Implementation at Connect: Simply Amazing!

Implementation at Connect: Simply Amazing!

Alex Briggs, Operations Manager

When I first saw the article from Elyas Coutts, the Marketing Director at our clients Connect, I was delighted. Delighted to hear that Vendmanager will be making such a difference for them and especially for their clients.
And then I was proud: our team worked hard alongside Connect to make things run as smoothly as possible as we all put Vendmanager in place.
Of necessity, any implementation of a new system requires change. So, next I started thinking about how we manage such change to make things run as smoothly as possible - focusing on our recent experiences with Connect for illustration. In my opinion, the implementation went well with Connect largely because we had all the right ingredients, and the will to make things work.

The 3 Freds

People, People, People.

Connect made available a perfect team of individuals to work on the project. They combined passion and drive with clearly defined responsibilities for every department, each headed by a talented and experienced individual.
Connect has an ethos of empowering their people to drive their various departments forward (combining autonomy with the right level of oversight). Examples of key players that spring to mind for the implementation include Slawek Josco heading Operations, Zoe Waldron overseeing Service, and Amy and Claire supporting Finance.


There were regular telephone conference calls between Connect and SBS, and site meetings with all heads. These were further split into smaller meetings, setting agendas with the various team leaders and their teams. All results and actions were collated and followed up for continuous forward progress.

Project Management and Bite-Sized Steps

SBS allocated dedicated project management, with Technical Manager Phil McGhee ensuring each step was easy to follow for every Connect team member.
The step by step Gantt chart with designated parts for various team leaders and departments supported facilitation and deployment.
A weekly one-to-one review with Connect’s head of project Andy Chilvers ensured that information was shared in a timely manner, maintaining overall control.


Positivity & Openness to Change

The Connect team demonstrated and maintained positive mentality right from the outset. Everyone was open to change and ready to challenge the status quo. Quickly they each stopped thinking “What do we currently do” and progressed to “What would we want to do if we could”!
The realms of possibility now open have expanded enormously.
Key to this transition was the fundamental understanding from the Connect team: a little discomfort in adapting short term could reap benefits longer term both in time saving for individuals, and better results for the company and Connect’s clients.

Effective Leadership

As well as the contribution made by every single team member at Connect, we benefitted throughout from clearly defined leadership, with:
• Elyas Coutts’ vision for Connect: using a cutting edge VMS to improve performance and drive forward into new markets
• Andy Chilvers controlling operational elements through pragmatic and excellent leadership of his departments
• Kelly Glenn’s attention to detail – helping Vendmanager to grow further in implementing an even more comprehensive accounts integration with Sage.


I trust that at least some of the elements above will be of use to readers addressing changes at their own workplace.
I am proud of the successful work by the team from Connect and SBS together implementing Vendmanager.
It was a great collaboration, breathing life into the two strap-lines that our companies like to use:

- at SBS we are “simply better”
- and Connect are “simply amazing.”

This project proved how both are true. Especially together.

Published 13th February 2018

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