system in Sainsbury’s believes that the reliability
and flexibility of it, backed by the support of ICON, will enable us to successfully manage the effective
expansion of our stores long into the future. What is more, we can do this whilst delivering significant
“Throughout the process ICON demonstrated a willingness to work with us, rather than
for us and that is a key strength of theirs. Their people are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and dedicated.
RICHARD BARHAM, STANDARDS AND WEBSITE MANAGER - SAINSBURY’S (2005 - 2008)
Sainsbury's Central (using The ICON System)