Interview: Mike Sturrock DX Group CIO aims at high value

"We are now spending as much on customer needs as on internal operations," Mike Sturrock says of the journey DX, a distribution specialist, has been on over the last two years. Sturrock and the entire leadership team at DX have been transforming the distribution company since 2011 and listed on the AIM exchange earlier in 2014. Sturrock was 24 hours away from sailing to the Arctic Circle when we sat down in his Buckinghamshire office to discuss transformations delivered and the opportunities they expect to wrap into the organisation.

DX continues to focus on the higher value end of the intensely competitive logistics industry and Sturrock's strategy remains focused on using technology to both drive up the value DX offers its customers, but also ensure DX remains able to extract a good margin.

DX also works with parcel aggregators such as ParcelMonkey.com to take a slice of the digital disruption travelling through this and every market.

"We call markets like ParcelMonkey.com C2X and the user tends to be an eBay trader and it is a nice bit of business, but it is low value. The aggregator market is going to grow and grow because customers are looking for innovation that helps them personally. What the aggregators offer is an ability to get things to us with a quality of service," Sturrock says of the relationship between the two organisations.

Modernisation

Since joining DX in 2011, as part of a new a leadership team, Sturrock has been pushing through a box load of modernisations to the information and technology strategies.

"Strategic efficiency has been my major area of focus," Sturrock says. "We still have a lot of internal stuff to do such as ERP and a new data centre, but this will enable us to deliver to customers a delivery ETA (estimated time of arrival) and a wider network of collection points. We're rolling out a host of new technology and process to drive customer service and efficiency including new handheld devices to drivers and new scanning technology in all of our service centres," he says of the role technology is playing in improving customer value.

At previous roles at airline easyJet and broadcaster Sky, Sturrock has pioneered optimisation strategies.  Sturrock sees optimisation as the technology enhancement that will enable DX to deliver ETAs to customers and drive up service quality.

"We have a hub and spoke business model, but now we can assess demands instantly and direct good across the spokes. Trunking from the hubs is a major cost, we run over 200 18-wheeler trucks a night, it's an incredibly competitive sector on cost and capability," he says of the opportunities optimisation offers to reduce costs and improve services.

"A lot of our competition are using automation for parcel sorting, but we are going for a cage network because it has benefits for high value and fragile items and gives flexibility to our customers.  Automated networks can be less flexible as everything has to be homogenous," he says. Just weeks after our meeting with Sturrock, rivals Royal Mail announced a fall in parcel revenue by one percent.

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