As well as attracting the right employees from outside our business, NFT Distribution also has a reputation for promoting from within, ensuring the development and retention of our staff.
NFT can aid the development of a wide skill-base, and this, together with excellent networking opportunities, can enable people to move on to work within a variety of different roles within a manufacturing environment or major retailer organisation. The case studies below show examples of how careers can develop within and beyond NFT: TrevorSimonSueJoelMikeBenTrevor – from driver to senior manager, having held a wide range of roles in-between Trevor started work at Northern Dairies 27 years ago as a Class 3 HGV driver, delivering milk to private doorstep delivery salespeople. After 5 years, he transferred as a Class 1 driver to another Northern site, Rawmarsh Foods, which specialised in dairy products for Marks & Spencer.
The transport operations at Rawmarsh Foods then became part of the NFT Distribution network. As NFT opened its new consolidation centre in Alfreton, the operations at Dronfield, Rawmarsh and Nottingham were reduced, and the staff given opportunities to apply for new positions at the site. Trevor decided that he would like the chance to progress his career within the transport office, and applied for the role of Traffic Assistant. He was soon promoted into a Shift Manager’s role, taking on the full responsibility for running a shift and managing the staff in the transport office. He was then approached to go on a short-term secondment to the St Albans depot, to set up the integration of Primary work within the existing store delivery operation.
The short-term secondment turned into Trevor being offered the Operations Managers role at the depot, which he carried out for four years. When NFT won a further Sainsbury contract in the South East, Trevor oversaw the transfer, responsible for the day-to-day operations, with the operations management teams reporting into him. Over the next two years, he took on a variety of roles in the South East, before moving back to the North as Operations Manager at Alfreton. He then became acting Depot General Manager at Alfreton, before moving onto a Customer Liaison role, dealing with over 80 customers and offering expertise to enable them to help us to reduce overall costs and improve efficiencies within the supply chain. “Since being at NFT, I have had the opportunity to experience every single part of the job, from driving the vehicle to managing the customer relationship,” says Trevor. “I have been lucky to work with people from various functions who have helped me to understand the whole business and the way it works. I believe that teamwork is the key to a successful business, and I have tried to promote that in every job I have done. “Back to topSimon – from Shift Manager at NFT, and onto a senior role within a major retailer businessSimon got his first post at NFT as a Shift Manager in the Traffic Office, after graduating from University and spending three years in the general haulage sector. Within a year, he had progressed into the Operations Manager’s role, taking on the responsibility of the smooth running of the transport operation.
Two years later he moved into the central role of Network Development Manager, where around 50% of his time was spent on developing new business opportunities, and the rest on strengthening existing network efficiencies. After three years, and upon successfully gaining new business in the South, Simon took on the role of Southern Regional Manager, with operational responsibility for two open book contracts. The operations went from strength to strength, and after a further two years this developed into a more commercial role, seeking out new primary and secondary business, undertaking contract negotiation and working with our major retailer client to consolidate their Primary chill network. Simon was then promoted onto the NFT Executive Committee as Business Development Executive, and was instrumental in securing a new primary contract for NFT with a major retailer. After a year, he was offered a senior position working for this major retailer as their Primary Distribution Manager, and so left NFT to progress his career. He now holds a senior role within the distribution division of this major retailer, with responsibility for all inbound operations (factory gate, backhaul, trunking), fuel distribution, fleet procurement, people change management, strategy implementation, and the opening of a new import consolidation centre. Simon says “My ten years at NFT gave me a great self-learning opportunity, exposing me to a wide range of experiences, both operational and central.
Progressing through the organisation from Shift Manager to Executive level meant that I was able to develop contacts with people at all levels within other organisations as I moved upwards. “Back to topSue – from trainee to qualified accountant, diversifying into more general business operationsSue was fresh out of college after taking A Levels when she spotted a vacancy for a trainee at NFT’s head office. Not having a fixed idea of where she saw her career going, she saw it as an ideal opportunity to gain experience in lots of different areas, and successfully applied for the post. She spent a year in a number of departments including payroll, ledgers and personnel, before being offered a position as a supervisor on a new distribution contract. The contract grew, and within a year she was responsible for six staff. After three years, moving back to head office, Sue took on a central Finance role, and was encouraged to study for a professional accountancy qualification. This took four years, and was fully supported by NFT, including time off for study and exams, as well as making sure she gained the relevant work experience towards her qualification. Post-qualification, she continued to progress through the Finance ranks, including a year-long secondment in the South East, and the set up of several new operations, becoming Finance Manager responsible for all of NFT’s open book contracts – until a new opportunity saw a change in career to a more business-focused role. “My accountancy qualification has been invaluable as it gave me a good understanding of many aspects of a business, not only finance,” says Sue. “I have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, my career with NFT, as no day is the same and there are always new challenges to face. “Back to topJoel – joined NFT less than two year ago and has already progressed into an Depot General Manager’s roleJoel started his managerial career when he took the decision to move from a family-run firm to a large blue chip logistics company, taking a drop in salary to work in the traffic office as a Transport Co-ordinator. His previous experience had been in driving, maintenance and manual labour, and he wanted to explore new possibilities. Within twelve weeks in his new role, his potential had been recognised, and he was approached and asked to apply for a Line Manager position. He went on to spend more than four years in this role, learning to adapt to the new environment of a blue chip company whilst acquiring management skills, computer skills and people skills as he went along.
When the logistics arm of the business was put up for sale, and an opportunity arose within a major retailer’s Distribution Centre, Joel took the decision to move again. His new role was again that of a Line Manager, however it required a different skill set, due to several reasons: the environment was fully unionised, the site was much bigger, and the management structure was very flat, bringing more responsibility to the role. It was a good developmental move for Joel, who made the most of his time there whilst always feeling that he would move on when he was ready. He had spent just six months in this role when a vacancy for an Operations Manager arose in another NFT depot. He was encouraged to apply by his Depot General Manager, and was successful – and after carrying out the role of Operations Manager at our Alfreton primary hub for less than a year, Joel has now been promoted to Depot General Manager himself. Joel liked what he saw about NFT from his initial interview, which involved a two-stage process – designed to find out about his background, his knowledge and his experience, and his aspirations. “Within six weeks of being at NFT, I knew I wanted to stay for as long as I can. I can see my career developing further, and I sincerely hope my future lies at NFT”, says Joel. Back to topMike – took opportunities in many different locations and progressed from driver to Depot General Manager within 8 yearsMike joined NFT in St Helens as a Class 1 LGV Driver, moving to Trafford Park when the St Helens depot closed. After a couple of years, Mike moved to the new Whitefield operation, acquired as a result of the Coldstream merger. On his first day at Whitefield, Mike tripped in the yard, tearing the ligaments in his ankle and putting himself out of action as a driver. Rather than claim sick pay, he asked if he could work in the traffic office instead, learning how to use the computer systems and understand the whole operation. He covered a Traffic Assistant’s role on nights for six months until his ankle was healed, then took on the role on a permanent basis. As part of this, he started to cover for the Duty Manager as and when needed, to gain experience at a higher level. When a Transport Supervisor’s role became vacant at NFT/Coldstream’s Wythenshawe depot, he transferred there, and stayed for 18 months. A few months after the NFT Haydock depot opened, Mike was able to transfer there as a Duty Manager, and after two years took on the role of Temporary Operations Manager.
When NFT opened its Elstree depot, Mike was seconded to the South East as part of the start-up team, spending nine months there. Just three months after his return to Haydock, a vacancy arose for Operations Manager in Alfreton, and Mike successfully applied, spending two years in this position. Mike then moved to Crick as Depot General Manager (DGM), just as the Sainsbury NPPN contract was gaining momentum, and project-managed the split of retailers out of the existing Crick depot and into a new site in the same area, to ensure the Crick depot was ready to handle purely Sainsbury volume. With no prior project management experience, Mike had to deal with all areas of a new depot including planning, personnel, training, fleet and other resources. He then stayed for about a month to ensure a successful handover. He then went back to Alfreton as DGM for several months before being asked to go to Elstree on another secondment, to develop the site. Together with a project team, Mike was able to use his experience to oversee the improvements needed, and after five months moved into a permanent role as DGM in Crick, where he has remained for the last three years, carrying out additional project work as and when required. During Mike’s time in Crick, the depot has moved from handling 15,000 pallets per week, to around 19,500 pallets per week, whilst improving customer service and costs. Staff turnover at the depot is now also comparatively low. “Attracting, and retaining, good people has always been a priority at Crick,” says Mike. “With a stable workforce, we are able to implement changes more effectively and take the depot forward. “Regular reviews with the staff at the site have shown morale has improved, and the depot’s safety record is excellent, with a recent Safety Audit showing Crick to have the most safely controlled transport yard within NFT. Mike siad, “The company has worked with me to develop my career, and I believe my experience has stood me in good stead – I would encourage anyone in the same position to aim high. “Back to topBen – progression outside of NFT and development within his current role of Project Planning ManagerBen started work at the age of 15, as an office junior within a large logistics company. Over a 14 year period he grew with the company and progressed through the ranks, finishing his time there as an account manager for their national Asda contract (approx 15,000 pallets of produce per week).
Having gained a significant understanding of a national transport network (in produce and horticulture, rather than chilled), Ben also gained experience in the successful management of most of the major retailers’ produce accounts, as the company had category management status within JS, Asda, Tesco, Safeway and Somerfield during his time there. “The opportunity to work for NFT fell just at the right time,” says Ben. “My entire career so far had been working predominantly from an operational perspective. I was happy there, but I was also very keen to gain a better understanding of the commercial costs and relationships of both closed and open book contracts with the major retailers. This need, along with NFT’s good reputation within the transport sector, provided me with the solid opportunity to progress and continue to establish a better general knowledge in other aspects of a logistical operation. “”I continue to enjoy working for NFT”, Ben continued. “The company’s open-minded approach to new ideas and opportunities are refreshing. It continually strives to strengthen an already strong core management structure, which in turn assists with developing their teams and building on the relationships between NFT and its customer base. I feel positive that NFT can continue to be a leading name in any major supermarkets primary haulage network.