Pets at Home is the UK’s largest pet specialist, providing pet owners with everything they need from food and accessories, to vet and grooming services. Founded in 1991 with just one store, the company has grown considerably in the last 25 years and now has over 350 stores and more than 300 veterinary practices. Its sub-brands include Vets4Pets, The Groom Room and Barkers, which offer a range of veterinary and grooming services. The success of the company is attributed to its responsible approach to retailing, which includes the ‘green paws’ pets before profits strategy.
THE MOVE TO AN OUTSOURCED SOLUTION
Pets at Home had been using an in-house team to clean its distribution centres. The size of these strategically located sites, posed a challenge to the in-house team who had limited time to spend on general cleaning. Aware of the challenges it faced, the Pets at Home management team was looking to improve its operational and hygiene standards and made the decision to outsource its cleaning operations in May 2016. Chosen for its experience in working within other large retailers’ distribution teams, Servest was keen to use this knowledge to act quickly and address critical issues, employing fifteen experienced hygiene professionals and a contract manager to ensure a successful mobilisation.
In taking proactive steps to ensure a smooth transition, the Servest team shadowed the in-house team for two weeks prior to contract start date. This enabled Servest to gain a deeper understanding of the client’s needs and laid the foundations for a collaborative working relationship that incorporated both company cultures.
THE CHALLENGES FACING SERVEST AND PETS AT HOME
The initial focus was to demonstrate improvements in the hygiene standards at the two centres in a short period of time. This was particularly challenging as there were areas across the sites that needed more attention than others. Over the first six months, the continual strengthening of the relationship between Servest and Pets at Home enabled an open discussion on how to tailor the provision and the specification of the cleaning services. The contracts manager played a critical role, taking total control of the cleaning operation and ensuring that any issues were dealt with quickly and effectively.
THE IMPACT OF DRAMATICALLY IMPROVED CLEANLINESS
Since Servest took on the cleaning operations, Pets at Home has seen a dramatic improvement in the cleanliness of its distribution centres. An effective working relationship has allowed Servest to implement various initiatives, such as taking ownership of specific reports that allow the team to keep a close watch over historically problematic areas. The improved hygiene levels has reduced the amount of faulty stock it has in its centres, having a positive impact on its bottom line.
Following the successful delivery of cleaning services, Pets at Home has outsourced further non-core activities to Servest, including high-level cleaning services, warehouse cleaning and hygiene preventative maintenance. Building upon the achievements to date, the future relationship between Pets at Home and Servest is set to flourish.
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