Picnic is the world’s fastest growing online supermarket that makes grocery shopping simple, fun, and affordable for everyone. The company launched in 2015 after building the platform in stealth-mode with thirty engineers. They then went on to win the 2015 challenger award, 2016 best start-up award, and the 2017 most innovative company award. The service is now available to more than 500,000 people in the Netherlands.
The business was in search of a solution that could streamline alert management and incident resolution, by automatically triaging and appropriately notifying team members when issues across the infrastructure stack occurred. The CTO at Picnic, Daniel Gebler, is responsible for all technology, infrastructure, engineering, and operations at the company. His team supports all Picnic store and fulfillment systems, including their mobile app and the backend infrastructure which requires payment system support, human resource systems, monitoring fulfillment, and all supply chain management systems.
Addressing the challenges around separating system operations from system development
Before implementing PagerDuty, Picnic faced challenges around ensuring accountability and load balancing work streams between the operations and the engineering team. There was no solution in place that tied full-stack infrastructure visibility with a system of accountability as well as collaboration tools, to ensure that issues were acknowledged, prioritized, and remediated in real time. In order to keep tabs on any issues from start to finish, the teams had to be available to monitor the system at all times — a costly and time consuming challenge. Picnic leveraged Slack for internal notification purposes but it wasn’t standardized across the company’s on-call resources, and it was not a reliable way to get in touch with the necessary stakeholders. It was critical for them to implement a solution that their on-call teams could standardize on and which could reach them 24/7/365.
Saving time, costs, and improved MTTA/MTTR by 500%
As the need increased to implement a solution that could support on-call automation, full-stack visibility, and end-to-end incident management, Picnic selected PagerDuty as their vendor of choice. “PagerDuty has allowed us to better separate system engineering from system operations, saving us time and money,” stated Daniel Gebler, CTO at Picnic. His teams are responsible for monitoring many different systems, including Picnic’s mobile application and backend systems. They monitor everything: from the load times of their prices and product catalog, the accuracy and availability of real-time analytics, all the way to tracking logistics from the warehouse to the doorstep of their customers. If there are slow response times at any point in the supply chain lifecycle or in the mobile shopping customer experience, PagerDuty automatically notifies the appropriate on-call resource. Picnic ties seamless real-time workflows to all that monitoring data by leveraging PagerDuty, which sits as the glue between its monitoring systems (New Relic to monitor the application and store related systems, and AWS CloudWatch to monitor its cloud infrastructure) and its collaboration tools such as Slack. All those tools are integrated with PagerDuty, enabling effective prioritization of issues and faster response to incidents taking place across the infrastructure, and creating several benefits: decreased alert fatigue, improved accountability and resolution times, and more agile processes for better business and revenue outcomes.
Picnic’s warehousing operations are one of the services that need to be monitored in real-time. The process starts when a purchase is submitted to the supplier. It’s then delivered to the warehouse, picked up in their electrical vehicles, and delivered to the customer’s doorstep. If something goes wrong in the planning cycle, all warehouse operations would be massively disrupted. That’s the reason why Picnic uses PagerDuty — to allow them to take action and avoid any operational issues from occurring that would affect the customer’s experience.
“For us, the most important thing is that our customers get the best quality groceries, delivered for free and always on-time precise to the minute. PagerDuty helps us to identify early issues in the supply chain and allows us to take action to mitigate the issues and prevent customer impact,” said Gebler.
It’s important for the teams responsible to be proactive rather than reactive to problems that happen during the incident management lifecycle. Having the ability to resolve those cases within a short amount of time allows them to ensure smooth and seamless operations and deliver better customer experience. The company is fully data-driven and has improved their mean-time-to-acknowledge and mean-time-to-resolve by 500% since they’ve implemented PagerDuty.
Improving customer experience
The biggest value Picnic has seen since using PagerDuty is the separation it provided for system operations and system engineering. PagerDuty provided a platform for the company to set apart the operational part of system incidents with the building portion which puts incidents in the hands of its rightful owner. In the end, this resulted in scaling their operations even further. Picnic has the ability to be more responsive due to PagerDuty’s robust incident management platform. Most importantly, the solution has helped Picnic improve customer experience and enhanced their external services.
“For us, the most important thing is that our customers get the best quality groceries, delivered for free and always on-time precise to the minute. PagerDuty helps us to identify early issues in the supply chain and allows us to take action to mitigate the issues and prevent customer impact”