Keeping the hub spinning and the spokes clean

Suze, our Marketing Manager, was bugging me for a caption for my  avatar, so I said “keeping the hub spinning and the spokes clean”.  Seemed quite simple, really… not too much blah blah blah. But scratch the surface of my new catch phrase and you discover a seam of truth. (Google it and you come straight back to me… well, after a couple of bike repair shops!).

The hub is right here in Central Office, Bristol. Not the top of the tree looking down, not a virtual summit, a lofty pedestal from which we survey the minions below. No, we are NOT Head Office… we are Central. We don’t rule; our goal is manage, plan, coordinate, liaise, communicate… and ultimately facilitate our fantastic field team to do what they do best out there in stores around the UK, on the frontline; the retail coal face.

Keeping the “spokes clean” is all about the clear, consistent and efficient way all information (be it in an email, a phone call, a brief, a questionnaire) is communicated smoothly around the business. It’s core to our service excellence first time… every time. “Keeping the hub spinning” is altogether more complicated. There are over 60 of us in Central Office; all intermeshed cogs within the hub… every cog is an individual; small cogs, big cogs but all important cogs. Through carefully mapped induction, dedicated training and structured management every cog knows the process, the which way to spin and why, if you like… but we are not a machine. The many talented individuals here all have a voice, own what they do and contribute to the team. What makes it even more exciting is we are greater than the sum of our parts. Ultimately, our Central Office team is the hub.

If I may squeeze one last drop out of the hub analogy, it is this: a drop of oil helps the smoothness of the spin. We like to have fun as well as work, to get everyone involved, to have the occasional launch day dress up and competition… we even have our own Houses, but more of that next time…

Simon Bailey

Central Operations Manager