Celebrating World Autism Awareness Day with ILG

Did you know that 10% of ILG’s workforce identify as being on the autistic spectrum?

We recently took the opportunity to embrace and celebrate the unique talents and skills of those with autism, by celebrating World Autism Awareness Day and wearing blue to show our support!

What is autism?

The National Autistic Society states: Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. Autism is a spectrum which means everybody with autism is different. One in 100 people are on the autism spectrum. World Autism Awareness Day aims to put a spotlight on the hurdles that people with autism face every day.

ILG strives to create an autism-friendly workplace and a company culture with people at the forefront of what we do, promoting trust, integrity, fairness and openness. ILG is committed to helping forge an inclusive, equal, and diverse workplace, challenging perceptions of disability.

Instead of shying away, we embrace inclusivity, by actively helping to provide employment to individuals with learning difficulties and/or autism. We work with Aldingbourne Trust’s WorkAid and TRACK. These schemes aim to match adults with learning disabilities and/or autism with suitable work placements, and include help for employers like ILG get the most from their valuable and productive employees.

Here are a few words from some of our valued staff who have joined us through Aldingbourne Trust WorkAid scheme.

Ryan

Ryan is a Caretaker at one of our sites, and a recycling expert.

“My advice would be to keep learning and keep in mind when you speak to others. Be yourself, ask questions and keep talking! I love talking to people and the energy at ILG.”

Adam

Adam Kennard

Adam is a Warehouse Assistant, and one of our top pickers!

“It can be challenging talking to people when they ask complex questions. It can also be challenging dealing with problems and changes. Having an understanding of that helps and ILG is a friendly working environment and there is always a positive approach. I like being part of a team and having a routine in my job role.”

Jamal

Jamal is a Cleaner, and his future goal is to become a nurse.

“ILG is very inclusive. I enjoy working here as I have a routine. I feel comfortable at ILG and like to see things neat and organised so I really like being a cleaner. It can be difficult to comprehend some of the verbal words or instructions that people give. If you show me a physical demonstration, it helps and is easier for me to understand. My advice would be that if something gets you stressed, do something that comforts you. Such as listening to music.”

Jane Middlemiss, Former Director of Organisational Development at ILG, gave us this insight to the many benefits to individuals and the business:

“Since 2015, ILG have been working with Sussex-based charity Aldingbourne Trust, to help adults on the autistic spectrum and/or learning disability to reach their potential through employment. Working with Aldingbourne Trust to recruit staff through the WorkAid programme just makes sound business sense.  It enables us to source reliable employees, it increases productivity, and it improves the engagement of the whole workforce, who are proud to work for an organisation that supports the employment of adults with a disability.”

Thomas Cliffe, from TRACK, explained how ILG embraced working together for a great outcome:

TRACK/Café Track is a Northamptonshire based social enterprise which is supporting autistic adults to access employment. From our first meetings, it was clear that ILG were committed to supporting individuals, and we were delighted to work in partnership with them. We worked together to identify roles which could be available, and then set about matching up these roles to individuals. For many, this is their first experience of work, and it has been incredibly positive, and is indeed ‘life changing’. We cannot thank the team at ILG enough for helping us to support these individuals. As we say, ‘Small environmental changes can make a life changing difference’. These individuals are all doing a great job, and we look forward to creating many more opportunities.”

Liz Miles, WorkAid Employment Consultant, provided some understanding of how difficult it can be to find supportive employers to come on board:

“There are always barriers to break down when we approach companies for the first time. I wrote 56 letters trying to get work for Kyle; ILG was one of just two companies that replied. There has to be a level of support and that’s where I come in. People on the autistic spectrum like routine and are best suited to jobs that are repetitive and analytical. Their attention to detail can be amazing. Like Adam, who has never made a picking error, they can be highly valuable employees. And we are always on the end of the phone to help when support is needed.”

We have a responsibility to treat others fairly, just as we’d expect to be treated fairly ourselves. We must continue to raise awareness of autism so we can all understand more and how to support others. It is a privilege to work alongside so many neurodiverse people from different backgrounds and we thank them for their commitment, talent and ambition which is helping us drive forward and shape our company!

Kickstarter Stories from ILG

ILG is proud to support the Kickstart Scheme, as it provides opportunities for young adults (aged 16-24) who are at risk of long-term unemployment, to gain quality work experience and build skills for future employment, for a 6-month period.

Since the scheme opened we have employed 28 young people and offered permanent or fixed-term contract roles to 13 individuals. Watch a short video about the success of the Kickstart Scheme at ILG:

“This scheme is a fantastic way of building a young person’s career and the government provides funding for employers to create jobs, which covers training and their 25-hour working week. How could we not invest!” Kelly Kennard, Learning & Development Manager at ILG

Our Kickstarters

Here’s what four of our Kickstarters have to say about working at ILG:

Bakeerthana

Joined as a Trainee HR Assistant in April 2021 and is now employed permanently as HR & Payroll Administrator.

What have you learned at ILG through the Kickstart Scheme?

“I have definitely learnt a lot though the Kickstart Scheme at ILG. Before working here I did not have any prior knowledge of HR or the duties that fall under it. But now I can say I am familiar with the tasks that I do and I am still learning more.”

How would you describe the training you have received?

“I have received great training. Before I am given any new task or duties, someone from the team always goes through them in detail with me, adapting their teaching style to fit with what works best with me. And they have made me feel comfortable to ask any questions. Even if they may be busy, they always make time to help me out whenever needed.”

Joshua

Joined as a Trainee Warehouse Assistant in April 2021 and is now employed permanently as a Warehouse Assistant.

What does your job involve?

“My job involves using a handheld PDA to pick and scan products from shelves and place them into a trolley, which items I scan are determined by the PDA. Once I have finished picking the products, I then hand them over to my co-workers who pack and ship the orders.”

What have you leaned at ILG through the Kickstart Scheme?

“During my time at ILG I have gained an understanding of many aspects of warehouse fulfilment, such as how to accurately pick orders and how to operate the equipment used. I have also learned about health and safety standards within ILG, such as how to properly lift and handle heavy loads.”

How would you describe the environment and culture?

“The work environment at ILG is very friendly and welcoming. Everyone that I worked with was extremely helpful and approachable and there is a lot of diversity among the people that work here.”

Megan

Joined as a Trainee Warehouse Assistant in May 2021 and is now employed permanently as a Warehouse Assistant.

How would you describe the training you have received?

“As someone who is a visual and practical learner, I’ve really enjoyed my training at ILG. When I am being trained on something new, I’m not only shown or told how to do it step-by-step, but I’m also then given the opportunity to try on my own. Once I get the hang of it, I then have the responsibility of doing it without supervision, free to ask questions whenever I get stuck. This way of learning really works for me.”

What would you advice someone considering applying through the Kickstart Scheme?

“Don’t be afraid to go for a role outside of your comfort zone or skillset. Applying through the Kickstart Scheme will equip you with everything you need and you will definitely be in good hands at ILG. If you are considering applying, just go for it. I was also a bit apprehensive at first especially because I haven’t worked in a role like this before, but I am so glad that I applied and extremely grateful for the opportunity.”

Where do you hope your ILG journey will take you next?

“Now that I am officially a Warehouse Assistant, my focus right now is on continuing to develop and expand my skills and knowledge within this role. However, I am definitely open to exploring other roles within the company sometime in the future and I am also hoping to receive Mental Health First Aider training at some point.”

Izsyk

Joined as a Trainee Warehouse Assistant in April 2021 and is now employed permanently as a Warehouse Assistant.

How would you describe the environment and culture?

“I quite enjoy the environment and atmosphere, ILG is a warm and welcoming place to work, with loads of enthusiastic and positive employees who strive to help you work your way up in the warehouse industry.”

What would you advise someone considering applying through the Kickstart Scheme?

“Stay focused, work hard, don’t be shy. Everyone is friendly here, you will be welcomed with open arms.”

Read about when Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP, met ILG Kickstarters here >

Minister for Employment Meets ILG Kickstarters

Last week, we were delighted to welcome Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP to our East Grinstead warehouse. Her VIP visit included a tour of our facilities and a chance to meet some of the many ILG staff who have benefited from the government’s Kickstart Scheme.

A BBC TV news crew was on site to question the minister about the challenges facing employers and film her meeting our Kickstarters and trying her hand at some picking and packing!

View the video below.

DWP Visit to ILG

ILG started working with the Kickstart Scheme in April 2021 to provide six-month work placements for unemployed local young people aged 16 to 24. The scheme provides opportunities for those who had been adversely affected by the Covid-19 crisis and were at risk of long-term unemployment.

Since the scheme began at ILG, we have hired 28 young adults in a variety of roles from Warehouse Assistants to HR Assistants. We designed a dedicated training programme and provide support with writing their CVs, searching for jobs, interview skills and generally supporting to develop their careers and gain quality work experience. We’re delighted to say that we have offered permanent or fixed-term contract roles to 13 Kickstarters, as well as having four more vacancies to fill across our operations and HR departments!

While some of those hired through the scheme did not continue employment with ILG, they went on to find work in other sectors and/or went on to study an apprenticeship in another field. The Kickstart Scheme has been hugely successful for both ILG and our Kickstarters. Kelly Kennard, Learning & Development Manager at ILG provides some insight into joining ILG under the Kickstart Scheme:

“As an employer, in order to hire Kickstarters, we agreed to support these individuals’ employment by providing training to help them develop transferable skills. The scheme allows them to demonstrate to future employers that they have a track record of being a reliable employee with an up-to-date reference. We set up a training plan for each person covering CV and interview workshops, standards of conduct at work, absence management as well as on-the-job training.”

This scheme is a fantastic way of building a young person’s career and the government provides funding for employers to create jobs, which covers training and their 25-hour working week. How could we not invest!”

We have helped individuals to develop the skills and experience to find work after completing the scheme. This included work search support, transferable skills development, mentoring and careers advice. We had some great feedback from individuals saying that working at ILG and the training provided helped them with the interview process and career progression.

I have personally found this very rewarding especially working closely with the Kickstarters and seeing them grow and learn, even if they sought employment outside of ILG. This scheme is great for an individual to gain valuable work experience.”

Watch our video, to see what some of our Kickstarters have to say, in our Kickstarter Stories from ILG >

ILG Takes a Big Step into the Midlands

At the beginning of this year we saw an opportunity to take our first step beyond the South East and significantly increase our capacity to grow with our customers. We’re happy to announce that ILG Brackmills, our brand new warehouse in Northampton, is now open.

The new facility offers a big step forward in our ability to scale for new and existing customers, with features that provide a sizeable increase in speed and capacity. At 100,000 sq.ft, it is by far the biggest warehouse in our portfolio. That not only means more space for stock but also a much bigger loading area, with nine loading doors, each with dock levellers, and room to accommodate a stand trailer overnight. It means we can load faster and for longer.

Stock handling is streamlined by a best in class ‘put to light’ system and ‘print and apply’ labelling, and on-site reworking and kitting facilities mean we can package up and personalise to order, without breaking the work stream. At peak times we will be able to process 35,000 orders per day. The Midlands location also enables us to extend our carrier times from 6pm to 10pm.

Beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury was our first customer into ILG Brackmills when it opened in May and we are looking forward to welcoming other new business into the facility in September and October.

“I’m very happy to have moved from Sterling Park to Brackmills with ILG as it has improved our carrier options and cut-off times which has allowed us to deliver to our customers faster and provide them with enhanced delivery choices. With the new site at Brackmills being a newer build and a blank canvas, we have also been able to work with ILG to improve our flows to increase capacity and productivity and take advantage of the latest pick and pack technology.”

Jeremy Dixon-Wright, Global Supply Chain Director, Charlotte Tilbury

If you would like to enquire about ILG Brackmills, please call 0844 264 8000.

ILG’s Got Talent

Many congratulations to Lauren Pratt, Warehouse Assistant at our East Grinstead site and Inna Goncharov, Contract Co-ordinator also working at East Grinstead, who tied for first place in our recent showcase of ILG talent.

A huge thank to all the employees who sent in videos and photographs of their talent for us to compile into 4 episodes of ILG entertainment featuring a whole range of talents including baking, lego-model making, poetry, keepie-uppie as well as lots of singing, dancing and playing musical instruments.

Lauren’s singing put her into the joint top spot with Inna who was recongnised as a superb make-up artist.

We will miss the ILG’s Got Talent episodes but it has been a lot of fun, has lifted our spirits and helped us to feel connected to our colleagues who we now can’t see as often as we would like.

Next up ILG’s Got to Dance!

ILG Space Gatwick is Opening Soon

Space Gatwick, situated in Gatwick, West Sussex, UK is ILG’s newest and most advanced fulfilment centre. Due to open in September 2020, the warehouse is currently being fitted out to become our most state-of-the-art and energy-efficient facility.

Like all other ILG warehouses, Space Gatwick offers our customers a pristine, high-specification fulfilment environment, equipped exclusively for the storing, picking, personalisation, packing, despatch and returns of high-value goods on behalf of high-growth e-commerce brands, and staffed by expert, highly trained personnel.

Space Gatwick’s layout and working practices are designed to balance maximum operational efficiency with minimum environmental impact and the need to keep our staff safe and socially distanced within the workspace at all times. Staff will be kept 2m apart, work in one-way traffic flows and wear PPE for extra safety. These measures, together with extensive health and safety training and thorough cleaning regimes, will keep infection risk within Space Gatwick as low as possible. This gives ILG customers the reassurance that, despite the challenges of Covid-19, we will continue to fulfil our SLAs.

Many of our customers put caring for the environment high on their list of corporate responsibilities. As a sustainable 3PL facility, Space Gatwick gives our customers the confidence that their fulfilment supply chain is perfectly aligned with their own environmental aims. Every inch of the facility’s 48,000 square feet is designed to shrink carbon footprint, with roof-mounted solar panels that generate electricity to power the warehouse, plenty of skylights to flood the building with natural light and low-consumption LED lighting.

Space Gatwick will operate electric fork-lifts, power-saving conveyors and high-performance heating to reduce CO2 emissions. Any excess solar electricity produced on site will plug back into the UK’s national grid. Our fulfilment teams will use fully recyclable packaging and operate 100% digital picking. In addition, ILG staff will be well rewarded for thinking and acting green. We are installing electric car charging points and secure bike stores to encourage all our warehouse personnel to travel to and from work in the most environment-friendly way.

Space Gatwick, ILG’s flagship sustainable fulfilment facility, is launching soon. For more information, watch this space.

Don’t Stand so Close to Me – ILG Social Distancing

We are doing everything we can in our warehouses to keep safe and smiling at this difficult time. Our warehouse colleagues are doing a tremendous job of continuing to get orders dispatched whilst ensuring they are social distancing and maintaining rigorous cleaning schedules.

A huge thank you to our customers for all the messages of support and thanks – we are sharing those through an ‘all employee’ text messaging service and they mean a lot, please keep them coming.

In the meantime, our H&S manager and our warehouse staff had a lot of fun making this video to reinforce the 2 metre rule. We hope you enjoy watching it and it gives you comfort that your orders are being dispatched safely.

ILG Annual Awards – The Winners are Announced

A huge congratulations to our employees who were recognised at our Annual Awards Dinner for their exemplary work over the last year both for ILG and for our customers.

Nominated by their colleagues and by our customers the winners are:

Award for Innovations and Improvement

Rebecca Smith, Delivery Customer Service Manager

Customer Focus Award

Alexandra Vitman, Warehouse Section Manager

Customer Choice Award

Amanda Chalkley, Fulfilment Account Manager

Paula Morley, Fulfilment Account Manager

Manager of the Year

Steve Ettridge, Warehouse Area Manager

Team of the Year

Finance Department

Employees of the Year

Tyrone Gaspard Farr, Warehouse Team Leader

Lee Vandendyck, Warehouse Section Manager

Leticia Kis, Warehouse Section Manager

Forward Planning – How to Best Prepare Your Company for Peak Periods

By Sam Taylor, Head of Fulfilment Client Services, ILG

Last year’s peak November sales period was our busiest ever at ILG – by some considerable margin – and feedback gathered from our client relationship programme shows that it was a successful period for our customers too.

Black Friday saw the most orders dispatched in ILG History, with 22,680 shipped across our 10 sites, up from 9,434 in 2018 – a 140% increase. But the whole Black Friday week saw huge increases in volumes. The Saturday, for example, saw a 156% year on year rise in orders dispatched, from 6,889 to 17,610.

The fact that we were able to manage this rise in volume was essentially down to two things: good communication between us and our clients so we had timely projections of expected volume surges; and the increased capacity afforded by our expansion into two new sites in the first half of 2019.

2018 Orders Dispatched2019 Orders DispatchedDifferencePercentage Increase
Black Friday94342268013246140%
Saturday68891761010721156%
Sunday51937927273453%
Cyber Monday93701945510085108%
Tuesday89342196113027146%
Wednesday8885180649179103%
Total4870510769758992121%
Orders dispatched across ILG Warehouses, Black Friday week 2018 vs 2019

Accurate forecasting

Experience has taught us the importance of asking our customers to provide us with their sales projections as early as possible, especially if they have any activity coming up that may increase orders, such as an offer or a new product launch. This enables us to marshal our resources in-house and make sure we have the staff and resources where we need them in order to meet the increases in demand.

As a result, we can avoid unnecessary delays in fulfilling orders, which means more satisfied shoppers and less cost to our customers. One of the many advantages of outsourcing to a 3PL such as ILG is that it takes away the stress of managing operational staff during peak periods, allowing you to focus on generating sales. Providing forecasts to your 3PL as early as possible allows your provider to resource up in good time and be ahead of the curve.

New sites in Egham and Northampton

In the first quarter of 2019, we opened up in a facility in Egham, near Heathrow Airport, working in a site previously occupied by our parent company Yusen Logistics. This was followed by the opening of our first shared facility, Grange Park 1 in Northampton. We plan further expansion throughout 2020 to ensure we are best placed to support the growth of both new and existing clients.

The figures above show that the seven-day period around Black Friday, from the preceding Wednesday right into the following week, is now without doubt the peak shopping period of the year, having usurped the traditional December pre-Christmas rush and even the Boxing Day sales. They also show that we, in partnership with our customers, have built the capacity and knowhow to handle the extra volume without unnecessary delays or hiccups.

The same principle applies at any time of year: giving your 3PL early warning of any expected spikes in order volumes. We find that the more notice the better, as it gives us the time to staff up and shuffle our resources so we can take the extra demand in our stride. That’s why we place such value on our relationship with customers. November has shown that by working closely and maintaining an open dialogue, together we can handle anything.

Never Mind the Baftas – Look at the ILG Superstars

At ILG we believe strongly in investing in our people so Saturday night saw the ILG Annual Awards Dinner. Hosted by our Managing Director Mike Stephenson and organised by some very talented ILG team players, it was an evening to recognise and celebrate the employees who have gone the extra mile to deliver exemplary service to the business and customers alike.

Mike was very proud to present awards to:

The 2018 ILG Awards for Excellence

The Award for Innovation & Improvement
Clare Ead – Recruitment Manager

The Award for Customer Focus
Dipali Patel – Team Leader – Gatwick

Team of the Year
East Grinstead Unit 25 Warehouse Team

Manager of the Year
Laszlo Bartok – Warehouse Manager, Egham
Sam Taylor – Head of Fulfilment Customer Services

Employee of the Year
Kerri Comber – Contract Co-ordinator, East Grinstead Unit 25

What a great way to start what looks to be a great 2019!