How WDS is supporting Costco throughout COVID-19
At WDS, the core focus of our business is on in-store product demonstrations, working with Costco since the early 1990s when they opened their very first UK warehouse. But with the onslaught of COVID-19 and subsequent UK lockdown, this work – our bread and butter – has been postponed for the foreseeable future.
Our priority has been to make sure we’re in the strongest possible position for when “normality” resumes. For us, the key was to use this time to focus on building and maintaining that fantastic Costco relationship, not pushing for sales: thinking long term rather than short term.
We knew that Costco’s UK distribution centre in Crick was busier than ever, seeing more demand for online orders than their existing team could service. So we offered our help.
With members of the public encouraged to shop online where possible, like many retailers Costco saw demand for its ecommerce site skyrocket. As a result, the brand initially turned to recruitment agencies to supply staff needed to pick and pack online orders, but was disappointed in the levels of reliability that the team experienced.
This, in turn, increased the demand on its own team, with the additional resource needed to hire and manage unreliable agency staff simply impossible when they were already under intense pressure.
It was clear that the manpower challenges at Crick needed to be addressed differently – and fast. With 30 years of experience in working with Costco, day in, day out, we knew that our WDS teams truly understood the client’s business: a trusted partner who could truly make a difference.
Our solution was to send in members of the WDS teams to helps our Costco colleagues process and dispatch orders, as well as a team leader to manage our team on-site. With a ready-made database of available team members, we knew that we could head in, undertaking both the work AND onsite management to deliver a zero-hassle solution for the client.
The WDS MD Dave Curtis was the first to head up to Crick to gain first-hand experience of what the work would entail, picking and packing orders to give him insight into what was involved, what was needed and to establish how we could deliver the best possible service to Costco at this challenging time.
Sending WDS brand ambassadors to Crick, we underpinned our approach with an ongoing recruitment drive to continue building the necessary resource, rather than relying on the traditional recruitment agency model of drawing only from an existing pool of candidates.
We have now been providing the Costco distribution centre with workers for over eight weeks, providing vital resource to help Costco deliver thousands of online orders per week. Since our first day at Crick, the number of team members we have provided has increased massively, while the number of shifts that WDS has filled has grown by over 1000%
There has also been a shift in the work that we are doing. Impressed with the initial picking and packing performance of WDS team members, we have now been asked to expand our service to work across a greater number of teams within the business. In addition to working with the ecommerce team, as per the initial agreement, we are now providing support to the ambient and chiller departments as well as personnel working in goods receiving.
“We were delighted to have the opportunity once again to assist our colleagues and partners in Costco. Key to this success has been to deliver a quality solution, at pace, pulling on years of recruitment and operational experience. A flexible approach based on Costco’s requirements has allowed us to ensure we provide the very best service possible assisting Costco to provide excellent service to its Members and Vendors in these unprecedented times”. – Dave Curtis, CEO, Fizz
During challenging times such as these, it is vital for businesses not just to focus on short-term sales, but to lay the groundwork for longer-term success. We know that for WDS to be successful in the years to come, we need to support Costco across the business to perform strongly, and we need to grow and maintain the fantastic relationship we have built up with the brand over the last 30 years. By helping them to resolve current challenges at the Crick distribution centre, we are not only helping them to thrive throughout the pandemic, but are learning more and more about how the business operates, and ensuring that some of our incredible brand ambassadors can continue to work while in-store product demos remain impossible.
To find out more about our work during COVID-19, visit our blog.