Co-op launches 'Tech in Van' for store support

Co-op has launched a new service it calls ‘Tech in a Van’ to provide essential services to over 3,500 of its food stores and funeral homes.

The Manchester-based organisation has partnered with maintenance providers City Buildings and Engineering Services (CBES), Link Contracting and Lancer Scott to develop the new resource, which draws on local engineers to support its premises across the UK.

In addition to providing the required tech and maintenance support, the new arrangement is designed to foster stronger relationships between a store or branch and its local engineers.

The five-year deal will involve the three suppliers – all of which will be kitted out in Co-op branded uniform and vehicles – handle the general maintenance repair work such as electrical issues, plumbing, joinery, and brickwork.

David Roberts, managing director at Co-op Property, commented: “Delivering what our members and customers want and need is at the very core of our organisation, and the smooth running of our stores and branches is essential to this.

“This long-term partnership approach has enabled us to develop a bespoke solution, resulting in a team of highly skilled dedicated engineers delivering fantastic services to sites in their local area.”

Roberts said the move will also create social value in the communities where Co-op resides, through job creation and support for local projects.

The initiative will involve the development of a training and apprenticeship scheme, which Co-op said it hopes will create opportunities to develop “a pipeline of skilled talent”.

While the Tech in a Van moniker may be a bit misleading, as the initiative applies to general property upkeep, CBES’s offering covers maintenance of refrigeration and mechanical and electrical systems in the Co-op properties.

Co-op also continues to work with its usual retail IT support partners.