Behind every frontline worker is a network of other workers who enable them to carry out their duties. 

Take transport, for example. Ambulances and police cars need to be in good working order, nurses and supermarket workers need to get to work on time, and vans or lorries are vital for delivering essential equipment.

That means auto repairs and servicing are all on the UK’s list of essential services that should stay open for business during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We need to keep our laser focus on providing the best possible essential service to our customers, many of whom are key workers,” explains Neil Holden, Group IT Director of Halfords, the British bicycle and automotive retail and servicing company. 

Such a commitment requires incredible teamwork, agility and dedication.

Open for business. Source: Shutterstock

All change

For Halfords, offering a high level of customer service has been no mean feat, given the raft of rapid changes and necessary new regulations it had to contend with. 

Many stores were suspended and there was a sudden spike in e-commerce activity, requiring significant and quick changes to stock and personnel requirements. 

It also meant warehouse management systems had to be reassessed and redesigned, the movement of some goods was revised, while there also needed to be continual monitoring and liaising with vendors. Some orders even needed to be reprocessed manually to keep everything on track. 

In the midst of all this change, much of the workforce found itself working remotely, sometimes for the first time.

Auto repairs and servicing are all on the UK’s list of essential services. Source: Shutterstock

In search of solutions

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is proud to be helping Halfords keep the wheels of its business turning, as just one of the 1000-plus clients that TCS is partnering with to support mission-critical technology backbones for leading organizations around the world.

The TCS team took swift actions to manage problems, working long hours to coordinate with all the stakeholders involved across the value stream, keeping a relentless focus on the fundamental technical drill, at the same time as finding creative solutions to ensure Halfords’ customers didn’t experience disruptions. Much of this is facilitated through the Secured Borderless WorkSpace™ infrastructure – a massive program that TCS developed to ensure business continuity by allowing TCS associates to work from home with minimal support from office-based colleagues. 

In addition, TCS has been proactively deploying collaboration platforms, cloud-enabled infrastructure and robust security practices, so its clients can continue all their critical operations in these unprecedented times. 

Indeed, the work of the Halfords Technology team was singled out for praise by Halfords’ senior management, for their tireless work and all they have managed to achieve during a high-pressure period. 

The Halfords story is a powerful example of how companies can make sure their business processes are seamless – even at this most difficult of times – and of how TCS can be an integral partner in that process. 

By forging strategic partnerships that enable them to adapt quickly and accurately to fast-moving scenarios, businesses can still provide the services that are needed to support our key workers – and indeed the whole of society.