B&Q has entered into a consultation process with 700 employees as a result ofnew plans to simplify the buying process within kitchens & bathrooms, including scrapping its Homefit installation service.
The DIY giant has proposed to change the way it sells kitchens and bathrooms, hoping to make the transaction simpler, so that customers only have to deal with one staff member.
The changes set out are designed to speed up the buying process, reducing the time between the design and delivery of the product. As part of the plans, the business will scrap its Homefit installation service at the end of the year. When introduced in spring 2013 under Kingfisher Group chief executive Ian Cheshire, the company said the installation service was showing “encouraging signs”. However, the retailer explained that said around 90% of customers now choose to use third-party fitters.
B&Q retail director Paul Crisp said: “We want to be the leading home improvement company and make home improvement accessible for everyone. That means we need to operate differently.
“We’re always looking to make things easier for our customers. The proposed changes will make it simpler for them to buy a kitchen or bathroom as they’ll only need to deal with one person in store; they’ll shorten the lead time between booking a design appointment and delivery of a new kitchen or bathroom.
“The changes will require a new team structure in our kitchen and bathroom areas to reflect advances in home improvement design technology and changes resulting from the move away from an installation offer. They mean that we will focus on delivering great service and quality to our customers at prices that are truly affordable.”
The decision to axe the Homefit service will affect 300 workers across 14 B&Q lolcations. The other 400 employees B&Q has entered into consultation with are part of its in-store design arm.
However, B&Q said that no employees will be worse off as a result, and that the overhauled service will produce 400 new jobs.
Mr Crisp added: “We recognise this is a difficult time for those employees who are affected and we are supporting them in a number of ways. We are continuing to collectively consult with our employee’s representative body – the National People’s Forum about roles that are at risk, prior to consulting with impacted colleagues.”
He added: “Should the changes go ahead, we will start recruiting for the new roles immediately and our installation service will be in place until December 2018. We are committed to honouring and completing all bookings within this timescale and propose to continue to take installation bookings up until 9 July.”