Christopher is a Warehouse Planning Administrator in the transport and logistics sector.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My typical day is centred on ensuring our labour is resourced sufficiently to enable our warehouse to cope with demand from all the companies we hold contracts for. Doing this enables our deliveries to leave on time and therefore provides great service to our customers. I have to ensure the hours we use are within our budget, with obstacles such as late incoming deliveries and sickness always making it difficult!
Each day begins with an operational meeting between a number of my colleagues in which I report our planned workload and hours needed for the day ahead. I will also look at detailed reports for each warehouse colleague from the day before to ensure they are working to the standard they should be, and report back to their manager if any of them are not.
We work alongside agencies who supply us with colleagues on a weekly basis, which enables us to meet increases in demand on our peak days of the week. I meet with each agency once every two weeks to review performance and suggest ways in which each individual can improve to be more productive. Their performance is tracked every week and I then set targets for them for the following week.
I also complete payroll on a weekly basis for all of our 60+ colleagues making sure they are paid correctly, along with keeping track of holidays and overtime allowances.
I am currently also leading a few different projects within the business, which provide a great deal of variety to my day as well as the chance to gain a great deal of exposure and experience of different parts of the business.
What career journey have you been on to get where you are now?
When I completed my A Levels I was completely undecided as to what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Instead of rushing into a decision, I took two years out from studying and worked in a variety of different jobs (call centre, supermarket, and manual labour). During this time, I got some experience of the ‘real world’ and was able to make a decision on what it was I really wanted to do.
I had my heart set on becoming an Air Traffic Controller but was unsuccessful with my application. Wanting to stay within the same industry, I gained an unconditional offer to study Transportation at Ulster University, Jordanstown. During my degree I completed a placement year as an Operational Controller with Swissport at Belfast City Airport. Having completed a working year within the airline industry and three years of studying a wide variety of transport subjects, I decided that road haulage and warehousing would provide the best opportunities for me, so here I am!
What excites you about your industry?
Although at times it can be stressful or feel like you are going round in circles, the constant challenges and obstacles that need managed on a daily basis do make it satisfying. Especially when you come out the other side having done a good job!
Right now is a great time to be entering the industry as I believe it will change drastically over the next 5-10 years with advances in technology gathering pace, things such as drones delivering parcels, lorries driving themselves, and robots operating warehouses will become normal sooner rather than later. Being involved in something like that for a career would be pretty cool!
What advice would you give to your 13-year old self?
The biggest bit of advice I could give is to keep your options open. It’s perfectly fine to think you know what you want to do when you’re older but it’s a good idea to keep your mind open to the possibilities that are out there. There are so many interesting and rewarding jobs out there that you won’t even have heard of at 13 years old.
Having a great job also doesn’t involve going to University. There are lots of avenues to success that will be different for every single person and come at different times as well. So for now, keep working hard at school and keep all possibilities open, there is still lots of time.