Unipart – All ‘Fire’ and no ‘Fury’!
Michael Wolff wrote an exposé of the first 9 months of the Donald Trump administration called “Fire & Fury”. The newly elected president tried to stop the book from being published. Due to the media storm surrounding the book, Waterstones’ 500 copies sold out immediately. They turned to Unipart to help… Trump was tweeting daily ‘Do not buy this book!’ This only fueled demand amongst eager customers. In order to stay one step ahead of Trump's legal teams, the publishers opted to publish 2 days early. Of course this had an immediate impact on distributors' plans and schedules. Waterstones were one step ahead of their rivals. A further 20,000 books were ordered. It became critical for the Unipart Internet team to receive the books in and turn the orders around on the same day. The team got planning for the sudden increase in volume. They started prepping all those activities that could be done in advance to speed things up on the day. However, the books that were meant to arrive at 10:30 were 3 hours late. This made the operational window very tight. This was just what the team didn't need! If the additional volume had arrived on time, things would have been a challenge. As it was, the books didn't arrive until early afternoon. So now they were not only short of time, they were short of physical space to pack the orders. The team had to adapt quickly to ensure service was met. Once the books eventually arrived, an additional team created an extended internet area, made the space available and physically packed the product, with all the relevant labels and were ready to go out the door on time. This was an incredible response to a very unusual set of circumstances in the publishing world. The internet team rose to the challenge, they demonstrated a "can do" attitude and found solutions to unexpected problems. They worked very closely with the Waterstones client team at Burton, giving them the confidence that, even when the unexpected happens, Unipart will pull out all the stops to help them achieve their goals.
Mark In Action Winners Make the News!
A team from Unipart Logistics - Sky recently received a Mark in Action Award for their hard work planning and delivering the launch of Sky's new mobile proposition. They went above and beyond to help make this launch a big success. In addition to receiving the award, presenters from Sky Sports News recorded a special message for the team, which you can watch here. Sky was about to launch Sky Mobile. This was our opportunity to accept a significant challenge, one that many other suppliers would not have accepted. The team was chosen for their operational skills, however none of them had ever worked on a high pressured project with such exacting criteria and deadlines. The award winners set up an entire mobile operation from scratch. They established and tested new systems and procedures, wrote new Standard Operation Procedures, engaged with all the key stakeholders and all the way through demonstrated exemplary communication with our client. The whole team went way "above and beyond" their normal roles to deliver this launch. They demonstrated an incredible level of commitment to the customer, displaying the utmost flexibility, even staying until 11pm one cold Friday evening for a late delivery. This team truly demonstrated what a deep understanding of customer needs looked like, and the ability to go “above and beyond” to deliver a great result for the customer.
Keeping our Customers on Track…
Unipart Rail supplies and installs a broad range of rail infrastructure products such as signals, cables, overhead line and level crossing parts. One day, one of our engineers was on site and overheard a couple of Network Rail engineers discussing a thorny problem that they had. Our team member thought he might just have a solution for them... Network Rail had a problem sourcing critical parts for a panel which needed urgent modifications. The local engineers could not find a supplier for the parts, and their only option was to order a whole new unit. These are bespoke products, it would have taken weeks to order a new part and would come with a significant price tag. Cost was not the only dilemma for the local engineers, installing a whole new unit involved re-design work, and significant safety implications in taking the existing panel away. This was a real headache. Unipart Rail thought they might have an alternative solution for them. One of our team offered his advice and advised them that he might be able to help. He knew that Unipart Rail had some spares back at base from a previous panel modification. He went back, sourced the parts, ensured they were correct and to standard; he then created a prototype. He tested this and found that it was successful. He liaised with the design engineers, demonstrated the panel, proved it would work and would save both time and money. He helped bring about a win-win solution for everyone. The reason these actions stand out, and demonstrate how our Mark in Action winners go above and beyond to deliver outstanding customer service, is that our award winner thought about the problem that the client was facing; he understood the implications completely and solved the problem creatively. He took the initiative and worked with the client to build a workable solution that resulted in significant savings for the client, saved critical time and helped to build a relationship of trust and collaboration with the client. He truly went “the extra mile” to keep one of our customers “on track”
UTL Makes the Difference
One of UTL’s major media clients was launching a new strategic project, with huge volumes of new stock needing the very latest software loads. The launch involved multiple trials, and the resolution of a myriad of technical issues. With go-live dates shifting and changing, UTL had to deliver ultimate flexibility. This is where Wayne stepped up and assumed complete responsibility for every single aspect of the project handover into business as usual activity. Throughout the launch Wayne showed total commitment to the customer. He took on the challenge of delivering this programme successfully at a very personal level, constantly focusing on the next priority, chasing and challenging both the client and UTL team members, quickly reacting to every change and issue as it arose. He dropped everything and personally followed any service failure investigation through to a conclusion. Imagine getting the call from a client on a Friday saying that a software upgrade was needed before distribution of product on a Monday, and taking every step necessary to get every single hard drive due for shipment ready to go. It was this kind of attention to detail and personal commitment that really showed Wayne’s agility, flexibility, understanding of customer needs and a determination to deliver perfect quality that has earned him this well-deserved Mark in Action Award. Such was his dedication and commitment to the client that at a moment’s notice, over the weekend, he dropped everything and came in to load the very latest software onto the devices so that they were shipped with the most up-to-date upgrades. Thank you Wayne!
Meet Our Judges
The Mark In Action programme is supported by three judges, two of whom are external and experts in the field of World Class Customer Service. The third judge is one of our senior leaders with over 30 years of expertise within the company.
Their contribution brings enormous credibility and substance to the programme and this is highly valued.
Mark spent 15 years in managerial roles in the paper, printing and engineering industries. In 1994 he initiated the RSA Tomorrow’s Company Inquiry, a three-year investigation into the future role of business in which Unipart Chairman and Group Chief Executive John Neill played a leading part. Building on this work Mark went on to found Tomorrow’s Company, an independent, business led think tank that aims to inspire and enable business to be a force for good.
He has served in advisory capacities for British Airways, BT, Camelot, Novo Nordisk and Walgreens Boots Alliance. He is co-author, with Singapore’s Ong Boon Hwee, of ‘Entrusted – Stewardship for Responsible Wealth Creation’ published in 2020, and a Financial Times Book of the Month.
In 2019 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of East Anglia.
David Grayson CBE
David is Emeritus Professor of Corporate Responsibility at Cranfield School of Management, UK. From 2007-17, he was the founder-director of the Doughty Centre and Professor of Corporate Responsibility. He was a visiting Senior Fellow at the CSR Initiative of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government: 2006-10.
David has chaired or served on various charity, social enterprise and public sector boards. He currently chairs the international charity: The Institute of Business Ethics and has just stepped down after eight years as chair of Carers UK. He sits on several corporate and NGO advisory panels – the Circle of Advisers for Business Fights Poverty, the visiting faculty of the Forward Institute and the Ramon Del Rosario CSR Centre at the Asian Institute of Management in Manila. He is a former Managing-Director of the Responsible Business Coalition: Business in the Community and has worked with many international coalitions, institutions and companies around the world.
David is the author of seven books and has contributed to a further 10. His most recent book is: “All In – The Future of Business Leadership,” co-authored with Chris Coulter and Mark Lee.
He was awarded the OBE for services to business in 1994 and the CBE for service to disability in 1999.