Daria Lanz

Case Study

Transforming the end-to-end fulfilment service delivery for Tesco employees

Tesco: Infinity

When you order groceries for delivery, do you know how it gets from the farm to your door?
We reinvented the future of fulfilment operations for Tesco, improving operational inefficiencies along the way.

Through service design and product design, we created a standardised fulfilment operation built on modern technology and able to outlive the growth of the Pandemic. As a side effect, we elevated the design and product maturity within the Fulfilment and Transport product, development, and design teams, championing design-thinking and agile methodologies.

working at

with this awesome team

UX Lead: Daria Lanz
Senior Client Director: Shelley Malham
Client Director: Jolien Hordijk

and Tesco's leadership team
Head of UX & Design - Enterprise: Darren Hudson
UX Team Lead: Fulfilment, Transport & Store Colleague Apps - Enterprise Tools: Vy Alechnavicius
Head of Product - Fulfilment Operations: Jack Crane

this project identifies as

Service Design
Product Design
Enterprise Tools
Micro overview of some of our work in Miro
Mapping the service flow to help new joiners understand how fulfilment works
The brief.
After the success of the Vehicle Allocation project, I joined Tesco to improve operational efficiencies and streamline their entire end-to-end fulfilment system for home delivery and click and collect.

With over 5,000 home delivery stores across the country, 10+ click and collect models, and four different types of fulfilment centres, Tesco’s operations are complex to say the least. With organic scale and inertia, many of their locations had established “home-brew” workarounds to accommodate the varying scale and requirements across these locations. This created siloed fulfilment systems, inefficiencies and inconsistencies in service and operations.

Tesco wanted a single, streamlined fulfilment system that leveraged digital to reduce human-error, paper-based processes, and inefficiencies.
The outcome.
We revolutionised the end-to-end fulfilment system, creating a standardised and improved operation across stores, centres, and models alike. Through this we reduced paper-waste, minimised opportunity for human error, and improved decision-making by making visible the right data at the right time to the right people.

COVID-19 played a huge role in this piece of work, having a massive and immediate impact on home deliveries. Just after we’d begun working on this project, when the pandemic first hit, Tesco had to rapidly scale to 1.5 million delivery slots a week, with home delivery accounting for 79% of online orders. As we continued through multiple lockdowns, MVP click and collect offerings launched overnight at new locations across the country in order to help serve the increasing demand. All this meant the systems we were designing and improving were handling twice the forecasted order volume.

Over the course of the year, online sales more than doubled, setting unexpectedly high records for Tesco. And with the popularity of online grocery shopping set to outlive the pandemic, our work has enabled Tesco’s service to continue to scale through the demands of Covid and beyond.
What we did.
This was a long-term engagement. Working embedded within Tesco’s product and development teams, I was involved in the day to day leading the fulfilment UX/UI team across multiple initiatives. Working dual-track, our centralised UX/UI team served multiple Product teams in order to work at the speed we needed to.

My role was three-fold:

1 – I was in charge of the overall service design, ensuring features and products fit together within the end-to-end journey. I worked very closely with the Head of Product and Head of UX to ensure the vision and strategy were aligned, and I worked closely with Business Operations teams to ensure the service design was aligned to operational procedures.

2 – I was involved with design and research strategy, crafting the experience of multiple features and ensuring the product worked well for users. I led our research initiatives, planning and running, enlisting the help of the UX team. We ran countless ethnographic research trips to various locations, centres, click and collect models, constantly learning from those on the ground. We ran user testing for each sprint using a variety of methods including remote, in person, and on location. During our pilot for one of our stores, I planned a diary study to ensure we learned, analysed, and iterated based on live data and true working conditions.

3 – I elevated the UX team’s maturity in User Centred Design (UCD), research, and service design methodologies, teaching through ‘doing-work’ on the ground, and through coaching key members of the team. This was a rewarding part of the process for me, seeing the team evolve and grow and blossom. When I started the project there was one UI designer and myself. By the time my engagement finished, the UX/UI team was 11-strong.

Ethnographic Research

Picking for home delivery and click and collect starts as early as 3 am, so we had many early morning research visits to observe ‘start of day’ and the picking process. I’m not a morning person, but ethnographic research is my favourite type of research, and regardless of the early starts, I always enjoyed these visits. I loved seeing inside the beast; how the operation worked across so many different models. If you’d asked me what I’d like to specialise in years ago, I’d never have guessed fulfilment operations would be my thing. But after 1.5 years of research visits, I can genuinely say I love the complexity and the problem space fulfilment operations presents.
I was truly impressed by your vigour and agency when I first joined the team – you were the true linchpin in terms of bringing several teams together: UX, engineering, product and business. You built relationships through hard work, deep insights, strategic mindset and evidence instead of waffle. The feedback I kept receiving from a variety of people was driven by respect for you and the UX capability.

You’ve fought for more appropriate agile ways to deliver the product; the evolution of this has been very slow, but you were one of the key people who advocated for outcomes over output.

And you never backed down putting users first – this has been your strongest side because you didn’t just bring it up, you always have evidence to support claims and people had no other choice but to consider it. I think it shows how experienced you are in experience design and putting users first.

You’ve helped me tremendously as a more principal hands-on design leader. You’ve helped create the demand and respect for UCD, and doing so by showing instead of telling; Let’s just say we wouldn’t have gotten to where the team is without you trailblazing the way in fulfilment.”
Vy Alechnavicius, UX Team Lead: Fulfilment, Transport & Store Colleague Apps - Enterprise Tools - Tesco

User Testing

Covid massively disrupted our initial user testing schedule. When the pandemic first hit, and all the shops were running out of toilet paper (remember that?), we had to reduce our access to end users as they adjusted to the demands of Covid, and introduced social distancing measures in their stores, front and back. As soon as we were able to, we pivoted to remote testing to ensure we could continue iterating and improving our products. Eventually, when it was safe to, we were able to have limited visits on location to test features in situ.
Covid was disruptive for so many reasons, but the biggest challenge was continuing to work at speed while our working conditions changed with short notice. With lockdown rules changing weekly, our ability to test or run research on location was constantly in flux. We had to be adaptable both to the government’s rules, and also to accommodate the team’s comfort levels venturing into public or crowded places.

Covid also meant our system was running at much higher volumes than expected, so we were constantly pushing it to the limits. The volume increases were the ultimate stress test, and it was unforgiving.

Lastly, dual track agile is hard. This project was an enormous effort, the scale and deadlines we were working to were ambitious. At times our UX team’s ratio was out of balance with that in Product. We were stretched thin, constantly fighting time, and having to prioritise between vital initiatives. We had varying levels of UX and agile maturity throughout the team as well, which brought its own set of challenges into the mix.

I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a stressful project. I think it’s probably one of the most stressful, hardest projects I’ve worked on to date. But it was also one of the most rewarding, and one that has taught me a lot. I always remind myself, ‘the most challenging projects are the ones that make you a great consultant.’ This project has been a defining one for me.
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