Incorporate won the account in 2010 and in 2015 they received a contract extension for 5 years. They cater to around 10,000 wearers in the UK and overseas including Cabin crew, flight deck, Virgin holiday retail stores and in representatives in overseas destinations.
Between 2012 and 2014, Incorporatewear worked closely with prestigious fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. Extensive wearer trials took place to make sure an optimum fit was obtained. Virgin Atlantic consulted staff throughout the project gaining valuable feedback and ensuring it would be well received by wearers. Roll out of the uniform to all 10,000 wearers around the world took 6 weeks, a very short turnaround for such an extensive number of wearers.
In 2015 Virgin Atlantic undertook a strategic review of their operations and ICW was identified as a key supplier to the company, due to the high profile of the brand portrayed through the cabin crew and pilot uniforms. Also chosen as a result of the critical requirement for the airline to be able to operate its fleet on time with staff having to be correctly dressed and available for work.
As part of the continuous improvement programme, ICW presented Virgin Atlantic with a proposal to enhance the service capability for availability of uniforms to staff during their transit through Heathrow airport, in addition saving during this process.
The previous situation saw VAA staff operating via a uniform store at Heathrow T3. This was both costly, as it required full time manning to accommodate variable flow of cabin crew staff throughout the day, as well as rental required for the ‘store space’. The store was also only open during fixed hours throughout the day, so crews transitioning through Heathrow outside these hours, were unable to make use of the service and had to rearrange the collection of their uniforms.
To solve this issue, ICW proposed the installation and operation of the UK’s first automated clothing collection system. The system is tailor made to meet the specifications of VAA and the packaging of staff uniforms. The store room was measured and a bank of electronic lockers were manufactured to maximise storage capacity within the room.
How it works
VAA staff simply place their garment orders via the bespoke ICW web ordering portal, and at point of order they can specify a date of collection for the garments at the facility. This allows staff to easily coordinate their uniform deliveries alongside their scheduled arrival and departure at the airport.
When the order is placed the wearer receives an order acknowledgement by email, and the garments are delivered and placed into a secure locker. The wearer will then receive a text message confirming that the garments are available for collection from the locker system, and they are given a unique pin number to operate the system.
Upon arrival at the airport the wearer can simply input their unique pin number into the control panel and the allocated locker will automatically open. This allows the member of staff to collect their garments and continue on their journey, with minimal time and effort from themselves.
Staff who have garments to return to ICW operate a reverse process by leaving their garments in a dedicated collection container which is collected when the next deliveries of uniform are made to the lockers.
The process is now a faster and more efficient method of secure distribution and VAA no longer have the cost of paying staff to man the store rooms, and the crew can collect and return goods alongside their transit through Heathrow.
“Incorporatewear impressed us with their attention to detail, and customer focussed approach, which we feel aligns perfectly with Virgin Atlantic’s core values.”
Loraine Manning, Indirect Services Category Manager