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Ocado Case Study On International Management


Task: You are a management consultant in one of the UK-based big consultancy firms. The director asks you to write a 4000 word report, addressing the following task.
Write a formal report that critically analyses and evaluates the management of people, finance, operations and marketing of the organisation in the case study below.
The Case Study: Ocado
Ocado Group Plc (Ocado) is an online grocery retailer. The company offers online grocery and general merchandise products such as specialty pet products, beauty products, and dining ware and kitchen items to customers in the UK through Fetch, Fabled and Sizzle websites respectively. It also provides online retail solutions such as store management, online distribution, and online delivery applications for retailers and corporate customers in the UK and internationally. It offers grocery products under the Ocado brand. The company’s Ocado website enables customers to select and purchase groceries and Ocado delivers the purchased products at shoppers’ doorstep within the prescribed time. Ocado is headquartered in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, the UK. The company reported revenues of GBP 1,598.8 million for the fiscal year ended December 2018, an increase of 9.9 percent over the previous year. The operating loss of the company was GBP 31.9 million in 2018, compared to an operating profit of GBP 5.4 million in 2017. The net loss of the company was GBP 44.9 million in 2018, compared to a net loss of GBP 8.3 million in 2017.
The Report: Your report should be written for the senior management team. The insights that your report give should allow senior management to make informed choices that will lead to strategic improvements in the organisation. It is expected that your report will focus on management practices relating to people, operations, finance and marketing and provide insights into areas of good practice and areas for improvement. You may also suggest links between suggested improvements and strategic priorities for the organisation. When considering areas for improvement, the implications of under performance in these areas should be explained. Areas for improvement should be supported by suggestions for specific and appropriate interventions, changes and introductions of alternative practices as appropriate. Your suggestions should be supported by evidence for theory and examples from other case studies.


Executive Summary
The following Ocado case study sheds light on “Critical analysis and evaluation of management of people, finance, operations and marketing in context of UK based online grocery retailer Ocado Group Plc.” Thus, the major focus of the study would be on analyzing management practices of functional areas of the organization. In accordance with this, the Ocado case study aims at reporting the evaluated and interpreted findings from the viewpoint of a management consultant. Furthermore, following the focuses upon practice with regard to operations as well as people, finance and marketing, the insightfulness into those areas would facilitate the senior management of Ocado in identifying areas to be improved while maintaining good management practices. Thus, along with the in depth analysis and critical evaluation of management practices, the report has also emphasized on in-detailed suggestion for senior managers based on the dependency of management theories and examples of Ocado’s competitors in UK retail market like; Tesco, Morrisons’ and Waitrose & Partners. These suggestions will further expected to help the managers in making strategic improvements for specific strategic interventions, which will further help in maintaining sustainability in long run competitive market of UK retail sector.

The term management practices refer to management of specific business operations within organizational environment that serves in the market as well as operating with significant diversification. Therefore, in accordance with this, it can be seen that the current Ocado case study emphasis on management practices that are highly related to management of people, finance, marketing and operations within the organizational context of UK based “world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer Ocado Group Plc”. Furthermore, the study also reports management consultants’ insightfulness by analyzing and evaluating each and every area of management practices. It is through suggesting improvements by majorly focusing upon strategic priorities as well as based the considering underperformed areas of management and overall organization.

Management of people
This has been found out in the context of Ocado case study that people could be the most important factor for any kind of organization despite their size as well as activities. In this context, for Ocado Group Plc, the people is the most important factor for them as the management of this company thinks that without the concerning people they wouldn’t be able to get any kind of success throughout the industry under different circumstances (Brewster and Cerdin, 2018). Hence in order to understand the way through which Ocado Group Plc could manage its people, this is important for every market researchers as well as business analysts to possess some knowledge regarding the concept of people management.

The Ocado case study examines the words of Junior et al. (2018) that the traditional approach of the concept of HR, the people management depicts the process through which different trainings, direction as well as motivation could be provided to the employees based on which they could become more suitable as well as effective for their post. This process of people management therefore could help any kind of organization to increase their growth without any kind of constraints. But in this situation, for Ocado Group Plc the employees doesn’t only consisted of the people within this organization, but also customers are consisted of their people as well. Thus it can be clearly identify that for this organization overall stakeholders could be considered as the concerned people in this situation. This is also important to identify some factors about the people within this organization through which the recent growth of this organization could be understood. These different factors in this situation of Ocado case study could be, such as,

  • Ocado Group Plc always tried to present the best experience regarding online shopping towards the customers; hence customers could be served by the company at its best
  • According to Nookhong (2019), the management report the advance as well as pioneering technology could be created by the people of this organization through which industry growth could be identified
  • This company is as dedicated towards their customers as they allow the customers to purchase from online with a more convenient manner
  • It has been found out that for the financial year of 2018-2019, Ocado has hired more than 300 engineers to become the technology leader within the industry (, 2020)

However, analyzing the above sections of Ocado case study, it is observed that there is different kind of way through which the market analysts as well as researchers could understand how Ocado treat their people as it will help them to critically analyze the growth position of the company under different circumstances.

Ocado case study

Figure 1: Ways of People Management
(Source:, 2020)

These ways could be, such as,

Value for people: Ocado always value their people to whom they actually served in different ways. Bender et al. (2018), stated that the management in this situation therefore could provide most convenient manner through which the customers could easily avail their required products without any kind of constraints from online store. On the other side they also understand their employees as their employees are the ones who actually serve the customers in an efficient way.

Talent recruitment: the management of this organization illustrated in this evaluation of Ocado case study always thinks that employees are the most important people throughout the organization who actually provide different services behalf of this organization. Thus for continuous growth of the organization on the financial year of 2017 and 2018 Ocado has recruit more people in different sectors like engineering, customer services as well as operations team (, 2020). They would be able to hire more people for next decade in order to create more opportunities under different circumstances.

Diversity: according to management this company always provides equal opportunities for each and every employee within the organization. Regardless the color, age, race as well as cast Ocado treats their employees with a proper manner and train them in efficient way.

Engagement: According to Stewart and Brown (2019), this is important for any organization to engage the employees with different kind of activities as in this way employees could become more productive as well as customer oriented. In this context of Ocado case study, it is clear that the company also tried to different platforms through which their employees could become more engage with numerous activities and they become more perfect towards their customers regarding providing the services.

Developing: Ocado train as well as develop their employees in term of career and personality. The management in this situation therefore provides different opportunities, such as, performance appraisals, 1:2:1 as well as 360 degree feedback for the employees (, 2020). This overall process initiated in the Ocado case study helps the employees to develop their career as well as personality in different manner. The employees could become more adoptable with any kind of situation.

Rewarding and Retaining: this is important for every employee to be recognized by their higher authorities of the company. Thus Ocado brilliantly recognize their employees based on their performance as well as qualities and provide different rewards like, monetary benefits as well as promotion to higher level. The higher authority of this organization also retains their old employees by providing different packages as well as opportunities.

The Ocado case study critically examine the another core area of management practices that reflects on organization’s financial structure or financial management and its practices. More specifically, based on views of Musah et al. (2018), it can be said that financial management and its practices within organization mainly evolves through the effective management monetary resources and its significant allocation as per the necessity. Management practices relating to finance significantly includes financial reporting as well as analysis along with working capital management, assets management and management of capital structure and capital budgeting. Thus, in accordance with this, it can be stated that likewise, in case of Ocado Group Plc, the basic financial management practice would entail proper planning as well as organizing, coordinating, controlling and examining or monitoring financial resources in order to accomplish the set target and overall organizational goals and objectives (Paul and Mitra, 2018). Moreover, the Ocado case study analysis signifies that in case of each of the business organization, it is noticed that effectiveness of financial management and its practices within the organization is examined and monitored trough the consideration of critical evaluation of annual financial reports and statements.

Ocado case study

Figure 2: Income or Profit and Loss Statement of Ocado Group Plc
(Source:, 2020)

Therefore, with the evaluation of financial statements and reports of Ocado, the effectiveness of financial management practices in terms of efficient strategic and financial decision making process would be possible. However, according to Karada? (2018), it would not only analyze financial management practices of the organization but also would measure financial performance based on profitability analysis. Thus, observing the Ocado case study in this regard, while evaluating the annual financial statement of profit and loss, it has been found that company’s sales revenue in the financial year 2018 has increased to worth GBP 1,598.8 Million than previous year of 2017 with sales revenue margin worth GBP 1454.5 Million (, 2020). Therefore, significant and outperformed sales revenue margin in FY 2018 by 9.9% over previous financial year indicates that Ocado has been able to generate increased number of sales in 2018. Moreover, it can also be said in the context of this Ocado case study that lowering price of offered products specifically, pet, beauty as well as home and kitchen appliances might be one of the major reasons due to which Ocado’s sales revenue margin has increased for making up the lower margins.

However, on the other hand, another significant approach discussed herein Ocado case study is that in certain cases when management of Ocado takes strategic decision of raising prices that are available throughout UK based on the medium of different websites. As per Shapiro and Hanouna (2019), then the raising price of products would create increased perceived value within customer minds by resulting in increased sales revenue margin and pushing towards higher profitability. Therefore, in accordance with this, it is to be said that strategic decisions of financial managers in terms of determining selling price of the retail products offered by Ocado by considering the situation analysis of profitability measurement has enhanced company’s sales revenue margin. However, if look closely, then it can be found that the profit and loss statement of Ocado in fiscal year 2018 is reflecting operating loss of GBP 31.9 Million, in comparison to 2017’s Operating Profit of GBP 5.4 Million GBP (, 2020). Thus, in reference with Ocado’s operating loss in FY 2018, it is to be said that due to increased level of Operating Costs, company has faced Operating Loss. More specifically, Ocado’s distribution costs under operating expenses valued GBP 485.4 Million is considerably higher than other income of GBP 71.9 Million generated from Gross Profit. However, not only that, but also the administrative costs of operating expenses is further high with value of GBP 167 Million than previous fiscal year 2017 with having GBP 117.7 Million as administrating expenses.

Thus, as a whole due to increased operating expenses, Ocado’s income in FY 2018 has decreased by resulting in significant operating loss compared to 2018’s Operating Profit of GBP 5.4 Million. Furthermore, on the other side, more in-depth insight carried on the research on Ocado case study towards company’s annual profit and loss financial statements shows that in FY 2018, Ocado has faced Net Loss of GBP 44.9 Million in comparison to Net Loss of GBP 8.3 Million in FY 2017. Thus, it can be said that Ocado’s operating loss has led the company towards having Net Loss in 2018. Moreover, fixed financial costs of GBP 14.7 Million is significantly high than financial income of GBP 2.2 Million in FY 2018 (, 2020). As a result, it has resulted in negative value of Net Loss for the company. However, for the previous year 2017, it is noticed that, despite having Operating profit, Ocado has faced Net Loss. This is also because of significantly higher financial costs valued GBP 13.9 Million for the year 2017, compared to its financial income of GBP 0.2 Million. Therefore, according to Khan and Jain (2018), based on the above evaluation of financial statement of Ocado based on the consideration of profitability, it can be said in a nutshell that despite having higher sales revenue margin in FY 2018, company’s financial performance and position is not sustainable and profitable as having increased costs and expenses than income or revenue results in loss rather than profitability by indicating towards inefficient financial management practices in terms of ineffective costs management by Ocado’s financial managers.

Management practices related to operations specifically emphasis on design of the products and process as well as designing supply network along with effectively planning and controlling the overall supply chain process. However, Heizer et al. (2017), opined that not only those functions, the operations management practices also further highly evolves through organization’s capacity planning as well as ERP or “Enterprise Resource Planning”. Therefore, as a whole, it can be said in this segment of Ocado case study that management practices within the area of operations specifically focuses upon quality management. Thus, in accordance with this, it can be found that, Ocado’s management practices of operations surround company’s sole commitment towards online retailing platform. Because, Ocado’s scope of operational area signifies that with shifting behavior of customers regarding groceries shopping in online platform, the incumbent retailers are further tends to adapt businesses in accordance with the fundamental transformation (Reid and Sanders, 2019). This is the major reason for which operations management of Ocado solely executes operational activities on online channel while being committed to facilitating with most effective available experience to customers shopping.

On the other hand, it can be seen herein Ocado case study that Ocado Group Plc’s objective is to be considered as cost leader in global retail market along with creating virtuous cycle among efficiency, growth and investment. Thus, according to Hitt et al. (2016), by considering the objective of becoming cost leader through maintaining cost effectiveness throughout the operations area, Ocado has incorporated a significant differential approach based on the objective of erasing major costs from traditional or age old grocery supply chain process. Therefore, Ocado has focused upon centralization of selecting operations from wide and larger warehouse that are generally approximate over 20 times size of supermarkets that tends to collects activities for providing every scale of functions through implementation of automation and technology (, 2020). Furthermore, analyzing the overall readings obtained in the Ocado case study, it is also noticed that Ocado’s ultimate retail mission is to shift a product to consumer from the suppliers. Significantly, in this area, other traditional models of retailing only provide or deliver half of the mentioned mission by shifting the product as far as to the shopping shelf.

However, whereas, Ocado case study, due to being solely online based retailer, the company commits towards fulfilling the overall retail mission along with the inclusion of picking, packing and delivering the product for their customers. Thus, it smoothen the overall operational and supply network process of Ocado. However, on the other hand, if look closely, then it can be found that, this extra work of “picking, packing and delivering” activities performed by the online retailer requires additional extra charges or operational costs for Ocado. Therefore, as a result it would become preliminary challenge towards the operations management practices of Ocado, compared to traditional grocery retailers. On the contrary, Ivanov et al. (2017), evaluated that due to having online base, the operations and its functional areas such as; capacity planning, resource planning and designing along with inventory management becomes easier as it ties up the overall supply chain network and operations process into a single thread. Thus, as a result operating model of Ocado benefits customers by facilitating them with fresh products within short span of time as it directly comes from the inventory sources of warehouse.

However, this operating benefit also have certain drawback, which might be considered as major threats or challenges for Ocado in their management practices of operations. More specifically, as the groceries or products directly comes from the warehouse inventory sources instead of coming from the shopping self or having any physical evidence; therefore there is always a massive chance of stock obsolescence along with risk in predictability of availability of stock within specific required time as per customer needs. Thus, the Ocado case study analyzes the readings of Anand and Gray (2017) that as a whole it might result in management practices of operations area through lag in stock fulfilling by indicating towards ineffective inventory management and interrupted supply chain process with having issues in lean management of Ocado. And, moreover, the quality management of operations would get hampered. Thus, in a nutshell, it can be stated that, despite having developed and utilized systems And IT software across the operating model of Ocado’s business as well as throughout overall management practices of operations, there are certain risk in the practices of operations management of Ocado in terms of lag in inventory management as well as interrupted supply chain network and process. 

This is important for the marketing researchers as well as business analysts to understand the overall marketing concept of the Ocado Group Plc in order to critically analyze their position within the industry. According to Resnick et al. (2016), this could be easily stated that without any kind of proper marketing strategies as well as plan any kind of organization could ever become successful. Thus this organization, named, Ocado Group illustrated in the proposed Ocado case study could have different marketing strategies through which the administrator of this organization could actually operate in this situation. This would be appropriate for the researchers if they could critically analyze the marketing process as well as conditions of Ocado within the industry in a significant way.

Ocado Group Plc therefore is an online supermarket which is based on the UK. This is considered as the most popular as well as largest online store throughout the world. Thus its natural the marketing strategy could be unique as well as special for this company. However in order to analyze the market with a concise strategy this is essential to know about the 4P’s of this company. This whole concept explored herein Ocado case study therefore could give an idea about the marketing condition of this company and how they could attract most of the customers during their peak time under different situations (Deepak and Jeyakumar, 2019).

Ocado case study

Figure 3: 4P’s for Ocado Group Plc
(Source: Kotler et al. 2016)

Hence the 4P’s in this situation could be, such as,

In order to develop great marketing strategy, it can be noted in the section of Ocado case study that this is important for the management of Ocado, to establish their product line with more concern which could actually attract most of the customers. This has been found out that Ocado always tries to present the products which are needed by the customers in different time. They have been developed different methods as well as designs through which products could be excellent as well as with great features. According to Haider et al. (2019) it can be considered as secret for this company to ace the market without any kind of constraints and remain competitive. There could be different products those are actually provided by Ocado while considering variety, packaging, quality, brand name as well as features. These products in this situation could be, like,

  • Beauty products
  • Kitchen amenities
  • Dining ware
  • Pet products.

The proposed Ocado case study signifies that the pricing strategy is an important factor under the concept of marketing strategy system for Ocado Group plc, as people are nowadays more concerned about the costs that is involved in consuming, disposing as well as acquiring these products rather than inquiry about the price (Chernev, 2018). Thus the strategy regarding price is essential for Ocado in order to consume more customers under different circumstances. There could be two kind of pricing strategy based on which this company explored herein Ocado case study could operate, hence these two kinds of pricing strategies could be,

  • According to Wierenga and Van der Lans (2017), Ocado therefore could go with the market penetration where they could set the price of their products at low level compared to their competitors within the market. By following this kind of way, the management of this organization therefore would be able to increase their market share. They actually follow the rule of discounted pricing in this context
  • On the other side, the management of Ocado also opts for market skimming where they could set their product price at high level at initial period and after some time period they could just lower their products price (Naudé and Sutton-Brady, 2019). In this situation of Ocado case study, it is important for them to communicate with the customers as well as stakeholders to inform them the whole reason with proper justification.

As Ocado is considered as the online retail store the management of this company therefore could consider the online channel as their main distribution partner. In this modern time the management could easily reach out their target customers through online (Kotler, 2017). On the other side, accordance with this situation, it can be found out that Ocado doesn’t have any chain stores as this company delivers all their products direct from the warehouse. This process discussed in this section of Ocado case study therefore helps them to be different from their customers.

This is quite easy job for any kind of online stores to promote their products in modern time as most of the people are tech-savvy and these online stores therefore could easily reach out their targeted customers. However in accordance with this context it can be found out that Ocado can easily promote their products through their official online channel, radio, different social media channel. On the other side, as per Kotler et al. (2018), they also could physically distribute some leaflet where they could actually advertise their products as well as discounted price if any.

Thus the above discussion developed within this Ocado case study therefore could easily support the overall marketing strategy of Ocado Group Plc through which customers could understand the actual marketing procedure of this organization. On the other side through this kind of strategy, the management of this organization not only attracts their potential customers but also they could easily increase their market share without any kind of constraints (Kotler et al. 2016).

Based on the above discussion provided within the Ocado case study in regard with management practices of Ocado’s functional area of people management as well as finance, marketing and operations, it can be seen that there are certain functional areas that requires to be improved. Thus, suggestions are to be drawn below that would allow senior management of Ocado for making strategic choices while maintaining significant connection between suggested development and strategic priorities of the company. Hence, suggestion to senior management of Ocado is done below by considering each of the mentioned areas of management practices.

Suggestion: Management of People
Based on the critical analysis of Ocado’s people management within the Ocado case study, it has been fund that there is no major strategic improvement that requires being implemented within management practices of management of people. However, as it is seen that management of people is all about company’s HR development and management (Noe et al. 2017). Therefore; in order to maximize the objective of providing top-notch customers services in retail market, Ocado is continuously engaging large number of diversified people within their working environment. Thus, as a whole it increases the intensity of stakeholders’ engagement. Hence, in accordance with this, it can be said that to maintain interdependencies among people engagement and their diversification within organizational culture of Ocado, senior management of HR department is suggested to make strategic choice of improvements in providing most effective customer services by initiating strategic intervention of human relations enhancement. Thus, according to Bendix and Fisher (2017), it can be done by considering “Elton Mayo’s Human Relations Theory” as this theory emphasis on relationships by defining that productivity enhances with people’s engagement and the main attribute of teamwork within the organization.

Suggestion: Finance
Moreover, based on the analysis of the Ocado case study of financial management practices of Ocado it can be suggested that as company’s financial performance and position in FY 2018 was not profitable due to incurred operating and net loss, therefore, this online grocery retailer of UK needs to take strategic interventions for financial improvement by considering minimizing the operating costs through initiating “Strategic Cost Management” (Bekaert and Hodrick, 2017). Moreover, senior management of Ocado is suggested to incorporate strategic cost management based on strategic planning as well as effective budgeting and cost control system.

Suggestion: Operations
Ocado’s management practices of operations illustrated in Ocado case study further shows certain major risk and uncertainties of threats in terms of lag in product shipping and delivering to customers as well as risk in predictability of availability of stock and stock obsolescence. Thus, operations management practices require strategic improvement in terms of inventory management, supply chain network and process along with quality management. Therefore, based on opinion of Chiguvi (2016), it can be stated herein the context of Ocado case study that the senior management of Ocado is suggested to incorporate strategic interventions through the implementation of “Total Quality Management” process like; major competitors in UK market such as; Tesco and Waitrose & Partners. That would help the senior managers in detecting and reducing errors in managing stocks along with enhancing the streamlining of supply chain process.

Suggestion: Marketing
In this context of Ocado case study, in accordance with the marketing concept of Ocado Group Plc, it can be easily identified that according to business analysts as well as different marketing researchers there are two key marketing strategies based on which the whole marketing department actually could operates. These two strategies in this situation could be, such as,

  • Market penetration
  • Market skimming

Thus based on the viewpoints of the market researchers it would be best if they go for the strategy of market penetration in which they could easily increase their market shares within the industry by lower up the selling price of the products (Du and Chen, 2017). This could help them to attract more customers and be more competitive compared to their key competitors within same industry.

Ocado case study

Figure 4: Marketing Strategies of Ocado Group Plc
(Source: Du and Chen, 2017)

On the other side this has been found out that there are few more clients of Ocado out of which Morrisons has been considered as the main competitor of this company. But from the year of 2014, Ocado tied up with Morrisons and Morrisons therefore could easily use the Ocado’s online network in order to deliver goods to their customers. This process therefore could be considered as the great marketing strategy on behalf of the Ocado (, 2020). This process also allows them to gain some big corporate clients, such as, Morrisons, Kroger, Group Casino as well as Bon Preu. If this company examined in the Ocado case study could continue with their present marketing strategy it wouldn’t create any kind of constraints in near future within market.

Thus, in concluding the above context of Ocado case study it can be said that management practices within the core functional areas of Ocado Retail Group has had several significant lasting impacts on each day online retailing business operations. Moreover, it can be stated that management practices in organizational context would enhance the understanding the environment within which the organizations are carrying out their business activities. And, along with that, it not only emphasis on internal management picturesque but also brings insightfulness on business climates. Hence, as a result it will help senior managers in making choices of strategic interventions by considering the areas of improvement through the insight of analysis of each of the management practice areas. Thus, in context, it can be said that the area of management has evolved through area of people management as well as finance, marketing and operations, as each of these are integral part of organization’s management process. Management practices discussed in the Ocado case study within the scope of people management finance as well as operations and marketing advocate improvements through incorporation of strategic interventions. That has further builds foundation for modern management and business approaches for the world’s one of largest online retailer Ocado Group Plc.

>Reference List
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