For 50 years, GS1 standards have been transforming how people work and live. From familiar product barcodes to innovative healthcare applications like patient wristbands, these standards offer a powerful tool to streamline processes and improve efficiency.

Functioning as part of a vast network of 116 independent, non-profit organisations, GS1 UK shares best practices and knowledge while upholding a globally recognised set of standards.

Within the UK, their focus lies in the retail, healthcare and construction industries. They empower over 60,000 members and organisations with the ability to uniquely identify, capture data accurately, and automatically share information about their products, locations, assets and more.

GS1 UK is delivering a three-year strategy to achieve ‘Growth with Purpose’. Underpinning this is a team of 80 people charged with a complex portfolio of technology-led change projects. GS1 UK is also undergoing a major transformation initiative as it completely re-imagines its data services. In 2023, GS1 UK engaged Wellingtone to provide a bespoke training programme designed to introduce, standardise, and embed fundamental project management skills across the organisation. Wellingtone also provides independent, executive-level assurance for data services transformation. Plus, as a Microsoft Gold Partner, Wellingtone is helping GS1 UK to build a training roadmap to harness the evolving project management capabilities of Microsoft Planner. Mark Gillott is GS1 UK’s Director of Standards & Solutions, while Joe Kelly is the Head of Information Systems. Together, they have worked closely with Wellingtone to steer these programmes of work, which, they say, have made a clear impact over the past year.

Overview

Customer

GS1 UK

Products and Services

Bespoke project management training programme

Project Health Check

Microsoft training

Country

United Kingdom

Industry

Not-for-profit

Key Highlights

  • Training the entire organisation in the fundamentals of project management.
  • Embedding sustainable project management skills and knowledge from junior staff to the C-suite.
  • Validating GS1 UK’s largest-ever transformation programme with independent, benchmarked assurance.
  • Supporting GS1 UK to upskill staff in Microsoft Planner as a project management tool.

Pragmatic Project Management Training, Tailored to Real-World Challenges

“GS1 UK has had a PMO function in place, but, over the years, we have struggled to embed consistent project management practices sustainably,” says Joe. “Our people are fantastic, but most are not formally trained project managers. As time passes and colleagues change, ways of working can get lost in translation. In 2023, we brought in a new PMO function to standardise how we do projects. Documentation was a key issue, as was ensuring that projects followed a consistent life cycle and collating project reporting data for leadership. We needed to find a practical, cost-effective way of training our people in the project management fundamentals so that everyone understands how to run a project correctly, and that knowledge is embedded and cascaded through the organisation.”

Upon assessing the training marketplace, Wellingtone stood out for its ability to design a bespoke training programme covering project management fundamentals and enabling delegates to relate learning directly to their work. “Wellingtone’s consultant took the time to understand exactly what we needed,” Joe continues. “She worked closely with our PMO to rewrite documentation where needed, identify live project cases to bring the training to life, and ensure that the programme was tailored to us while still aligned to established Association for Project Management frameworks and principles.”

The programme, delivered across the organisation, covers the entire project life cycle, from initiation to closure and lessons learned. Mark attended as a delegate alongside other executive members, including the CEO. “We’re a very inclusive organisation, so it was natural for us to have the C-suite learning collaboratively with our staff,” he says. “I was impressed by the practical tone of the training. It focused on the real challenges we face. Our trainer took the time to understand delegate profiles among each cohort, giving her the insight to enable everyone to participate confidently, regardless of experience or seniority. We received excellent feedback, and I agree with other delegates that we all left the course armed with knowledge that we could immediately apply to our work environment. We can train every new person coming in so that everyone at GS1 UK is equipped and accountable for correctly running projects.”

“I would not hesitate to recommend Wellingtone. They have added real value to our project management capability. I don’t think it is going too far to say that we are a better organisation as a result of their support.”
Joe Kelly is the Head of Information Systems

Independent, Structured Expertise to Assure GS1 UK’s Largest Ever Transformation Programme

Meanwhile, GS1 UK is undergoing a critical transformation as it replaces its data services to evolve its services further. “Our Numberbank data platform is the most powerful offering we have. It issues individual number prefixes to our members, which enables them to generate the unique item numbers they need to use our barcoding and standards,” says Joe. “But the world is changing. Members increasingly expect immediate access to rich metadata that generates all the information they need to capture across GS1 keys, barcodes and standards in a digitally-led society. So, we are building out a much larger, completely self-managed data service that will equip us to create new datasets to meet the needs of our members and define new services which will enable us to scale for new industries. It is without question the largest transformation we have ever undertaken.”

Mark, the programme sponsor, adds, “This programme is, quite rightly, highly visible. We have established a strong governance function comprising directors, our executive board and a supervisory board of representative members. We wanted to overlay that governance with independent, third-party expertise to validate our progress from multiple perspectives, including technical, governance, and risk. When we talked to Wellingtone, they provided a compelling proposal. So far, Wellingone’s consultant has produced four quarterly reports. They are structured against an international audit standard, with graded insights benchmarked against recognised best practices. Wellingtone’s consultant was experienced and authoritative. She skillfully positioned her questioning to uncover any risks or issues across all stakeholders and the supply chain so that we could address them proactively. The quality of the reports has been superb and has given us real confidence that we are on track.”

Gearing up to Harness Microsoft Planner’s Evolving Capabilities

GS1 UK is now working with Wellingtone to adapt future training to Microsoft Planner’s roadmap. “We know that Microsoft is taking Planner to a whole new level as a project management tool,” says Joe. “Wellingtone is supporting us in getting ahead of the curve so that we can introduce people to, for example, resource and dependency functions as they roll out. I would recommend the quality of Wellingtone’s engagement and training to anyone in the project management space. I have already done so several times!”

“The Wellingtone team know their stuff. They’re very responsive and adaptable, which is just what we need because they can flex their service as we evolve our approach.”
Mark Gillott is GS1 UK’s Director of Standards & Solutions