Since joining two-person home delivery expert ArrowXL in the summer of 2016, Peter Scraton has focused heavily on its people and colleague engagement in order to enhance service levels and drive growth. Warehousing Logistics International went to meet him to learn more…

Hi Peter. Thanks for your time. You joined ArrowXL in August 2016 as People Director before being asked to take on the Operations Director role at the end of last year. How are you finding it?

It is a very exciting period for ArrowXL and I’m very lucky to have been given the opportunity to work more closely with our CEO Charlie Shiels and take an even more active role in the day-to-day performance of our business.

I have extensive board-level operational experience working within blue-chip organisations, fulfilling both HR and logistics roles. For instance, I previously held the position of HR Director at BAA Heathrow, as well as Director of Global Logistics at Clarks Shoes – so this isn’t new ground for me, and I’m able to utilise everything I have learnt throughout my career to make positive changes at ArrowXL.

So how important are people across your operational network?

They are vital, and this has been reflected in our recent approach. Firstly, we have made some big changes to our leadership teams and thankfully we have been able to punch above our weight in terms of attracting the very best talent from across the industry. For instance, we recently welcomed Adam Jeffryes to the business as General Manager Enfield. Adam came from DX Group. Monika Wheeler, our Head of Trunking, arrived from Watson Fuels, and we are seeing more and more people looking to join us from some of the more well-established names. This trend illustrates the emphasis we place on people and how we are prioritising career development.

We have a number of enthusiastic and gifted professionals working across our network: Luke Barton is achieving great things as General Manager at our interim hub in Droitwich before we move back to our home in Worcester (more about that later!), Roddy Macdonald (Head of Operations North), Dave Buckingham (General Manager Wigan) and Neil McEvoy (Head of Central Operations) are delivering excellent results across their respective areas of accountability. There is real quality and leadership across our operations team and you must give them the opportunity to flourish and help to shape the business – these people are the future CEO’s and Operations Directors of our industry.

Is training high on your agenda?

Definitely. Only last year we opened The ArrowXL Development Academy at our headquarters in Wigan. This has allowed us to centralise and standardise our training strategy across the entire business. The £50,000 centre includes a purpose-built apartment for crews to practice deliveries and installations, which has proven to be incredibly valuable. More than 1200 sessions have been delivered at the Academy since May 2018. We recently achieved our JAUPT accreditation to deliver in-house CPC modules, allowing us to shape our Warehouse 2 Wheels programme and proactively tackle the nationwide driver shortage. We also plan to open a second Development Academy later this year at our new site in Worcester, which is currently being rebuilt following a huge fire in 2017.

So how is the Worcester rebuild going?

Extremely well. We are now entering the final straight in terms of the build and it will be completed on-time and to-budget ahead of the grand homecoming in September. This will be the culmination of lots of hard work and fulfilling the commitment we made to our employees that we would rebuild our business in Worcester. We are very excited by this news and we are certain it will be the best two-person facility in the UK. It is a lot bigger than its predecessor – measuring 258,000 square feet – and it will be home to 250 people daily, including 150 of our delivery heroes.

Whilst we were presented with alternative hub locations following the fire, it was an easy choice to remain in the city and rebuild. This decision was significantly influenced by our colleagues – we have a highly skilled, loyal and dedicated team in Worcester, assembled over 30 years – and they are the people that make ArrowXL the successful business it is today. There’s no point having the best two-person warehouse in the UK without the experts that make it all tick.