2021: Peter Kelly recently celebrated one year as CEO of workplace supplies company Winc. And what a year it’s been. COVID-19, and the stay-at-home orders used to control the pandemic in Australia, have certainly posed challenges the company, given its large concentration of CBD-based customers.
From the outset of the pandemic, the leadership team at Winc vowed to protect jobs and use the external crisis as a call to action to step-change performance in three strategic areas: creating a customer-centric culture, making Winc a great place to work and building a commercial success story.
To support the first of these goals, the organisation made major investments in new customer experience platforms, web development and continual improvement projects – all aimed at making the experience of dealing with Winc intuitive and seamless. Its DIFOT (delivery in full on time) customer service levels are now at an all-time high of 97% while its Net Promoter Score sits at around 70%.
Kelly refers to improved relationships with its suppliers, underpinned by shared performance scorecards and Winc’s commitment to brands, as critical to its success. This has allowed the reseller to secure stock availability and manage the COVID-related challenges and delays in international shipping to Australia with less impact on customers.
Customers are clearly voting with their feet. According to Kelly, the company has seen significant net gains in new business and contract retentions in 2021. He is also convinced that leading organisations will progressively return to offices in 2022 for the collaboration, communication, innovation and inspiration that comes from face-to-face human contact.
Despite – or perhaps because of – the many challenges that the pandemic has presented, Winc has heavily invested in maintaining and securing a strong, motivated and high-performing team. As an example, 2021 has seen more than 26,000 hours of technical and business training delivered. Employee engagement scores are up by more than 20% over the past 12 months.
One of the company’s most recent accomplishments has been the progress being made in terms of advancing indigenous reconciliation at Winc. In September this year, for instance, the reseller will launch a joint venture with Mandura, a majority indigenous-owned workplace supplies company. At least 20% of profits from Mandura will be invested back into mental health, employment and education activities for young indigenous Australians.
2020: In March, Peter Kelly, the former head of Wesfarmers’ B2B industrial and safety supplies unit Blackwoods, was named as the permanent CEO of Winc Australia and OfficeMax New Zealand. He took over at the Platinum Equity-owned resellers from Adelle Howse, who had been in the role since the departure of Darren Fullerton last October.
Although Kelly moved on from Blackwoods when its performance was being hampered by a tricky ERP implementation project, Wesfarmers said he had left the supplier “in a much better place than when he arrived”. Kelly also oversaw a successful turnaround in his previous role at fruit processing company SPC Ardmona, at that time a subsidiary of Coca-Cola.
His appointment comes after a period of restructuring at Winc Australia, described by Platinum Equity Principal Renee Koontz an “aggressive revamping” of its operations.