Evoke | Blog
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Blog, Technology, Design, Retail, Innovation, Kiosk
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At evoke we like to think of ourselves as a creative, dynamic and most importantly an innovative company. We provide solutions to problems and help our clients engage with their customers in exciting ways. In order to ensure we keep doing that, we always need new ideas and decided that a great way to do this would be to ask our talented, creative staff what they think.

To do this, we set aside a day for all staff to come together at our HQ and think about ideas that we can develop and take forward to our clients, focussing initially on the retail sector; shaping the future of retail and what we have to offer to retailers.

Technical Director and co-founder Dean Ward led the day and posed a range of thought provoking challenges to six teams of eight staff members from across the company. Dean commented that “the day was intended to give staff at all levels the chance to influence our future plans and be involved with the process right from the start. We wanted to use the wide range of knowledge that our staff already have in different areas and were really impressed with the level of input and quality of ideas presented. We’re looking forward to taking some of these forward and shaping the future of retail.”

In the lead up to the innovation day, the whole design team came together to discuss and set the tasks and then all staff were asked to consider “Extraordinary Retail”  in advance and come prepared with plenty of ideas and enthusiasm. In such a fast-paced industry, evoke acknowledge the need to devote time and thinking space to what’s coming next and engaging all staff for a full day helps us to keep one step ahead.

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On the day, the whole company, including warehouse, factory, support, admin and sales, were split into mixed teams and posed a series of questions to generate ideas and present to the rest of the company. More than 60 ideas for new innovations were suggested, ranging from improvements to existing retail offers to blue sky ambitions. The ideas will be refined and developed in the coming months and could lead to exciting things.

Evoke’s directors were so pleased with the event that we are already planning the next session to invite staff ideas about our new purpose built headquarters, due to be completed in 2017.

What we learnt:

  • Fostering a culture of innovation means encouraging the whole company to think creatively
  • Everyone has experience of retail (as a shopper) but that experience is very different depending on age/gender/lifestyle
  • Repetition of some good ideas looks like we’re already heading in a similar direction
  • You can never have too many post it notes
  • 50 staff can get through an alarming amount of coffee in 5 hours

Evoke are excited to be a finalist in the 2016 Wirral Chamber of Commerce Awards. In recognition of our growth, impact and support of our local economy, we are one of the four finalists in the “Business of the year (50+ employees)” category.

The ceremony takes place in September at one of the Wirral’s most glamorous locations – Thornton Manor – and we’re looking forward to networking with some of our neighbours and the wide range of successful businesses in our region.

Read the full story here.

Evoke Creative triumphed at the prestigious Made in the UK awards on Friday 17 June. Fending off strong competition from companies such as Airbus and Chargemaster, Evoke were awarded the UK Advanced Manufacturer/Technology award in recognition of their design ethos coupled with quality products and innovation.

The awards, which brought together the regional winners from the past 12 months, were held at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool. Compère Gyles Brandreth noted that “despite a slight dip in productivity in the first half of the year, UK manufacturing is in rude health”.

Managing Director Graham Boyd said “This is an award for the whole company, from design and manufacture right through to our administration, delivery and support staff”.

Read the full story at Insidermedia’s website here.

image: www.subconshow.co.uk

Our Procurement team are visting Subcon 2016 at the NEC on 9 June. This will be our first visit to the UK’s only trade show dedicated to manufacturing supply chains. We’ll be looking out for innovative and dynamic suppliers who can add value to our supply chain with a particular focus on fabrication as well as electronics and materials & composites.

We are looking forward to networking at the show and will be on social media during the event. Drop us a line in advance if you want to meet up.

Our Technical Director Dean Ward shares his learnings from his visit to the McDonald’s global conference in Orlando, USA.

While for many the highlight of a fascinating three days stateside would have been private access to Universal Studios and a show from J-Lo, for me the trip gave me some amazing insights into how technology and design are shaping the future.

It was fascinating to see McDonald’s focus on delivering the ‘Experience of the Future’ and how deeply rooted innovation is in their brand values. They have a real understanding of how crucial it is to leverage technological advances to continually improve every aspect of their business.

It’s great that we’re being welcomed in and treated as a thought leadership partner, rather than just a hardware supplier. Being design led, we’re able to proactively develop new products and solutions to fit with McDonald’s brand values and overall company vision.

Held every two years, the conference is a showpiece event for the company and no expense is spared in the delivery – which, it has to be said, was absolutely first class.

We’ve been working closely with McDonalds for almost 18 months now within the UK so for Simon Taylor (evoke’s head of customer accounts) and I, it was an invaluable chance to head out to the US and immerse ourselves in their organisational culture.

Almost 20,000 delegates descended on the Orange County Convention centre for the three day conference.

McDonald’s understanding of the importance of technology in providing a great experience was immediately apparent. There was a bespoke app and social media platform to keep us informed of the itinerary and it really did seem as though everything had been thought of.

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On the Wednesday evening we were treated to a rather special experience. Universal Studios was hired for our exclusive use and we had complete access to all of the attractions. As if that wasn’t enough, the conference was closed on the Thursday by J-Lo performing live!

During the day, the central area of the conference played host to McDonald’s corporate staff delivering presentations and demonstrations, with the outer zones occupied by our fellow suppliers – everything from microwaves to burger buns.

In addition to celebrating innovation and best practice, the conference is also a shop window of sorts for franchisees (or ‘owner operators’ as McDonalds term them) from around the world to see the latest technology currently being trialled.

Although there are more than 30,000 locations worldwide, only 2,000 or so have the kind of technological innovation that we’re helping to drive at Evoke. So, for the rest of the owner operators, it’s a great chance to see what is in the pipeline and how it can benefit their businesses.

The return on investment of these innovations in technology was continually driven home. With more than 80 per cent of McDonald’s restaurants being franchisee owned – ultimately the bottom line is all important.

In addition to improving the customer experience, the data and algorithms that go hand-in-hand with the hardware, allow for massive increases in efficiency and reduction in waste.

It was great to meet the global partners, representatives and franchisees from around the world and establish the relationships we can hopefully build on in years to come.

It was also fascinating to see how a global organisation with almost two million employees handles employee engagement from a HR point of view. They get their people to buy into the ethos of delivering a brilliant customer experience, as well as understand that that improvements in technology doesn’t actually mean less jobs – but more.

The improved customer experience that results from shorter queues and a better quality of food ultimately translates to more return business. And more business can only be a good thing for staffing levels.

Making it faster, making it fresher and making it better – all of these efficiencies are only possible because of technological innovation and data.

In addition to displaying the current technological offering, the conference gave us an invaluable insight into what is in the pipeline for McDonald’s and we came away with exciting internal discussions to have in terms of how we continue to add value with our offering to them.

We’re already looking forward to the 2018 conference and I’m excited to see how our relationship develops with McDonalds over the next two years.

Further reading

Our kiosks supporting McDonald’s ‘Experience of the Future’ in the press recently.

Evoke are pleased to have had the opportunity to sponsor local juniors at Knutsford Rugby Club for their end of season tour. 170 players along with parents and coaches joined the tour in April 2016.

Evoke’s Commercial Director Neil Clark who is Chairman of the junior section said “This is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our support of the community and show our company commitment to investing in our local area”.

Evoke Creative has scooped the Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Award at Business Insider’s Made the in North West awards which celebrate the best manufacturers that the region has to offer.

Miri Thomas, editorial director at Insider, described the overall standard of entries as: “Fantastic, a real showcase in innovation, ambition and vision.”

Evoke Creative stood out amongst their fellow nominees, with the judges recognising the company’s ability to meet the demands of supplying to blue-chip companies while retaining its bespoke, design-led ideology.

Judges said evoke displayed a “fantastic level of high tech” and praised its success in selling into large organisations.

The company also received a ‘highly commended’ in the Manufacturing Innovation Award.

Dean Ward, Technical Director, said: “These awards cap a great year for everyone at Evoke and are a sign of direction we’re headed in. Our headcount has grown 40% to 49 staff over the last year and the next few months promise to be an incredibly exciting time for all of us.

The level of demand from our customers shows no signs of slowing down. We’re being continually asked to innovate and to collaborate with global companies to provide the technology that can optimise their customers’ experiences.”

Driven by soaring demand from a number of blue-chip clients, including fast food group McDonald’s, Travelodge, JD Sports and Google, evoke’s turnover has rocketed 40% in the last two years to £8.9m and is forecast to jump to £15m in the year to March 31 2017.

The company is now exploring possible growth in overseas markets including the US and is also investigating opening a second office and showroom in the London area.

Evoke Creative has reported a milestone year of employee and turnover growth, and is expecting to hit even greater heights in the coming 12 months.

Driven by demand from a number of blue chip clients, including fast food group McDonald’s, Travelodge, JD Sports and Google, Evoke’s turnover has rocketed 40% in the last two years to £8.9m and is forecast to jump to £15m in its current financial year.
Staff numbers at the Wirral business have also risen to keep up with demand – by 40% to 49% in the last year.

Neil Clark, commercial director, said: “It is a very exciting time with strong levels of demand from our customers and some incredibly exciting opportunities on the short-term horizon.”

Evoke supplies a range of sectors, spanning retail, leisure, hospitality and libraries and has more than 15,000 products in use across more than 90 countries.

Over the last 12 months the business has invested significantly in its infrastructure and as well as creating jobs on the manufacturing side, there have been a number of hires at senior management level, with new recruits from businesses including Sainsbury’s, JD Sports Fashion and Tata Steel.

Red the full story here.

We’re very proud to have been shortlisted in two categories at this year’s Insider Media Made in the North West awards. Celebrating the region’s engineering and manufacturing prowess, we’re honoured to be amongst the contenders for these prestigious awards.

Read the full story here.

Last month our sales and design team partnered with Toshiba and Signstix at RBTE 2016 to showcase some of our new products, designed to enhance customer experience with self service, digital signage and point of sale.

Our stand featured an innovative new mirror-front kiosk incorporating touch, barcode scanning and a chip and pin reader.

The team also got chance to join some of the workshops and explore some of the other innovations on show.

Read the full story at Signstix’s website here.

Or to find out more contact us:
sales@evoke-creative.co.uk
0151 334 3716