Recently we spent a day with a head of growth at a food delivery startup, and this week we’re sticking with operations and delivery, speaking to the COO at Stuart, a delivery scale-up.
Dave Saenz is the man in question. Here’s what he does with his days…
(Before we get down to it, remember if you’re looking for a new role yourself to check out the Econsultancy jobs board.)
Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do?
Dave Saenz: I’m Chief Operations Officer at Stuart, a delivery scale-up, which works with retailers to help them offer their customers on-demand and same day delivery options. It’s a great role in that it touches all aspects of the organisation. Loosely speaking my role splits into two parts: Day-to-day and Strategic.
Day-to-day, I have P&L responsibility for the three markets, (UK, France, Spain), which means ensuring that we’re hitting our growth targets on the commercial side, while optimising our efficiency and costs on the operational side. In that capacity, I work with our country managers on execution of sales, marketing, account management and operational functions.
On the strategic side, along with our CEO, I prepare our annual budget and forecast. I work with the CTO and CPO on the product roadmap, and decide expansion strategy, resource allocation, key partnerships and so on.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
DS: One of the nice parts about touching each aspect of the business is keeping a broad range of skills sharp.
Management skills are a must, ensuring that we’re getting the most out of our team and resources every day. Strategic thinking is also essential as we need to keep the entire engine moving forward, while ensuring that we seize on new opportunities that come along. I spend a lot of time with clients which requires people and communication skills.
Lastly, all of our decision making is data driven so facility with data, modelling and analytics is key.
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
DS: This can really vary! Most days I’m in touch with our teams in all three markets, as well as key clients, our CEO, product and tech. I try to limit the number of meetings and carve out time to actually push projects forward. Whether that is signing a big deal, diving into operational data or aligning the product roadmap with commercial and operational goals.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
DS: I love the diversity in the role. I can really dig in and develop expertise in all aspects of the business, which is what drew me to Stuart in the first place. As for what sucks….let’s go with legal!
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
DS: Our core goals are around growth, profitability, scalability and team happiness. Key metrics include total deliveries, delivery efficiency indicators like occupation rate and rides/hour, employee feedback reports, and so on.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
DS: The basics – I’m not a believer in fancy tools for fanciness’s sake. With Excel and Powerpoint I can do all of the analysis and comms I need.
E: How did you get into delivery/fulfillment, and where might you go from here?
DS: I had never worked in this space before Stuart but was instantly attracted to the complexity and challenges in the business as well as the revolutionary nature of Stuart’s operational model and tech. As for where next, onwards and upwards, taking Stuart to new heights!
E: Which ecommerce websites do you admire?
DS: Nike has a gorgeous website. I love what Argos does. Sainsbury’s has been really innovative with its Chop Chop app.