Adam Gerrard, CIO at Yodel (Image Source Yodel)
Adam Gerrard, CIO at Yodel

Enterprise Times spoke to Adam Gerrard, CIO at Yodel. Yodel is a parcel delivery courier. With more than 55 Yodel service centres they deliver millions of parcels every week to every postcode across the UK. Gerrard joined Yodel in June 2014 having previously been CTO at The Late Rooms Group and CIO at Avis Europe.

What are the responsibilities of your role?

“As part of the executive team I’m responsible for the running of the business with specific functional accountability for all things technology or business change related.”

What holds your interest in your current role?

“Applying modern digital thinking to a business in a physical, labour-intensive industry. “

Google Apps or MS Office?

“MS Office 365.”

What ERP solution do you use?

“Currently we have a bespoke legacy solution but we are working to replace this with a SOA-based solution that leverages multiple off-the-shelf solutions as appropriate.”

What are the key challenges faced currently by your industry?  

“Consumer expectation of low cost delivery, which drives down the price that retailers will pay. Whilst we are seeking to deliver exceptional customer service there are costs associated with each stage of the supply chain process – each parcel needs to be collected from the retailer, loaded on a trailer, driven to a national sortation facility, sorted by geography, loaded on to another trailer, driven to the appropriate local service centre, allocated to local delivery drivers and then finally delivered to the end customer. And those are just the obvious physical operational costs.”

What are your personal challenges for the next 12 months

“Delivery of our new ERP solution, completion of the infrastructure modernisation programme and focussing more efforts on our digital agenda.”

What are the key business challenges for the next 12 months

“We’re focussed on getting closer to our clients and developing those relationships so that we can continuously improve the service we provide to their customers and anticipate their future needs.”

Given the rising cyber security threat, what key things do you think your company and the industry should be doing?

“Take it seriously. Which we do.”

What is your tip for new CIO’s

“Reach out to your peers in other businesses. Learning from others’ mistakes is less painful than making them yourself.”

How did you get into IT in the first place?

“Through a government-sponsored scheme following graduation as an automotive engineer in the early 1990s.”

Do you have a tip that you can share about transformational projects?

“Be clear on the objectives and the end destination. Over communicate and ensure you take people with you.”

Do you consider yourself fit to be a CEO?

“I’ve had responsibility for other non-IT functions in the past, studied at two business schools and held the CIO role in several large organisations. This has given me great visibility of the intricacies of the whole business. Despite all of this, I believe I would need a significant stint in a non-IT role if that were the direction I wanted to take my career.”

What was the latest Business book you read, your favourite book and/or podcast?

“The last book I read was Grit by Angela Duckworth. My favourite books (and podcasts) are by Stephen Dubner & Steven Levitt, the authors of Freakonomics.

How do you prioritise operational work against project/transformational work?

“I try to ensure we align the two wherever possible, which is much easier than it sounds if you apply agile methods.”

Big Data, 3D Printing, AI, Robots – Which excites you most and why?

“We are a business with a heavy dependency on data. AI has the potential to revolutionise our insights.”

Does the emerging role of CDO (Chief Data Officer) change your stance as CIO?

“No. The IT leader’s role shares similarities with the finance leader’s role in that their senior teams are comprised of very skilled specialists. The functional leader, regardless of title, needs the breadth of capability and experience to lead across an increasingly diverse range of specialisms.”

What’s the one question you’d like to ask another CIO to answer and can you answer it then yourself?

Quickest route to attain continued consumer app engagement – gamification, simplified UI or other? The jury is “still out for me.”

Thank you Adam.




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