Dee Set Complete Retail Solutions

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Dee Set Complete Retail Solutions is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Highlighting best practice
Ian Andrews, chairman
Consolidation centre showing
outsize parcels handled by Dee Set
Each week huge numbers of deliveries are moved across
the country in Dee Set Logistics lorries between British
manufacturers, warehouses and major retailers, with Dee
Set creating practical and innovative solutions to the many
obstacles the retail industry faces. With a 99.98 per cent success
rate of next-day deliveries, company founder and executive
chairman Ian Andrews discusses how this huge undertaking is
facilitated through the dedication of the 3,500 skilled people
working behind the scenes and their constant adoption and
development of cutting-edge technology.
A timeline of success
Since 2001, Dee Set has worked with the major grocery retailers to increase sales
in a timely, cost-effective and efficient manner. Although originally a transport
company, we have grown to provide manufacturing, fulfilment and merchandising
services from our central base in Stoke-on-Trent.
We knew we needed to adapt to keep pace with the changing world and retail
requirements, and so are now on a journey to transform Dee Set into a retail tech
company, following heavy investment in our own development teams over the last
few years.
Dee Set began by consolidating a major retailer’s third-party deliveries into one
vehicle, which resulted in successfully removing around 16 deliveries each day, per
store, by ad hoc vans and lorries. By opening Dee Set’s warehouse in Stoke-on-
»Executive chairman:
»Established in 2001
»Based in Stoke-on-Trent
»Services: End-to-end
supply chain, warehousing,
fulfilment, delivery and in-
store merchandising
»No. of employees: Over 3,500
»Annual gross turnover: £130
»UK cosmetic manufacturer
Dee Set Complete
Retail Solutions
»Store development
»Field marketing
»Print services
»UK market entry
»Creative design
Trent, we were able to ensure that
all deliveries would be consolidated
in a central location to aid the
transportation of goods across the
United Kingdom in a timely and cost-
effective manner. Both of these steps
also had the benefit of dramatically
decreasing the retailer’s carbon
footprint and manpower at the back
door of each store.
I have always believed that the
challenges I faced as a store services
director, while working for a major
retailer, could only be solved by a
direct and focused approach from a
dedicated, practical and innovative
third party. I realised early on that
corporate structures sometimes stifled
development and could dilute creative
responses. Organisations need vehicles
to run alongside the corporate body to
be the vanguard and create the space
to experiment – it’s a requirement
of success. Dee Set now provides
In 2005, Dee Set evolved to include
a “pick, pack and distribute” service
where goods would be pre-packed
and sorted in the warehouse by store,
so that the employees in-store only
needed to bring the stock onto the
shop floor upon delivery. This was
an important step for Dee Set as it
required us to become EDI (Electronic
Data Interchange) compliant and
helped to create our merchandising
sector – from which we now have
over 2,500 employees carrying out
merchandising tasks each week in over
2,000 stores nationwide.
Soon after this evolution we expanded
into cosmetic fulfilment with all the
major cosmetic brands consolidated
into single store deliveries. The delivery
would then be met by a team of
merchandisers in-store to be moved
directly onto the shop floor. This was
another cornerstone in Dee Set’s
development and it has remained a
core part of our business ever since. It
has also allowed expansion into other
major retailers to offer a similar service.
Moving on from these early days, Dee
Set now operates product sourcing
and manufacturing sectors, has
opened a cosmetics factory in Stoke-
on-Trent and has its own travel and
haberdashery ranges.
Dee Set’s transport sector is now a
relatively small, yet still integral, part
of the company. We are a member
of the Fleet Transport Association
and are accredited under their
“Van Excellence” scheme. Our fleet
Dee Set fleet vehicle
with new logo
need vehicles
to run
alongside the
Highlighting best practice
comprises 20 vehicles and 26 trailers –
ten of which are double-deckers. Since
using these double-decker vehicles,
we have seen a marked reduction in
their carbon footprint. We are now
watching with great interest the new
generation of electric trucks and are
likely to take these on in the future, for
it marks the next transformational step
in the transport industry.
Creating new technology
Like most large companies today, Dee
Set has had to adapt alongside the
advancements in technology. These
advances have had a huge impact on
the way we work on a day-to-day basis.
With thousands of employees visiting
multiple stores across the country
each day, we had to create a program
that would allow briefs and data
to immediately pass between the
head office and each individual store
visit. With the use of tablets and
smartphones, our newly developed
photo recognition system scans up to
50,000 images of in-store fixtures and
free-standing display units each week.
This allows our clients to see the in-
store progress of their activity through
their own online portal and facilitates
Dee Set to target any problems that
would have usually been overlooked.
We have also developed a tool to aid
our recruitment process. Through a
video interview, we are now able to
scan eye movements and translate
an interviewee’s voice into text. We
then use this to analyse the applicant’s
education level, personality traits and
aptitude for the role. This allows Dee
Set to fairly assess the thousands
of applications received each week
and forms a rating against the role
requirements. This, together with our
own e-learning platform, allows us
to deliver the high-standard training
required that can be tracked for a
geographically attenuated workforce.
A huge benefit of developing
alongside the technological world
is the increased communication
between all our colleagues. Dee Set has
recently introduced Workplace, a new
communication tool for business by the
makers of Facebook, to the company,
allowing multi-way communication
on any business query or issue. This
has enabled other employees to help
their colleagues with answers or
suggestions to their requests in a timely
and efficient manner. Additionally,
this open culture has highlighted
problems that might have previously
taken weeks to reach the necessary
departments and has reduced the
labour required at our central office.
Our mission and vision
Going forwards we have our mission
and vision statement set. We will
help retailers and suppliers sell more
at a better, faster and more cost-
effective rate through innovation
and investment in our people. This
belief in our ideals and employees
is what guides us now and into the
future. We passionately believe that
to succeed in the transport sector we
need to develop an integrated supply
and service proposition that goes far
beyond the traditional notion of what
a logistics company provides. This is
our raison d’être.
We then use
this to analyse
the applicant’s
traits and
aptitude for
the role
Image recognition
linking into supply chain

This article was sponsored by Dee Set Complete Retail Solutions. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.