Our colleagues on life at Ocado Engineering and why they love working here

Sid Shaikh, Product Development Manager

Product development team, Automation Engineering

Since completing an MSc in Industrial Robotics and Manufacturing at Cranfield, I have been working in bespoke automation, robotics and product development for close to 25 years. I have delivered automation and products into multiple sectors including food, steel, aerospace, tobacco, FMCG, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

I joined Ocado in January 2011 as a Project Manager and got the opportunity to deliver a range of varied projects and improvements into a 24/7 production  environment. Since then, I have built a team of 35 engineers and project managers who are developing new products that are transforming Ocado from a company that buys off-the-shelf equipment into developer of state of the art technology.

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Madhavi Kotetcha, Project Engineer

Product development team, Automation Engineering

I joined Ocado in September 2016. Coming from an automotive engineering background, Ocado was a step into a different technology sector. What attracted me to Ocado was the fast paced development outlook, with a great deal of enthusiasm shown by those that work for Ocado, something which sometimes is lacking in big established corporations.

What I have very quickly experienced is that each day in Ocado is a learning curve. For the time that I have been here, the best part is the freedom I am given to use my skills and put my ideas into practice. The constant innovation means I am constantly learning and creating things which is very important for development as an engineer.

Ocado Engineering also recognises the needs for engineering qualifications and will be helping me to reach my goals of getting formal qualifications to help my career. Management within Ocado is supportive and there is a good pass down of knowledge and processes. The team ethic is great, with a great atmosphere within the office.

Ocado is very much a growing company. Although well-established within the grocery field which most people know of, it is also certainly a great engineering company. There is a focus on harnessing the best technologies to create the Ocado Smart Platform.

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Murray Cousins, Senior Engineering Project Manager

Enhancements and Minor Projects team, Automation Engineering

I’m one of the increasingly few people in this rapidly changing world that completed a craft engineering apprenticeship at 16 years old directly from school, with educational training to accompany the hands-on skills. Since then, I’ve worked in different industries and held engineering roles in servicing, installation, commissioning, sales, key accounts, business and project management. I have also travelled the world for my employers gaining experience and knowledge in the process.

Before joining Ocado, I was looking for a role that would use those skills, be challenging and allow me to build my experience in an ambitious environment. In February 2014, I found that role when I joined Ocado as an Engineering Project Manager.

Within my three year career at Ocado, I’ve had the opportunity to develop and grow, so much that my progression has led to my third role. I am now responsible for the Automation Engineering project teams and projects on three Ocado CFCs.

Every project is important and contributes to our ability to deliver what our customers desire from Ocado. I’ve been involved with projects ranging in value from thousands of pounds up to €13 million, each with varied scope and complexity. Some of the projects we encounter will blow your mind, we are really pushing the boundaries of possibilities in engineering.

I’m looking forward to the next step in the Ocado journey and the challenges ahead as we move forward to change the way people shop.

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Lee Sample, Engineering Project Manager

Enhancements and Minor Projects team, Automation Engineering

I joined Ocado in October 2011, having previously enjoyed a varied career in engineering across the Armed forces, pharmaceutical, and retail industries.

I was initially part of the Engineering Operations department as an Engineering Shift Manager where I was responsible for leading one of four teams that kept the CFC automation running and fulfilling customers orders as smoothly as possible.  The role was both demanding and exciting in equal measure, and no two days (or nights) were the same, which means that you have to be on the ball at all times.

In October 2016, an opportunity arose to join the Automation Engineering team as an Engineering Project Manager, and I jumped at the chance to be part of the team that was responsible for ensuring the Hatfield and Dordon CFCs are the best they can be in terms of equipment and layout. The challenges are constantly evolving, and it keeps us on our toes!

Of all the companies I have worked for through my career, Ocado is easily the most exciting and rewarding, in terms of pushing boundaries and changing the way in which things are done.

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Mike Lee, Sourcing Manager

Engineering Supply Chain team, Automation Engineering

I studied Manufacturing Systems Engineering before going into aerospace and then high-tech capital equipment, and have always looked for roles in companies where world-leading tech and R&D are highly valued.

Before joining Ocado, I managed a manufacturing business in China and then used that opportunity to reduce costs and increase efficiency in the parent company’s supply chain. I leverage that experience in my current role, where I need to know where to go for best value alongside understanding the flow of materials.

I started here in 2015, attracted by the level of innovation and the chance to create something new. My job is to identify appropriate suppliers, negotiate terms and pricing, and to coordinate supply schedules. This means I have to work closely with development and business teams to understand requirements, forecast demands and predict how they might change.

I love the complexity of the challenges presented, as well as the open and informal environment. There's a real spirit of everyone working together and of shared knowledge; we're all driven by the exciting fast-pace of change.

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Alexandra Santos, CFC CAD Integrator

Technical Design and Integration team, Automation Engineering

I joined the Technical Design and Integration team in July 2015 as a Trainee CAD Technician. Before joining Ocado Engineering, I studied Architecture and Urban Management and had worked as an architect in the past, and when the opportunity came to join Ocado I didn't think twice - I knew this was the project that I wanted to be a part of.

I was lucky enough to know some people who worked there, and what made me curious at first was the fact that they all came from such different backgrounds and worked in projects that covered so many different areas. I quickly learned that Ocado is also an innovative technology and engineering company that pursues an idea even when the solution hasn't been invented yet - we create solutions! How could I not want to take part of this adventure?

Soon I became a New CFC CAD Integrator, which meant I was dealing with detailed drawings for our cutting edge new CFCs, talking to various internal departments that explained to us what they needed from the building, liaising with suppliers to make sure we are exchanging all the necessary information, checking and creating drawings to make sure our CFCs are designed to accommodate our bespoke technological solutions and to operate according to our high standards - and it is so exciting!

We are developing the technology of the future - and I am proud to be a part of the team.

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Shinthu Selvanayagam, Project Support Engineer

Central Automation Engineering and Planning team, Automation Engineering

I joined Ocado in September 2015 on a Graduate scheme. Whilst at university, I took time out to spend a year in Germany working for a world-renowned power tools company as a Design Engineer. In that year I gained experience of CAD work, testing, developing products and jigs. My main achievement was developing a product from concept to market, which was a universal drill chuck that was later patented.

After my design experience, I wanted to broaden my horizons by gaining project experience and continue challenging myself. Working at Ocado is very different; instead of focusing on a single product or component, this is a much larger scope with a lot of dependencies. It has allowed me to work with different departments within Ocado and meet skilled people. You get thrown in the deep end from the start and it’s a great place for networking and building relationships with suppliers. Ocado is fast-paced, always changing and never boring!

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