Kris Biddiss, Head of Logistics at Andertons Music Co both located and organised the urgently needed move of the company to new and larger warehouse premises. He successfully managed the biggest ever internal project in Andertons history.
After receiving a high rise in online sales, Andertons Music had a major need for more storage space. Once every cubic inch of its existing warehouse had been maximised, it was time to seek new premises which would fit the needs of the rapidly growing company.
So Kris, are you a musician yourself? What made you join the Andertons Music team and how did you get to the position that you’re in now?
I guess a little bit by accident!
I am a musician, originally I was a musician by trade. I joined Andertons in a casual position about 10 years ago, literally just helping them out with shifting some gear around between their warehouse and the store. At the time, I was teaching and gigging and that was how I was earning a living.
I had absolutely no idea that I would end up working for Andertons for as long as I have done, and being in the situation that I’m in now – where I’m no longer playing and this is my ‘proper’ job; but here I am now in my 11th year with the company!
So what did you play?
I was a guitarist. I say ‘was’ – still am really, although I’d be a bit rusty!
Tell me a bit about the planning and preparation that the move to the new warehouse required?
So, this was our third warehouse move since I’ve been here, this one being by far the biggest. It was blaringly obvious for a reasonable amount of time that we’d outgrown our old boat, as it were. Once we’d identified our new premises and decided that it was suitable in terms of location, the planning was literally everything from layout, racking design, working structure, all the contracts that had to be sourced, IT, the lot! It was the biggest project that I’ve ever been involved with, and it was great to have been intrusted with it.
We moved in back in February, so this is our first peak in the new warehouse. We’ve just had another record breaking Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so all the new IT and systems have been thoroughly tested through that and are working really effectively so far.
As far as we know, the internal project was quite the seamless transition – so tell us what went wrong – is there anything that you’d do differently?
I think anyone who says they wouldn’t do a project of this size differently the second time around is a liar. The most important thing with any project is to learn from it from it and apply those lessons moving forward.
Did it go well? Yes, I think it was a big success. Would I do it differently? Yes, for sure. I probably couldn’t give you specifics, I just think that it was the first undertaking of a project this size, so I’d be foolish to say that I wouldn’t try and do it better the next time. That’s just my nature.
How did you and your team celebrate when the project was complete?
It had been a pretty long shift, we’d done a full days dispatching in the old warehouse on the Friday; and then we literally were moving day and night up until the Sunday, and we dispatched our first orders in the new place Sunday evening.
All the staff here put in a hell of a shift that weekend; a lot of people working through the night – double shifts and overtime to get it done.
We didn’t lose a single order either, which was a brilliant outcome amongst the chaos!
At the end of the Monday, Lee, Stuart and Beverley (the partners of the business) came down and we all cracked open some Champagne in the new warehouse to celebrate.
Other than the big move, are there moments in your career that you’re particularly proud of?
I feel proud seeing the new warehouse management system in action which went live in September this year.
That was something I designed and implemented, along with the software supplier. It was a yearlong project that ran side by side with the relocation and to see the system working effectively and the staff working as well as they are is great. Seeing it all come together – the new tech holding up and the guys working in a different, more effective way in a much better environment – I definitely take some pride from that.
I’m also quite proud of the journey that I’ve been on with Andertons overall; over the last 10 years they’ve really been on a growth curve, exponentially, which has allowed me to grow within the business. I’ve always liked a challenge both personally & professionally, and I’ve never not had a year with Andertons without a challenge in front of me. For sure, at times that can be stressful to, but more often it’s a catalyst that will get the best out of you and I prefer to think of it that way.
We think it’s important that the People of the Moment awards aren’t just there to recognise those that are in the forefront and the public eye within the industry, we like to give those that are behind the scenes recognition too. Do you think that this is important?
Definitely. There’s a lot of people that go unrecognised – the guys behind the scenes that some may take for granted. Our warehouse and back room guys put in so much hard work for the business.
The award enables credit to go to the people that wouldn’t usually be seen as directly responsible for the success of a business or a project, and in our case, the guys that were a part of the big move really deserve that recognition.