He began work at the massive depot next to the company's HQ at Abbey Road, and worked his way up to deputy general manager before becoming general manager of the depots at first Exeter and then Cardiff.
Ali says he feels privileged to be able to make his mark at the newly opened 60,000 sq ft depot in Acton, which takes the customer experience to new levels of comfort. Ali says that customer satisfaction is the most important element both for him and his 50 staff. "Everyone competes on cost nowadays so there is little to choose between C&Cs, but customer service is something we can make a difference in."
Part of his philosophy is to always be available to customers and this is signified by the fact the windows of his office face out into the car park and into the depot as well. "The customers can always see me and know they can pop in at any time."
Ali believes it is also important to visit retailers in their shops. "You won't know what they are about unless you go to their shops," he says.
There is a smaller catering clientele, but the majority of customers are retailers. He says they range from CTNs and c-stores to small supermarkets. Ali is a keen advocate of the company's retailer development programme. "It is important to develop their business. Our business will only develop if theirs does.
"It is quite a tough market for independents out there and if we can educate them in areas such as right use of merchandising it can help them compete."