AB Spotlight: Ocado

28th January 2020

AB Spotlight: Ocado

Arca Blanca – the integrated consultancy and data company – has been named as a finalist at the MCA Awards 2020. In this series of short articles, a different partner from our business reflects on each of our four shortlisted nominations.

Today, in the UK, we all know Ocado as one of our most successful online supermarkets. Its warehouses, or Customer Fulfilment Centres (CFCs), are the most technically advanced in the world.

It’s not a supermarket as we know them. Instead, they might be more accurately labelled as a tech company, for Ocado has now sold this sophisticated delivery platform to leading grocers across the world – known as the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) – marking their shift from UK online grocer, to global technology solutions provider.

As Ocado’s Transformation Lead, Tory Araujo explained:

To make this happen, we needed to design an operating model that would allow Ocado to grow as fast as possible – to become 10 times its size – whilst still retaining our innovative and unique culture that would deliver best-in-class solutions to our new grocery clients across the world.

-Tory Araujo, Transformation Lead, Ocado

Behind the scenes, a joint team of Ocado and Arca Blanca people created a totally unique design-process that would enable the design of Ocado’s operating model, equipping them to understand, own and steer their rapid transformation from UK grocer to global platform provider. There were three important elements to this:

1. Building on Ocado’s innovative and unique culture

We explored first-hand the collaborative spirit in which Ocado worked with their clients which would then influence the design and implementation of the platform they would then go on to provide them with. The start-up mentality of Ocado needed to be influencing all future ways of working.

2. Using design-sprints – practical design for real-life

The iterative design process was scenario based and designed to enhance collaborative thinking, without being overly formal and alien to Ocado’s working culture. An agile spirit of ‘rapid test and learn’ was at the heart of the method.

The advantage of choosing a ‘Design Sprint’ approach meant that every discussion was real, practical and specific to Ocado’s situation, embedded in their everyday operation. Each scenario had to account for the structure, technology and demonstrated behaviours of the organisation – a multifaceted task to reflect the breadth of the organisation.

3. Embracing uncertainty

Ocado is constantly innovating. This is proven by the sheer scale of their growth and their ability to build upon new ideas and opportunities. Therefore the operating model needed to be flexible and able to evolve fast to capture the opportunities and deliver these sustainably. It is able to review, rethink and reinvent, ensuring that changes will be rooted in reality.

Ocado is going from strength to strength and the first Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) clients will go live soon.

I can truly say, I have never worked with consultants like Arca Blanca… They are so passionate about doing the right thing for the client and immediately operated as part of the Ocado team, going above and beyond anything in the contract to ensure success.

-Tory Araujo, Transformation Lead, Ocado

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