Tech pioneers in the food industry share their experiences of Slack as the collaboration engine of their digital HQs, connecting their people, tools and partners.
Ocado Group and Just Eat Takeway.com are pioneers in an ongoing revolution in the way we select, order and take delivery of food, part of a huge cultural shift in customer choice and convenience. Their success is a master class in logistics, connecting and managing complex supply chains.
And while digital technology is the beating heart of their operations, both organisations know that what really matters is great communications, embracing all their people and partners.
At the Salesforce World Tour London event in June, Steve Bottomley, Ocado Group IT director, and Sachin Parmar, head of workplace technology at Just Eat Takeaway.com, shared their perspectives on the pivotal role of Slack in building their respective digital HQs.
During the session, Bottomley and Parmar highlighted how Slack has united their teams and their partners with shared information, common goals, projects and processes, in channels and in Slack Connect.
By empowering their people to do their best work where, when and how they prefer, Slack has simplified complex tasks and made work more pleasant and productive. It’s no surprise that Ocado Group and Just Eat Takeaway.com are on the up and up.
Here, they described how Slack has broken down communication silos, inside and beyond their organisations, and how it has enabled highly flexible asynchronous working, helping everyone to stay engaged and up to date and to deliver quality contributions that keep projects moving at pace.
“Slack is what drives culture in organisations. It brings communities together and integrates the way we work. I love the instant responses—you always know if a message has landed. If you want a fast fix on the status of a team or the progress of a project, Slack is the place to start.”
Steve Bottomley, IT Director, Ocado Group
Breaking down silos and redefining relationships with supply chains
Collaboration is a challenge for almost all organisations, not least those growing quickly, through acquisition or large-scale recruitment, across different teams and multiple time zones. Add in the need to maintain visibility and control and to ensure everyone is focused on the mission, and effective shared communication channels become business critical.
“Without Slack, there would be a real risk of a silo mentality taking hold,” Bottomley explained to delegates at World Tour London. “Slack has enabled us to build connections across the entire company, helping everyone to feel part of what we’re doing, that their contribution is welcomed, noticed and valued, regardless of where they are or what they do.”
“Without Slack, there would be a real risk of a silo mentality taking hold. Slack has enabled us to build connections across the entire company, helping everyone to feel part of what we’re doing, that their contribution is welcomed, noticed and valued, regardless of where they are or what they do.”
For Parmar, collaborating with external partners is at the heart of Just Eat Takeaway.com’s business model. “Historically, we would communicate externally using email and ticketing systems,” he said. “Using Slack Connect enables us to communicate and collaborate in real time with suppliers and partners whose contributions are integral to our success. That could be a technical partner supporting our production platform or an external organisation delivering orders to customers.”
“So far, we’ve sent over 7 million Slack Connect messages to almost 300 businesses. That tells you how important Slack is to all of us.”
Turning flexible working from a concept into a reality
The advantages of flexible working—improved productivity, job satisfaction, personal well-being and more—are beyond doubt. But making it happen requires commitment, perseverance and, well, Slack!
“Asynchronous working is vital in my view,” explained Bottomley. “Slack really accelerates the way we operate, giving everyone across teams, time zones and physical spaces accessible tools, like clips and virtual standups to collaborate asynchronously with each other.”
“Slack really accelerates the way we operate, giving everyone across teams, time zones and physical spaces accessible tools, like clips and virtual standups to collaborate asynchronously with each other.”
“Slack drives cultures in organisations. It brings communities together and integrates the way we work. I love the instant responses—you always know if a message has landed. If you want a fast fix on the status of a team or the progress of a project, Slack is the place to start.”
Let workflow automation set your people free
Parmar wrapped up the session by emphasising how critical workflow automation has been in Just Eat Takeaway.com’s growth. “We’re heavy users of Workflow Builder in Slack to automate workflows in channels,” he said. “For example, PD for production incidents automatically creates a channel with the service operations centre and adds in people on call. We have over 1,700 workflows and counting.”
“We have a new starter workflow that greets new recruits to Slack and supports them to complete their onboarding training, with guides and sources of information. We’ve also developed a mental health bot, which connects people needing support to first-aiders.”
Bottomley concluded: “When it comes to onboarding new recruits to teams or projects, I think the best and quickest way to get them up to speed is to tell them to read the Slack channels!”
By the time the session had ended, those lucky enough to have occupied seats in Theatre Three at World Tour London had been joined by attendees standing five or six deep at the back. Slack and the digital HQ had created an instant buzz and set the standard for a memorable day.
Want to see more highlights from World Tour London? Check out recorded sessions on Salesforce+ and learn more about how Slack can help you build your digital HQ.