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3rdRisk drives full adoption of risk & internal control in HEMA organisation

Jelle Groenendaal
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Berry Kok is Manager Risk & Internal Audit at HEMA. HEMA is an iconic, 97-year-old general merchandise retailer active in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany and Austria. HEMA designs, markets, sells and distributes products through its +/- 750 directly owned stores, as well as a network of branded franchise stores, partnerships and e-commerce.

At HEMA Berry is responsible for the Risk & Internal audit team which covers both second line activities in the field of risk management and internal control, and third line services to provide assurance across all aspects of the business towards the HEMA audit committee.

The challenge

We are currently engaged in a comprehensive overhaul of our risk management and internal control practices within HEMA. This means that many employees will soon be dealing with risk management and internal controls for the first time. It is therefor essential to explain clearly to the organisation what this involves. Our challenge is to present this in an appealing and engaging way so that everyone sees the added value and to ensure that internal control testing quickly becomes an integral part of daily activities. HEMA is a practical and down-to-earth company; no one is waiting for complicated processes or rigid technology that does not connect with the day-to-day practices of our people.

"HEMA is a practical and down-to-earth company; no one is waiting for complicated processes or rigid technology."

The solution

With the Internal Control module from 3rdRisk, we have the opportunity to introduce the concept of internal controls in a practical, accessible way. Technology plays a crucial role in the success of our team, and therefore, in effectively managing risks. 3rdRisk’s technology enables us to maintain control over our constantly evolving organisation and to involve people from all levels in risk management and internal control. Since the platform and the IC module are fully designed to match HEMA's corporate and visual identity, adoption within the organisation is high. The 3rdRisk platform has thus truly become a HEMA-wide tool that really benefits us, not just a plaything for the second and third lines.

The introduction of ‘Takkie’ – our mascot at HEMA – as a virtual assistant within the platform has led to high adoption within the organisation. The integration with Microsoft Teams allows our control owners to be easily activated to perform tasks or gain insights into the latest test results, and all in just a few steps. The whole process now feels intuitive and natural. This has certainly contributed to the extent to which the platform is already being used.

Berry showing the iconic takkie mascote, which has been used throughout the 3rdRisk platform.

The results

For me, it is evident that the use of the 3rdRisk platform saves a significant amount of time in both operations and the second and third lines. Moreover, the technology also makes it more enjoyable to engage in risk management and internal control. The greatest compliment is that there are colleagues who, on their own initiative, ask if they can add more frameworks and control measures to the system. This is a complete reversal from the past and was once unthinkable. Thanks to 3rdRisk, our people are much more engaged to play their role in risk management and internal control activities.

Finally, we now have a much better understanding of where we stand. We know the risks we face and how well we are keeping up with the agreed-upon follow-up actions. The simplicity and intuitiveness of the 3rdRisk technology certainly facilitate these processes.

“We aimed to introduce a tool within HEMA that is not just for Risk and Internal Audit, but for the entire organisation. It should be a part of everyone's daily tasks. 3rdRisk and its technology have succeeded in this with flying colours.”
Berry working with the 3rdRisk platform.

Why 3rdRisk

What makes 3rdRisk unique is that they create technology with and for the end-users. These are not just risk and internal control professionals, but especially the people in daily operations such as store managers, IT engineers and financial administrators who frequently use the technology. 3rdRisk has ensured that risk and internal control are integrated into the everyday work of our people. As a result, our maturity in these fields has grown significantly.

Furthermore, we chose 3rdRisk for their personal approach and the opportunity for co-development. Collaborating with 3rdRisk feels like a full-fledged and down-to-earth partnership where we continuously strive to strengthen each other. The experience and expertise of 3rdRisk help us improve our processes. We come up with new ideas to further develop the platform. These ideas are then developed into high-quality new functionalities through several iterations, making life much easier for the users, our team, and the management.

Finally, 3rdRisk also invests in setting up and maintaining collaborations. For instance, we are part of the 3rdRisk retail community. This allows us to easily share experiences with other retailers and jointly work with the 3rdRisk team to develop new features or functionalities. This truly sets 3rdRisk apart in the market and is also the kind of supplier that we are looking for.

"Collaborating with 3rdRisk feels like a full-fledged and down-to-earth partnership where we continuously strive to strengthen each other."

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