Chief Commercial Officer, Sam Holden and Chief Operations Officer, Carl Moore discuss how Yodel’s Commercial and Operations teams work together to ensure a smooth operation and delighted clients and customers.
“As we head into the Summer months, we typically start to see a higher percentage of garden and outdoor items come into our network.” Carl comments, who joined Yodel as Chief Operations Officer in 2018. “The warmer weather encourages consumers to start purchasing a variety of items; from plants to garden furniture, BBQs and seeds. Each item has its own challenges and poses a variety of considerations for our operational colleagues. Within our network there are so many moving parts and subsequent impacts so it is imperative for the two teams to be aligned.”
“How do we achieve this?” asks Sam, who prior to joining Yodel in 2019 held a range of both Commercial and Operational roles. “It all starts with client forecasting at various levels; annual volume commitments help us to form a strategic plan, focusing on when we need to scale up and down our operations. We then dig deeper into these forecasts during the Commercial team’s monthly forecasting conversations with clients and again during weekly, volume-lockdown discussions. It’s extremely important that our Commercial team work closely with our clients to provide our operational colleagues with the most up to date volume expectations - ensuring a smooth service for all. This means that we want to know everything that our clients are doing that may impact their volumes; our Operational Planning Team and our Client Directors work alongside clients defining their needs and supporting any campaigns or promotional activity they are planning, alongside their BAU volumes.
From these Commercial conversations, our Sort, Transport and Final Mile leaders receive regular updates and we create forums to plan collectively. Despite best laid plans, sometimes there may be changes and trends that occur that we may not have forecasted for. The start of the first national lockdown saw a huge shift from fashion within small bags and parcels towards more food and wine being shipped in heavier and bigger boxes. During times such as these, we use trend analysis, client volume submission and cross functional working teams to react to change on a weekly and where possible daily basis. At this point, it is also important to recognise other departments within this process too, such as our fantastic IT team, who support service stability and Finance, who reconcile against budgeted volumes.”
“At Yodel, we’re also extremely fortunate to operate a central Business Control Tower that produces daily detailed Management Information for all clients” Carl points out. “This valuable information provides updates on collections and service, so we immediately know of any changes to planned volumes or traffic profile. At a more local level, our operational colleagues alert our Client Directors to any traffic related issues via Yammer, an internal communication tool. If there are any specific issues relating to an individual client’s traffic it is raised directly with the Client Director who will reach out to the client to update, support, and fix any issues.”
Sam agrees “We have an incredibly strong client relationship framework and that is an extremely important focus within Yodel. This in turn leads to trust and long-lasting partnerships, which ultimately is our end goal. We are not merely a service provider; we are a core partner. Our clients have fully measured transparency of service KPIs, a clear map of all Customer Service standards and flexible capacity planning, all of which leads to satisfied clients and their customers. We continuously strive to be best in class and in the last two years we have renewed and extended many of our partnership contracts whilst winning some fabulous new clients, leading to soaring volumes through our network. We currently sort over 600,000 parcels per night, with Commercial’s and Operations’ aligned approach enabling us to support our clients’ increasing volumes. During this period, we have consistently seen an increase to our NPS and CSAT score and over the past 12 months, our Trustpilot rating has increased from 4.2 out for 5 to an industry leading 4.6.
Through careful planning and honest communication between clients, our Commercial colleagues and our Operational teams, we are able to plan for any challenge and drive the strategy that has led to an incredible Yodel turnaround.”