In recent years, Pets at Home has experienced significant growth, perhaps taking advantage of the rise of number of pets which increased dramatically during the COVID lockdown. Their e-commerce business increased a staggering 92% in the past two years, too.
“We’re absolutely a growth business and that brings its own unique challenges to the OPEX agenda” adds Nigel Fletcher, Group Business Improvement Director, Pets at Home. It is in this so-called ‘boom’ period that the business wanted to foster long-term relationships and loyalty with their customers.
So what does this mean for OPEX?
There is the age-old belief that sales growth is the priority and there will always be opportunities to optimise later on. Often a lot of organisations, when experiencing a growth phase, including building new propositions and driving customer value, might think that sales growth the main priority, but is that true?
Nigel argues that there is a misconception that OPEX is a distraction away from Sales and Revenue growth. More often than not, there are win-win productivity improvements within any business which mutually benefits the revenue and operational structures too.
This is a fundamental part of Pets at Home’s OPEX strategy, breaking that misconception that a reduction in service and therefore a reduction in revenue, and reduction in customer loyalty is connected to a focus on productivity.
“We had very open conversations [about this trade off] from the start, finding these win-win improvements is a fundamental aspect of our growth strategy”.
Integrating the OPEX agenda with strong culture
It’s also important to focus on the language used when rolling out an improvement programme too. As we all know, the language used in an organisation sets the tone for any piece of work. “We talk a lot about setting out people free to serve. The more we can optimize and the better we can make our processes and routine across the business, then that releases colleague son the shop floor to better serve customers more effectively”.
Pets at home emphasise a lot about Save to Spent too, focusing on optimisation and improving their existing processes. This then gives oxygen to their growth and investment plan moving forward, freeing up more time and energy which previously was lost.
To learn more about how OPEX can be used as a tool to fuel strategic growth, be sure to register for our upcoming conference, IMPACT: Operational and Business Excellence Summit.