Go West

March 2011

Westward ho! Our new Bristol ‘spoke’ (distribution centre) opened this week, which means we’re now delivering to front doorsteps, hallways and kitchen tables – whichever you’d prefer – in the West Country and South Wales areas.

We’ve rolled things out, so to speak, with 20 shiny new delivery vans, 45 raring-to-go drivers (or as we call them, Customer Service Team Members) and a small management team to keep the operation running like clockwork.

All this means we can now deliver to an extra one million homes, and we’re geared up to expand even more over the next few months. At full capacity, our Bristol spoke will employ up to 170 people, operate 60 vans and deliver around 10,000 grocery orders a week.

A few days ago we photographed our fleet rolling across the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge. In typical fashion, the sun finally peeped out just as we’d finished crossing. But not to worry, the results seem to be popular on our Facebook page – http://on.fb.me/f6yf61

We’ve had a great response from new customers already, so to finish I’ll hand over to Steve, the man in charge of our new spoke:

‘It’s great to be finally opening the doors to the West Country and South Wales; we’re really excited to be getting to know a new set of customers. We’re confident they’ll love the service!’

Well said, Steve.

Ben

In a whirl

We had a whirlwind week last week – a reminder of how far we’ve come since our early days in Hemel Hempstead and an exciting glimpse of how much we’re set to achieve in the future.

To start: on Tuesday we confirmed that we’ll be building a new ‘spoke’ (that’s what we call our regional distribution centres) in Bristol – that means 60 brand-new Ocado vans delivering to parts of South Wales and the South West from next March.

Some of the places we’ll be delivering to are Cardiff, Bath, Taunton, Newport, Cheltenham and, of course, Bristol. The new 40,000 square foot spoke means up to another 170 jobs at peak capacity and coverage of another one million homes. Customers have been asking for a while now when we’ll be heading further west; I’m delighted to be able to tell them ‘soon’!

From Bristol to Berlin. The following day we headed to the German capital to attend the prestigious World Retail Awards, and the team and I were delighted to scoop the World Etailer Of The Year prize. There was a record number of entries from the biggest ever range of countries this year, and with heavyweights like Nike and Amazon among the other winners, our victory was sweeter still.

The award’s Grand Jury (made up of some of the world’s most respected retailers and industry experts) concluded that Ocado’s offer was “fresh and full of innovation”. I might add that for a business which only delivered to its first customer in 2002, I’m immensely proud of how far we’ve come in the time since. To have our achievements recognised globally is a great accolade for our 4,500-strong team.

So, what’s next? Well, with our new distribution facilities (see Ben’s post ‘Bigger and better’ for more detail), we’re starting a big new era of growth and job creation. As you can imagine, that means there’s a real buzz of excitement for the future throughout the company. And, if it’s possible, I’m even more convinced than ever that our convenient, efficient and engaging alternative to the traditional supermarket represents the future of grocery shopping.

Well, to finish, we had a laugh struggling to fit the World Retail Award trophy into our luggage for the flight home. But it’s here in Hatfield now and a daily reminder of everything you, the customer, inspire us to achieve. Onwards and upwards!

Tim Steiner
CEO and Ocado Co-Founder