When Ocado started trading as a business in partnership with Waitrose back in January 2002, uniforms for the embryonic delivery team were designed and produced by Jermyn Street Design. Fifteen years on (and several suppliers later) the independent online grocery supermarket has returned to JSD, confident in our ability to meet its brief and to create a smart, modern and professional look for the hard-working Ocado Customer Service Team Members (CSTM)
“This is a really exciting contract for us to win back,” says JSD managing director, Susanne Malim, who remembers working on that very first range. “Ocado currently has thousands of delivery drivers and is growing exponentially, thanks to its market-leading approach to the online food sector. We have worked with the client since 2015 to develop this new entirely bespoke collection, which launches in September 2017. Ocado knew that the existing uniform – much of it from low cost stock ranges – did not reflect its image and had received negative customer feedback. We set out to give the company a bespoke uniform that lives up to its distinct brand.”
The nature of the delivery drivers’ job meant it was essential to create a uniform with multiple layering. Each CSTM has a rapid turnaround between deliveries: drivers are out in all weathers – heatwaves, rain and snow – going from hot to cold, cold to hot. The design elements and the fabrics all needed to be fit for purpose.
“We developed a bespoke collection of advanced performance fabrics in order to give Ocado its first ever range of high vis layered workwear,” explains our in-house designer, Christina Burke. “It was a first for JSD to incorporate such high visibility into fabrics: the reflective elements across every item of clothing mean the CSTMs can be seen in the dark. We also used differing tones that colour matched to the client’s brand palette – soft apple green and Ocado grey.”
JSD was briefed to design two workwear collections: a basic range – for new starter staff – and a bespoke uniform for the staff who graduate into full employment after six months. These fully trained CSTMs will now wear a distinctive professional workwear jacket and comfortable cargo trousers, baseball cap and beanie hat. Every item carries the distinctive Ocado ‘swirl’ brand logo in a reflective print.
Throughout the design phase the emphasis was on consulting with the Ocado marketing and operations teams and with the CSTMs, to clearly understand the fit-for-purpose aspects of the uniform as well as the brand requirements. For the fleece jacket, JSD designer Christina Burke has created a three-layer bonded fabric, with a unique tweed-like effect in a grey cross dye, that fulfils all the elements of softshell and is breathable and waterproof.
The cargo trousers are designed with multi-functional pockets to hold the equipment that the delivery drivers need. Most important, that includes the GPS unit that they must take into the property when leaving the vehicle to make a delivery. Another essential range item is the polo shirt in a wickable, high tech fabric. It gives the wearer the durability of polyester for the outer layer – when they are making deliveries and carrying boxes in all weathers – with breathable cotton against their skin for comfort.
Extensive health and safety, visibility and wash tests were conducted by JSD. That was followed by comprehensive wearer trials, with modifications made to uniform items where necessary, in response to the CSTMs’ feedback.
“The service we are offering is completely bespoke for Ocado,” confirms JSD Sales and Marketing Director, Ann Dowdeswell. “The way in which the company trains and employs its staff is unique and we have reflected that in the bespoke online system JSD has developed to meet those exacting recruitment needs.
“For example, we created an automated HR file feed so that new recruits – between 80 and 100 new starters each week – can take their own measurements and order their workwear online. This helps Ocado to reduce returns and control its budget around issuing of uniforms for both new starters and those who graduate to the full uniform after six months.”
The stock is held in multiple locations – at Ocado distribution hubs and in JSD warehouses across the UK – and orders are turned around in a 48 hour period, Monday to Friday. JSD has also created a bespoke forecasting model for the client: this allows Ocado to analyse the stock being held in all centres and to order uniform items ‘Just In Time’.
Jermyn Street Design founder and MD, Susanne Malim, has the last word: “When customers order online groceries for home delivery, the only representative they meet is the delivery driver,” she says. “So it is vital that this new uniform lives up to the Ocado brand and its reputation for excellence. We are confident that the CSTMs will feel proud wearing their new uniform, and that it will make a positive and lasting impression on Ocado customers. We are delighted to be back!”
About Jermyn Street Design
Susanne Malim founded Jermyn Street Design in June 1981. The multi-award winning company has continued to grow organically at around 30% for the last 3 years and is now an industry leader and remains independent and privately-owned.
Jermyn Street Design offers a full range of services, from design to manufacture, project management to logistics.
Jermyn Street Design has created clothes that work for Givenchy, Guerlain, Ascot Racecourse, World Duty Free, Lancôme International, Virgin Rail, The Dorchester Collection, Eurostar, Gatwick Airport, Nuffield Health, Coral Racing, David Lloyd Leisure, De Beers worldwide and uniforms in 17 countries for Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inns Europe and the Middle East.
(A Retail Times’ sponsored article)