Did you know our CoE belongs to a holding group that can trace its beginnings to 19th century? The story of Currys begins as early as 1884 when a Henry Curry commenced his business, selling bicycles in Leicester, UK. Since then, Currys underwent a lot of changes and transformations, including being taken over by Dixons Retail, a consumer electronics chain, in the 1980s. In time, Currys has become a top leader in the world of electronics retail. Let’s look at its beginning – our beginning – in Brno, Czech Republic.
15 Years Proudly in Brno
In 2006, a strategic decision was made by the Dixons Retail group to open a shared services centre in Brno, Czech Republic. The centre’s initial purpose was to help the UK entity process invoices in Accounts Payable and warranties in CSA. Why was Brno chosen of all places? At that time, the Electroworld chain was a part of DSG International group, while also having a centre warehouse in Modřice, Brno. The presence in the Czech Republic was therefore already set up and the location was considered as one of the options. In the end, Brno was chosen especially because of its central location, educated and skilled people, and reasonable costs.
DSG International Shared Services Centre was then created in February 2007 and on 23 May, it was signed up in Business Register in Prague. The whole process had started. The very first SSC director was Antony Welfare from London HQ who moved to Brno to establish the centre locally.
The first group of employees started on 1 July 2007. At the end of the first year, there were 59 colleagues already. The company was situated in Spielberk Office Centre on Holandská street. “There were no restaurants, no shops, there were just a few companies,” reminisces Eva Winklerová, our HR Business Partner for IT Department, who was at the helm of Office Support and later and HR Coordinator at that time. “We knew everyone by name and the overall atmosphere was very friendly. People really enjoyed coming to the office because they had friends there.”
Brno was chosen because of its stable central location, educated and skilled people, and reasonable costs.
Setting up the centre was successful and the very next year, financial teams supporting the Nordic part of the business were formed. The growth was rapid – at the end of its second year of existence, the amount of SSC employees tripled as Pixmania was added to the list of businesses we covered.
The first IT teams started 5 years after the centre was created, in 2012. One of the first IT teams were Business Intelligence and teams supporting SAP. In the same year, our business partners in Nordic countries gave us a green light to opening a Web Content team as well.
As the years went by, we gained new competencies and teams. Sometimes, though, a business decision was made to let the new teams go. This was either because of moving the responsibilities to a different location or because the overall business was sold out. This was a case of Elkjøp Contact Centre and our Spanish businesses.
From an SSC to Centre of Excellence
2014 was a major milestone in time, as Dixons Retail then merged with Carphone Warehouse. A new name for our company was coined, Dixons Carphone. At this point, there was also a time for moving to become more centred. So, we waved goodbye to Spielberg Office Centre and transferred our place of business to Trnitá 5, our current location in Triniti tower, in the heart of Brno.
The company’s steady growth is mirrored by how many colleagues we need. From the initial 59 in 2007, going through 242 in 2010, we were at 321 colleagues in 2014. A new E-commerce team, Nordic logistics team, HR Services team were created. At this point in time it would be fair to say that we began the shift from a Shared Services Centre to a Centre of Excellence – we still did tasks that were delegated to us, but increasingly, we began to take on more responsibility for end-to-end processes, and you could begin to see the seed of stable growth of a company that is full of dedicated people who want to take the mission towards its successful end.
The official transformation to Centre of Excellence happened two years later, in 2016, as more expansion followed and RPA and PMO teams were added. A great focus on Lean culture was initiated at that time.
Quo vadis, Currys?
We are now in the year 2022.
For 15 years we had been going strong on the Czech market, pulsating with attracting new colleagues and projects, and taking on more and more responsibilities. There are 4 main streams we are covering now: UK finance, Nordic finance & logistics, IT, and commercial operations and all of them are evolving day by day. We are at 740 colleagues of 53 nationalities now, and we put great care, time, and resources into making sure our colleagues are satisfied, upskilled and their talent nurtured.
We build, we learn, we proceed together – and we are excited to start new chapters and keep growing for at least another 15 years. Happy birthday, Currys!