“Always, always have a plan” a view on mobilisations by Robert Ashcroft
Meet Robert Ashcroft, our Operational Change Manager, and learn his perspective on mobilisations.
“Recent publicity about mobilisations and integrations has highlighted the paramount importance of how we implement new business into our Bidfood network. Over the last 3 years we have been very successful in winning a substantial amount of new business across all business sectors, from hotels and restaurants, care homes and schools to contract caterers and travel and leisure, each unique in its requirements.
However, with all of these mobilisations, three key areas are critical to making them all successful:
- Robust information and data
- Two-way communication
- Sufficient time to plan
We always start any mobilisation with some key fundamentals:
- To mobilise with ‘little to no’ adverse impact on service
- To ensure sites are able to continue with ‘business as usual’
- To win ‘hearts and minds’ through the process
- To ensure sites are not burdened by the process
- To ensure communication is clear and succinct
It is important that we engage with our customer at the earliest opportunity, and we normally request several pieces of information and data so that when we do go live that we know where and when to deliver, any specific delivery requirements and restrictions, what products are required and the likely demand by individual customer unit so that we have the right stock in the right place at the right time.
Like moving house, moving to a new distributor can be a stressful time and we work hard to negate this by regular communications, updates and by amending our plans if necessary. As part of the process we can also provide welcome letters, welcome packs, introductory calls and post first delivery calls to make sure that, at site level, the new customer is aware of what is happening and we can pick up any early concerns either before or immediately after their first delivery and iron out teething issues swiftly.
Our process is underpinned by a national network of depots, aiming to never be further than 80 miles from any customer site, and our depot teams are fully engaged in the mobilisation process as their involvement is at the heart of the partnership with local customer sites.
We will always mobilise a new customer at a pace that is comfortable to them, to make sure that we are both ready for the change and, in particular, that the teams at site level feel comfortable that they have the detailed information needed to maintain a smooth operation. Often the project plan will change from the initial document for a variety of reasons and we have the ability to adapt and take a pragmatic view to all mobilisations, each one is different. It is truly a team effort that all departments get involved in to ensure we deliver service excellence from the get-go.
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