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A Day in the Life of Barrie Johnstone our Warehouse and Distribution Manager

December 20, 2018 Blog

I’m an early bird so I get up at the crack of dawn every day, or before dawn, these days, to pound the pavements of Glasgow’s West End and get my head straight for the day ahead. Depending on the weather and my mood I’ll do somewhere between seven and 13 miles and will sometimes run home from work if I need to get something out of my system!

I’m at the depot by 9 am and my first port of call is the Traffic Office to check all our vans are safely out on the road and delivering to our customers across the country. It’s a bit like being in an air-traffic control tower; I can see where all 32 of our vehicles are on one screen at any given time. As you might imagine it can be quite a challenge for the Distribution Management Team to make sure the drivers are all on track as you never know what obstacles could be put in front of you and believe me we’ve had everything from the sublime to the ridiculous to contend with. This heightens in December when we’ve got the added pressure of winter weather, not to mention the fact that our vehicles will cover around 95,000 miles (that’s four times around the world!) making 12,000+ deliveries. Santa eat your heart out!

Our management team then give me a quick briefing of how the day has begun and we discuss and resolve any potential issues. Once that’s done my second destination is the coffee machine! I’m there several times during the day!

I then head into the warehouse to check how things are with our picking and replenishment teams and making sure the warehouse is in good order as I’m a bit OCD with cleanliness. While I’m there, I check over the previous day’s picking totals from both our split bottle and case picking teams. To put this into a bit of context, in the month of December we will pick and deliver around 140,000 full cases and around 135,000 individual bottles.

Generally, I’ll have three or four meetings per day (at this time of year though it can go up to eight or nine) whether it’s with staff members, HR, suppliers, interviewees or with fellow members of our Exec team.

I’ll also fit in two or three walks around our warehouse to ensure everything is running smoothly and having a general chat with the teams. That adds to the daily step count with a warehouse that covers nearly 80,000 sq ft!

I have 121 members of what is an excellent warehouse and distribution team under me. They rise to the challenge every December to cope with what is a pretty intense workload. We have staff in the depot pretty much seven days a week, working to three shift patterns, plus an army of temporary seasonal staff.

They all do me proud in delivering beyond expectations to defend our crown as Drinks Wholesaler of the Year in Scotland, which we have won for the last four years in a row.

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