26 50

CIO50 2022 #26-50 Jack Broughton, King Living

  • Name Jack Broughton
  • Title Chief information officer
  • Company King Living
  • Commenced role 2013
  • Reporting Line Chief executive officer
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Technology Function 23 staff, 4 indirect reports
  • Furniture retailer, King Living, has experienced high growth over the past five years and has doubled in size since COVID hit in early 2020. It has entered six new international markets, including the UK, with little to no local experience while also increasing its manufacturing footprint to a second geography to keep up with demand.

    “All these positive drivers have fuelled the need for innovative technologies to help us achieve them,” chief information officer, Jack Broughton tells CIO.

    However, IT systems across these markets have been historically complex, expensive, and slow to integrate.

    “To facilitate the ambitious growth of the company, especially during a time when travel and support was restricted, my incredible team and I delivered a custom web portal that sits on top of our ERP system,” Broughton notes.

    The custom web portal enables front-line staff, who are distributed globally, to identify a business process that is slow, repetitive and/or redundant.

    Broughton claims that this product is the best example of an agile solution he has seen in the retail sector to date. As the retailer’s ERP system grows, the value the organisation derives through the automations that are rapidly built and deployed grow exponentially with value realised immediately at the coalface.

    For example, he notes, King Living was able to connect its inventory data to point-of-sale information within a matter of days. This enables staff to actively monitor for sales orders received in full and automatically alert customers, for instance, if there is a balance remaining and give customers the option to finalise their balance without a staff member needing to be involved.

    This immediately saves two to three FTEs, and has also removed the redundant and ‘boring’ tasks that staff didn’t enjoy doing, which has seen a staff satisfaction uplift as well, says Broughton. “These deployments and their associated value continues to climb, well after implementation".

    He says that of all the metrics he has committed to achieving over the past two years, the most significant was to have a full tech solution in place to open King’s first UK-based showroom.

    “Sounds reasonably standard for my role, but the challenge given to me was to get that done in four months with a go live date of Boxing Day 2021. There were no staff in the UK or supplier relationships, no prior knowledge or internal skills with GDPR compliance, no technical infrastructure, and no reprieve on already planned and committed projects,” he notes.

    “We nailed it and it is without doubt mostly due to the solutions that we have developed and put in place and, of course, the rockstar team that made it all happen.”

    The long and successful road to CIO

    Broughton joined King 1o years ago as an employee in the warehouse, customer service and manufacturing departments.

    “I built a wealth of knowledge of how the business operates and have successfully transitioned that knowledge into overhauling all technology throughout the business with the full support of the broader business," he recalls.

    “With the diverse yet detailed knowledge I have of the business, my c-level peers often lean on me for input in operational projects. This more often than not allows us to implement a solution, which involves or allows for the smooth integration of technology systems".

    It’s the same knowledge and continued success, that has built the highest level of trust between him and the CEO. Leadership in Australia and abroad backed his approach to opening a second manufacturing facility abroad months before the pandemic began.

    “We had planned to lean heavily on our leadership and staff from our original manufacturing facility in China to help get operations up and running while we built and implemented a new ERP system that was serviceable to the business outside China," Broughton notes.

    Travelling to China was impossible due to the pandemic, so he has taken full ownership of the project, determining how the design of the system would impact physical operations, creating and collecting a manufacturing bill of materials, and training new staff on how to use systems and understand the business.

    “The systems and processes I have introduced are also trusted by my fellow c-suite members to shape the critical decisions they make such as deciding what needs to be produced in the new factory, budgets, when key milestones will be met and how key information is provided to staff and customers at the point of sale," Broughton explains.

    “These are all decisions that someone in my position typically wouldn’t have any impactful influence over and I believe it’s this level of trust that would set me apart from my peers in the industry".

    Byron Connolly

    Share this article