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Meet the DCC Logistics team

Every smart meter installed across the UK relies on a Communication Hub to send live information back to the customer and the energy provider. DCC's Logistics team has two key responsibilities; making sure that the industry has enough Communication Hubs to meet its installation plans and dealing with the return of all the Communication Hubs from the industry.
Communications Hub

Leigh Hill, Senior Logistics Manager, describes his role:

"I lead a team to find the most efficient and effective way of completing the product lifecycle. We're the bridge between the suppliers (CSPs) and energy providers, ensuring they get the best."

Sound simple? Think again. The team has to be ready to adapt to any scenario. Just recently, COVID meant that suppliers could continue making Communication Hubs, but energy providers were unable to install them at the same rate due to lockdown. The Logistics team worked with energy providers to reallocate Communication Hubs to ensure the longevity of the supply chain. This avoided £33 million in cost for energy providers. Afifa Arshad, Strategic Planning Manager in the team, says:

"It was a quick turnaround. We had to really listen to what all stakeholders had to say and ensure that both the suppliers and the energy providers were aligned with an agreeable model reducing infeed into the Industry, whilst maintaining manufacturing lines."

2021 brought new challenges. Silicon chip shortages created by global supply chain issues meant some energy providers didn't have enough Communication Hubs to meet rollout targets. The team got to work finding out who had more than they needed and reallocating them to ensure that everyone was able to hit their rollout targets. Afifa says it's about constantly thinking through every option.

"We're driven and dynamic in our approach in finding and supporting the best solution for all stakeholders."

With many companies closing as a result of the turmoil in the energy market, their customers are being transferred to other energy providers, and there is a risk of waste that will ultimately have to be paid for. The Logistics team proactively harnessed their strong relationships and arranged for Communication Hub stock to be transferred to other energy providers. Leigh explains the benefits:

"Reusing them makes more sense than energy providers being billed for unused Communication Hub."

This kind of work is possible because the team is constantly challenging the way they do things. A considerable part of this is the monthly engagement with energy providers on their progress and expectations. It means the team can be responsive – using resources wisely to mutually benefit energy providers, according to Leigh:

"We're constantly monitoring industry trends with monthly energy provider engagement. This allows us to focus on pinch points within the industry that can be alleviated before creating issues within the supply chain."

That proactivity defines a lot of the Logistics team's work. And Afifa thinks their team's power comes from their unity, the shared drive to constantly improve things for customers. They have launched product amnesties to encourage recycling of Communication Hubs as part of the myriad ways they make customers lives easier. But there's even more work going on behind the scenes. Afifa's role is all about improving processes, and she's constantly searching for ways to improve efficiencies and effectiveness of the logistics team and pass on value to customers. She recently led a project to design and deliver a dashboard for colleagues that have produced over 90% saving in hours. She adds:

"There's always continuous improvement going on within our team. How can we improve our process? What can we do? What's the next step? And we're always thinking ahead as to how it would benefit our customers."

Both Afifa and Leigh see their role at DCC as partners with the customer. They build and maintain two-way relationships where they can provide as much help and value as possible. Open and honest conversations, shared aims and mutual respect mean that ultimately more meters get installed at less effort and cost. For Leigh, that's what it's all about:

"We work together. And that’s something that's really important for me, making sure that we're getting the best out of both ways of the relationship, not just one way."

Further reading

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  • Industry insight
Powering great relationships: Lesley Beavis
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Powering great relationships: Lesley Beavis

Lesley is part of DCC’s Relationship Service Management team who are the operational focal point between DCC and all the energy providers we work for.

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