I’m not usually emotional, but when I won I was really moved and I’ve been trying to work out why. I think it’s because I’ve been in the industry 32 years and this is probably the first time I’ve had formal recognition.
I never did it for the recognition, as I think I’m only as good as the people who work for me, but the fact someone recognised me was really nice.
I look after internal warehouse and transport processes nationally. We do that by utilising colleagues to come up with easier and better ways of doing things through CECI – Colleague Engagement driving Continuous Improvement. I’ve been in my present job three years and before that I spent two years at the Lutterworth CDC and six months at the Wakefield CDC.
Asda changes on a regular basis. Change is good for anybody. It might feel uncomfortable but change helps you learn things about yourself. That constant change has really helped me in my career and I’m grateful to Asda for giving me the opportunity to work in a fast-changing environment.
The world of chilled food moves so fast! I hadn’t appreciated how fast until I moved from general merchandise and clothing to chilled and learned very quickly why it was important to get strawberries into stores fast during Wimbledon week!
I’ve been at Asda for six years and I was at Argos for 24 years before that. I left school at 16 with standard O-levels and, like many people in logistics, this was something I fell into. I got an apprenticeship in admin and finance first where I got an ONC and HNC in business studies and law but I didn’t like it. So I applied for a job as a systems clerk. I had no knowledge of systems but I applied for it anyway and started working in a warehouse. The general manager at the time was very traditional – he had a separate office to the rest of the workers and he used to be served breakfast every morning. It was a very different world then. I remember thinking I really wanted to make a change and to value the people that work for me.
The world has moved on now, thankfully, and now I think logistics is a great career path for anyone. Technology has changed and life has changed. Logistics now includes innovation systems, data analytics, engineering, distribution – it’s a multi-stranded career and a very exciting area to get into.
The IGD are doing some work looking at how to get more young people into the industry. It isn’t something young people think about as a career: I went to a school recently and, talking to the children there, half of them hadn’t appreciated the amount of work that goes into getting an apple from tree to their table. It was lovely to talk to them and great to get a younger person’s view of life. One of the girls wanted to be a lawyer. In logistics and retail you need lawyers but all they could see was criminal law or being a solicitor at a law firm.
In this industry you need belief and self-confidence – and someone to tell you it’s ok to try new things even if you fail. We have a fear of failure but getting it wrong is not always a bad thing – it can be a great opportunity to learn.