Behind the Scenes: Talking Operations with Charles Jing

Charles Jing, head of operations at Cornerstone

Earlier this year we were named #34 in the top 100 Startups in the UK, an accolade we couldn’t have won without the dedication of the team at Cornerstone HQ. Come with us as we take a peek ‘Behind the Scenes’; this week Charles Jing takes us into the world of Operations.

How did you get involved with Cornerstone?

I actually started out as an investor in our initial CrowdCube campaign so I’ve been with Cornerstone in spirit for some time!

Joining the team here is my first job change after three years at TMF Group running operation transformation programmes for the business across the world, from Japan to Mexico and many countries in between. In a nutshell, my role at Cornerstone is to work closely with our Customer Care, Tech and Acquisition Team to make sure that we can efficiently and seamlessly serve our customers and keep them very happy!

What do you get up to on a daily basis?

My life can be divided into 2 components: Run and Change.

Run is all about keeping the business ticking steadily. This involves everything from stock management, stock re-ordering, fulfilment monitoring to delivery tracking. These are the foundation activities without which the business cannot operate.

Change is all about making improvements to the business. My key ethos is that any change must be Better for our customers, Simpler for our employees and Cheaper for the business. To that extent, I am making significant alterations across our supply chain to ensure they keep up with our growth, collaborating at the hips with our Tech team to deliver superior user experience and keeping a razor-sharp focus on our cost of sales so that we have more money invested back into the business to deliver even better products for our members.

The key is to a successful operation is to minimise time spent on Run without wheels coming off the kart whilst maximising time dedicated to Change.

What do you love about Ops at Cornerstone?

Before I joined the team, I remember placing my Cornerstone Christmas order and getting an email apologising that they had run out of gift cards. I gave one specific team member a lot of grief for that! Now I get to sit on the other side of the fence and make sure that doesn’t happen which is really satisfying.

What might our customers not know about Ops at Cornerstone?

There are 27 individual components in a full Cornerstone box and it takes 125 seconds to assemble them all.

What are your top three tips for successful Operations in a business like Cornerstone?

My first tip is about keeping a close eye on something that can so easily kill your business; your cash flow. Without a positive cash flow, your business will fall off a cliff one day.

Secondly, data is so important to decision making. You need to make sure you have reliable and accurate data that provides the insights you need to drive the business forwards.

Lastly, make sure you think outside of the box. No problem is too complex and if there is a will, there is a way. If you break the problem down and chip it away one piece at a time it will soon be dissolved into nothing.

While we’re talking ‘behind the scenes’, what would we find you doing on your ideal weekend when you’re not at HQ?

Cycling in the countryside or analysing the next stock to invest in, often with interesting outcomes.

Want to know more about what happens behind the doors of Cornerstone HQ? Tweet us your questions @Cornerstone_HQ and keep your eyes on this series for more coming soon.

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