IT Strategy:  FMCG Supply Chain – eFulfilment

GIST is a leading distribution company, (part of BOC Group)  providing FMCG Supply Chain services to UK and multinational businesses. I was responsible for the IT Strategy which underpinned of a major re-band and re-launch of the business.

IT innovation differentiated GIST from other 3rd party distribution companies. The IT Strategy provided a road-map to achieve incremental value for Gist’s customers that would provide them competitive advantage against their rivals.

Business goals and objectives were:

  • Leverage best-in-breed technology (web, mobile, applications, IT) to support USPs and operational advantage for GIST and it’s clients
  • Maximise the benefits from technology investments with re-use across business and operational functions
  • Investigate and trial leading edge technology, aiming for early adoption if it could provide business advantage.

Scope of  IT Strategy covered:

  • E-Fulfilment: Warehouse management systems (WMS), sales & order processing, inventory management, planning and forecasting, management information systems (MIS), business integration (BI).
  • Supply Chain Operations: WMS, transport management, MI, BI, mobile
  • Managed Solutions: Supply chain exception management, order consolidation and invoice management, MI and web,  BI reporting for the client.
  • IT: Desk top and office systems and applications, networks (voice and data), infrastructure,  business applications

Following initial SWOT analysis,  IT investment priorities, scope and objectives were confirmed and the strategy published as a set of related documents aligning technology groups to business direction. I liaised with  cross functional teams and suppliers to deliver and optimise technology inline with the strategy.


I led proof of concepts and public trials in new technologies, testing out new IT and operational solutions, these further informed the strategy and enabled business prioritisation for their early adoption to drive competitive advantage:

  • RFID :  Joint venture launched  with M&S to trial the use of read-writable Texas Instruments  RFID tags attached to 3M food trays.  The trial was focused initially on the intake operation in the warehouse where 80% improvement was noted in the time taken to capture data on inbound produce using  a Smart Label tracking system provided by UK based Intellident .  The trial was successful, enabling M&S to commit further  increased deployment in subsequent years across the operation and into clothing product ranges as well.
  • Mobile:  I led a Proof of Concept (PoC)  to provide the senior management  team with easy  access to email and calendars when out of the office, negating the hassle of trying to connect remotely  using bulky lap-tops.  This successful PoC also informed the development road-map for operational connectivity (covering in-transit/in-cab).  Vodafone were partnered to establish a VPN, packet switched across  their ‘2.5G network’.  Bluetooth enabled Compaq iPacs were used to provide the user interface that connected (wireless) to Motorola T280 GPRS handsets .   We now take this functionality for granted as it has since been integrated into standard smart phones using 3G and 4G networks.


Digital and eCommerce Strategy for a Global Express Courier Business

I was retained as the interim eCommerce Strategy Management for DHL Express, reporting into the Marketing Director for UK domestic and international business, to deliver a strategy and an online-product development road-map which would provide the business with a market leading eCommerce proposition.

1) Improve operational efficiencies and profitability: 

  • Customer self-service,
  • Customer journey rationalisation,
  • Upgrade and consolidation of client-side (EDI) apps.

2) Increase customer acquisition and retention:

  • Attract online customers,
  • Increase customer loyalty,
  • Extend brand advocacy.

3) Sell more services, cross-sell / up-sell:

  • eCommerce journey optimization,
  • Digital marketing,
  • Customer portal design,
  • Customer Application improvements.

I was invited back to DHL by the same management team a couple of years after my first  eCommerce strategy assignment.  My brief this time was to update the strategy, prioritise and deliver some of the projects which had best ROI. My deliverables during this second assignments included:

  • Strategy and planning across all digital/BAU initiatives to boost acquisition and retention. Consolidation roadmap replacing legacy commercial/customer systems with new digital, eCommerce and IT systems.
  • Technical and commercial review and planning to replace legacy EDI applications with new generation digital/eCommerce platforms, delivering cost and efficiency benefits to DHL and the customers.
  • Management and ops changes for online marketing  covering SEM / PPC, analytics, SEO, affiliates, campaigns and ad-inventory management.
  •  Manage the design, build and launch of DHL’s first mobile web app.
  • Establish web optimisation capability by deploying and setting up  advanced customer-experience tools and optimisation (heat mapping, detailed journey analysis), a/b and mllti-variate testing
  • Website optimization of the main transactional websites for cash customer using the web-optimisation tools.
  • Planning, procurement, acquisition and setting up of  DHL’s first deployment of Social Media monitoring tools. Linking up with global teams to establish the process for operational capability and set out the road-map for the next phase of full Social Media engagement.

Project Management – FMCG Supply Chain Solutions

I was employed  by  Tibbett and Britten Group (TBG) on end-to-end contracts for 4 years in the 90’s, during which time the company grew from a £750M  to £1B turnover business.  Responsible for delivering £multi-million retail / FMCG supply chain solutions for clients including Duracell, Colgate-Palmolive and Elida Faberge and Marks & Spencer.  Solutions centred around a warehouse management system with EDI being the business to business integration mechanism.

Main duties:

  • Worked closely with directors/ senior management to improve process and change the way IT was delivered.
  • Project/programme management on major accounts.
  • Supplier selection and supplier management.
  • Representing the TBG IT Team in meetings with clients and suppliers in the UK, Ireland, Holland and India



Deliverables and achievements:

  • IT MIS and Supply Chain Management solutions:  Following the success of my first high profile MIS solution for Marks & Spencer, I went on to deliver similar MIS SCM solutions in the automotive sector on major accounts including Volkswagen Audi Group, Ford and Ford Direct.
  • IT supplier management: Established an offshore relationship with a company in India which significantly reduced the cost of IT services. Developed a structured supplier evaluation and selection process. Delivered frameworks for supplier audit and performance management (based on ISO / BSI).
  • Warehouse Management / end-to-end  EDI/ SCM Solution: Delivered this multi-client Supply Chain Management programme to Duracell, Colgate-Palmolive, Elida Faberge and Lever Brothers.
  • PMO: Forged a robust and reliable set of methods, tools and structure to improve project & quality management across the Group. This led to lower cost, clearer visibility, reduced lead-times throughout for IT Projects.
  • First project/first programme delivered: I joined TBG as an Oracle Consultant and left 4 years later with project and programme management experience. Cross functional matrix management, teams up to 40

RFP for a high street retailer

TNT UK  ran the Home Delivery network for Habitat, the UK retailer of  contemporary furniture and decorative accessories,  formerly established by Sir Terence Conran.  This well-known high street store offers a big range of  of furniture (much of which is which is built to order),  a wide selection of  textiles,  upholstery and lighting.

TNT were managing the  complex supply chain and needed to keep ‘built to order’ customer orders on the ground in the warehouse for the minimum time.  A new  supply chain  solution was required that would provide a more optimised warehouse management solution with a good API / integration capability to the business, operations and all related applications and IT systems.

I was retained to work across the business (up to director level) on  requirements capture for the replacement supply chain management solution based around a new Warehouse Management system, which was to be fully connfigured and integrated  (either by the supplier or partner integrator) into  finance/ERP, transport, MI  systems,   customer-order management systems (retail-side) and ordering and  production systems (supplier  side).

After initial consultation I established the wide RFP team with roles and responsibilities and created  an outline requirements document which was worked up to a sufficient level of detail to support an RFP which I then created, along with a supplier capability shortlist. When the RFP had been approved,  I formed the  decision panel with my key stakeholders  and we launched the RFP for our targeted suppliers. Responses were evaluated against our  assessment criteria and the winning supplier (Exe Technologies) was selected, on time.   My final task was to work through draft contracts with both Habitat and the supplier.