Chocks Away – Diversey Flies In Supplies For Waitrose

It was above and beyond on the first Saturday in June when Daniel Abadi Retail Controller at Diversey procured a private plane to make flying visits to five Waitrose sites on the Channel Islands and Isle of Wight and deliver replacement samples of Suma Bac D10 detergent sanitiser. Daniel was quoted £6000 to deliver the packs on Diversey’s behalf at short notice but Daniel knew that by taking them himself he could provide better service with greater added value.

Suma Bac D10 is used by the supermarkets for all-important surface cleaning and sanitising as part of their daily food safety and hygiene routine. By the end of May there was a distinct and urgent requirement for the product in Smart-Dose format. Daniel and the account management and marketing teams agreed that the cost quoted for delivering multiple exceptional orders by air and courier was too high.

“We decided on direct action and to do it ourselves,” says Daniel. “Driving to each site taking ferries and staying in hotels would take too long. “ I knew it was a long shot but if I could find some adventurous private pilots and hire a plane we could deliver to every site on the same day.”

Private pilots are not allowed to profit from their flights. But they love flying and there is nothing to stop someone else paying their costs. After making a few calls to some pilot friends, Daniel found Anthony Ryan and Dr. Stefan Winkvist were up for the challenge. He also secured the only plane available at short notice, a single-engine Piper Archer. Daniel worked out that the cost of hiring and fuelling it for the day would be around £950 which meant he could save over £5000 compared with the original quote.

The end of May and early June was terrible weather-wise, with high winds and thunderstorms. That put the plan in jeopardy because it makes flying small planes difficult and safety had to be the priority. Amazingly, it looked like conditions would improve to near perfect flying conditions by Saturday 2 June. Working with Anthony and Stefan on the Friday evening, Daniel worked out a schedule to visit all five sites the following day. He had already called each store to assess their need and to let them know they were on their way.

Leaving Coventry Airport at 10am the team arrived in Guernsey at 11.40 and had soon delivered the vital supplies by local taxi to the two Waitrose stores on the island.

“It was raining when we left Coventry but we were soon flying at 8000 feet over the English Channel on our way to Guernsey,” says Daniel. “The views were amazing and the weather was perfect.”

A quick hop over to Jersey meant another two sites had been visited by mid-afternoon. So far, so good and after a quick late lunch and submitting a new flight plan to air traffic control it was back in the air for the final delivery at the East Cowes Waitrose on the Isle of Wight. The store had just closed when the team arrived but Daniel managed to find the manager and make the delivery.

“Diversey went above and beyond to service Waitrose and it was very impressive,” says Ian Burdekin, Waitrose Director in Guernsey. “We are not used to that sort of service over here. After Daniel left I was telling the team how they had taken the trouble to get here. Hats off to them.”

By now the sun was beginning to set and the team had been on the go for several hours but there was still the flight back to base in Warwickshire. The planned destination had already closed for the night which meant the only option was to divert to Birmingham International. That required landing on the runway just before midnight, slotting in between the massive passenger and cargo jets that use the airport.

To add a bit of rock-n-roll to the adventure the team found themselves parked next to the jet the Rolling Stones are using on the UK leg of their current tour.

“Everyone we met at the various sites was very appreciative of the effort we made to get their SmartDose D10 to them,” says Daniel. “It was a lot of hard work and we had to keep going to make sure we made it round to all the sites. All in all, it was a great adventure and well worth the effort to give great service to the customer.”