Thursday the 20th of April 2017 was a black day for ArrowXL. Around 8.30 in the morning the ArrowXL Worcester warehouse caught fire and, despite dozens of fire engines and over 70 fire fighters from across Herefordshire and Worcestershire racing to the site at Blackpole East Trading Estate, the facility couldn’t be saved and was razed to the ground.
With a fleet of two man delivery crews already out on the road that day undertaking deliveries for customers, ArrowXL management leapt into action and immediately vowed that not only would business go on but that they would return to their home of over 100 years in Worcester – ArrowXL can trace their history back through a myriad of companies such as HDN and Kays and Worcester is their home.
A Saturday briefing saw an emergency plan swing into action with a warehouse in Chepstow being their first temporary home. The plan was to:
1) Get up and running anywhere;
2) Return to the Midlands;
3) Rebuild and return home to a new ArrowXL Worcester warehouse and that new warehouse is now open.
ArrowXL’s staff are amazing. The company provided free daily transport for staff to and from Worcester on the company’s time to Chepstow but despite the daily grind up and down the motorway, hardly any staff quit the firm. Early days saw CEO Charlie Shiels literally scouring local shops buying their entire stocks of dozens of clipboards so that orders could be picked and packed using paper pick lists
Soon ArrowXL achieved their 2nd goal with a return to the Midlands opening an interim delivery hub in Droitwich Spa and still some shifts retained all their staff and they are still there on their return to the new ArrowXL Worcester warehouse today.
Customers were also fantastic in supporting the company and accepting the inevitable disruption to their businesses and they too are now shipping stock into the new facility which was described by employees as state-of-the-art, spacious and clean.
No expense has been spared, working in a warehouse or out delivering all day can be hot sweaty work so there are multiple shower cubicles throughout the facility and outside, two massive water tanks holds half a million litres of water for the new sprinkler system.
The ArrowXL Worcester warehouse will also be home to a fleet of new vehicles – the company has invested in around 100 and the first is already on site and will soon be pounding the roads with two man crews both delivering and also in many cases offering a white glove service where they install everything from TVs to dishwashers and erect flat pack furniture in the customer’s home. Naturally this is a demanding requirement and so the new warehouse has space to train crews in everything from plumbing in a washing machine to erecting a wardrobe. Sometimes they even chuck a crew into a meeting room, already equipped with a conference table and little space left and tell them to get on and build anything from a baby’s cot to a cupboard to give them experience of working in the confined spaces they’ll find in customers’ homes.
The new 7.5 ton vehicles have had no expense spared with an eye to protecting the products they’ll be delivering to space for tool box storage for installations and even a lower glass window on the passenger side so that drivers can keep an eye out for bicyclists who pull up alongside.
The investment has been huge, but what’s more impressive is how the ArrowXL family have all pulled together to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes and their new warehouse is rapidly filling as their customer fill it with stock. about 50% larger than their original facility at 200m long, 100m wide and 50m tall it was built not to replace a burnt warehouse and return to their home, but to cement ArrowXL as one of the premier employers in Worcester with room to grow for decades into the future.
CEO Charlie Shiels is naturally pleased with the new site, but what’s much more telling is the pride of the workforce who have stuck with the company and are immensely proud of their new home. The pride they have in ArrowXL and the sense of family they bring to the business is why so many retailers entrust them to carry out two man deliveries on their behalf. It’s not just a place to go to work, ArrowXL is a community who are proud of what they do and that’s reflected in the service they offer.
“In total, we fulfil 55,000 deliveries across the UK each week and around 25% of those will be fulfilled from our new base in Worcester. It is a strategically important location for us, as we serve consumers across the Midlands. We have always been wholeheartedly committed to remaining in Worcester since the day after the fire. The company has been a major employer across the city for 30 years, and we have colleagues who have worked for us since day one. When you consider the loyalty of our local team and the key skills they possess, it really was a no brainer.”
– Charlie Shiels, CEO, ArrowXL