How StARK Group modernizes internal controls throughout the organization

Learn how the Danish hardware retailer took a proactive step to strengthen internal controls throughout the entire organization leveraged by Impero’s compliance management platform.

At a glance

  • 10,000+ employees
  • 400 branches across five countries
  •  120+ years of experience

Watch interview with Ragna Kr. Jóhannsdóttir, Group Head of Internal Controls and Enterprise Risk Management at STARK Group​

"Impero makes this possible with just a few clicks and with quick and great overview."

Featured, STARK
Photo credits: STARK Group

About STARK Group

Since 1896, STARK has continuously evolved from a Danish hardware retailer to today being a leading hardware retailer across Northern Europe and Germany. STARK employs 10,000 people in more than 400 branches across Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and Finland.

With trust built into STARK’s DNA, Ragna Kr. Jóhannsdóttir, Group Head of Internal Controls and Enterprise Risk Management at STARK Group, knew it was important to find a platform that could optimize processes, digitize internal procedures, and stay on top of risk management possible. 

Finding a tool for an ever-changing organization

For Ragna Kr. Jóhannsdóttir, the question was how to gather all information from different entities and turn it into collective and valuable reporting. The challenge was not to set up internal controls and processes, the challenge was more to demonstrate that these were in order for relevant stakeholders.

Although STARK Group already had established processes and procedures, most were manually based, in physical paper format, and different from country to country and entity to entity. The right fit needed to be something with high flexibility that could accommodate multiple activities to cover the same risks.

Impero became the obvious choice as it, amongst others:

  1. Modernizes internal control processes
  2. Provides a high level of flexibility for administrators
  3. Allows administrators to ask for specific documentation, which is easily uploaded by control contributors.

According to Ragna Kr. Jóhannsdóttir, Impero has all the necessary functionalities to strengthen the STARK organization in the future. It brings value on multiple organizational levels and within different departments and entities.

"A great strength at STARK is an international overview combined with local presence. It makes for a strong organization, but it also requires strong processes to stay aligned and effective. Impero’s platform helps us with that exactly."

Ragna Kr. Jóhannsdóttir, Group Head of Internal Controls and Enterprise Risk Management at STARK Group​

STARK, Woman
Photo credits: STARK Group

One day of implementation and an instant optimization of processes with proper documentation

Once Ragna Kr. Jóhannsdóttir chose Impero as the best solution for STARK, she began the process of benchmarking how Impero should be used throughout the organization. While keeping already established practices in mind, it was important to base new processes on useful data to continuously keep controls relevant across all operating countries.

This process took one to two months and Ragna Kr. Jóhannsdóttir explains how they proceeded by:

  1. Identifying common procedures and processes
  2. Agreeing upon the frame of reference
  3. Identifying the needed end reporting criteria
  4. Identifying the main stakeholders for reporting and view

Having established a common ground for all people involved, the next step was the implementation, which only took one day. The Impero platform enabled Ragna Kr. Jóhannsdóttir and her colleagues to “proceed as usual” just with a digitized approach.

For Ragna Kr. Jóhannsdóttir, the preparatory work proved to be a great advantage as the implementation afterward went smoothly and controls were sent out within the first day. Today, creating proper documentation and dependable reporting is not a problem at STARK Group as it is automatically generated in Impero, demonstrating strong processes. 

Photo credits: STARK Group

A platform that creates instant efficiency and modernization

Since implementing Impero, STARK has increased efficiency and saved time on many tasks. Instead of manually going through several types of control completions and documents, Ragna Kr. Jóhannsdóttir single-handedly administrates all compliance processes in Impero.

She explains how user-friendly Impero is and how the simplicity of setting up meaningful workflows creates transparency and good governance throughout the organization.

Further, the modernization of internal controls has given a sense of relevancy to STARK employees when using Impero. All processes and controls are continuously assessed, which means there are no irrelevant control send-outs.

"With Impero’s flexible control setup, it is possible to give the users different options when completing a control."

“If necessary, I can ask for documentation, and I also like giving users the opportunity to explain why a control has not been performed or by the deadline. I often find that there is a good reason, and it gives the control performer a sense of being heard so that we are not doing anything without a purpose. Impero makes this possible with just a few clicks and with quick and great overview.”

Ragna Kr. Jóhannsdóttir sees Impero as a key driver in facilitating a robust compliance culture, which she also believes is an important part of further strengthening the STARK organization. 

Moving forward: Strengthening ESG initiatives by using Impero’s automatic reporting

STARK has signed up with the UN Global Compact to pursue SDG 12 and 15 concerning “Responsible consumption and production” and “Life on land”. With this on the agenda, STARK will set up processes to track, manage, and document the journey.

According to Ragna Kr. Jóhannsdóttir, STARK continues to develop relevant frameworks, controls, and optimize processes by using Impero. For a constantly changing organization, it is important to be able to quickly enroll new entities or new business areas into the organization and ensure streamlining across all current and future countries.

STARK, builder
Photo credits: STARK Group

"With Impero, we will advance into our next journey, which will be to ensure better quality documentation of the ESG initiative we already have in place."

“STARK is already working with sustainability on a high level, now we are bringing the documentation of this good work to the same standard.” – says Ragna Kr. Jóhannsdóttir, Group Head of Internal Controls and Enterprise Risk Management at STARK Group​

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