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  • Marc Curtis

Smart Shelf Project: Putting the customer at the centre of the innovation process

Over a year ago we wanted to explore a challenge we thought our customers had. We wanted to remove the friction and time related to re-ordering products for stationery (and PPE & pantry) cupboards. We also wanted to see if we could make the process more efficient for our logistics teams - in other words, fewer trips, less paperwork etc.

Some of you may know that we had previously tried to explore this challenge. We worked with a tech company to produce a 'smart cupboard' which used AI and image recognition to monitor supply levels. The technology worked brilliantly, but ultimately we felt that it didn't quite fit with the needs of the users we were working with in the trials.

This time we took a different approach. Working with one of our strategic partners, we started by interviewing ProRail (a key account in the Netherlands). From there we used the design thinking process to develop solutions in collaboration with the customer.

The impact of co-creating with customers cannot be overstated. By involving people who will be the actual users of the product, we were able to really zero in on the features required to make it a success.

We created this video for you so that you can see the results.

The next stage of the project will be to expand the test to more customers, get more feedback and refine the solution still further. Watch this space!



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