How The Midcounties Co-operative use data led decision making for location planning strategy
Championing data-led decision-making from location planning
When Ross Lacey joined Midcounties in 2017, he stepped into the newly created role of Location Planning Manager. His task was to help the business grow through a greater focus on location analytics and data-led decision-making.
The team had built some strong working relationships with developers and agents, but in order to continue to grow the new site pipeline in line with the ambitions of the business, they needed to adopt a more targeted approach. This meant developing accurate and reliable spatial and geo-demographic modelling to understand catchments in the context of business objectives and performance.
CACI’s InSite tools and data provided the comprehensive information Ross needed to analyse the core trading area. He analysed mapping data and catchments in every village and town in the Co-op’s trading area, looking at existing stores, competition and demographics. Ross explains:
At the end of this work, we had a growth plan to refer to, which meant we could prioritise and focus incoming opportunities. With tangible, data-led evidence and a well-defined process and criteria, we could make decisions more quickly and share the work of detailed site assessment around the team more easily.
The model has been continuously updated since it was created, feeding in new data from CACI that reflects changes in catchments, communities and demographics. Ross and his team have also adopted new HTML mapping tools which make it easier to share links with colleagues around the business who request site and catchment information.
Working closely with CACI, the team has recently developed a suite of dashboards that present key information about store performance within a catchment in a visual format. These are automatically updated, so the most useful and comparative data is continuously available without the need to design individual reports. Ross is also impressed with the aesthetics of the dashboard output: “It’s important to me that data we share with colleagues is easy to understand and well-presented visually: the reports have been really well received and had an impact around the business because of this.”
The InSite tools, dashboard and data have given Midcounties reliable evidence for new site investment prioritisation. Ross says,
The rigorous approach has built strong confidence in our pipeline of planned sites. As well, greater confidence in our sales forecasting has enabled us to be more aggressive in our rental offers as we compete with other multiples for the best sites. Since introducing the model into our new site appraisal process, we’ve seen strong and consistent performance from new sites.
With the automated and visual reporting from the dashboard and well-defined catchment analysis processes, Ross and his team can work more efficiently and free up time to champion data-led
decision-making in other areas of the Midcounties.