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As a valued member of the J&B team for seven years, Peter Dunn, has progressed his career from starting in the business as an apprentice Transport Coordinator to his current role as Transport Manager.
Based in the head office at the Windermere Road MRF, Pete heads up the transport department and manages the drivers and vehicles to ensure our business waste collections and bulk deliveries via our inhouse transport operate efficiently, whilst controlling the movements of site stock levels.
We chat to Pete to find out what it takes to manage J&B’s transport, what he loves about his job and see how things changed throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I started with J&B Recycling in August 2013 as an apprentice Transport Coordinator having previously worked as a chef since leaving college in 2006.
I started out learning the weighbridge and transport, and towards the end of the first year I was taken on as Transport Coordinator on a full time basis following the departure of the coordinator at the time. I received vast amounts of support and training from everyone in the business to work my way up to obtaining my Transport Manager’s CPC, eventually leading to the promotion of becoming Transport Manager, just in time for the pandemic.
What does a typical day as transport manager involve?
Most days start with a briefing with the drivers and ensuring everyone has the correct paperwork and understands their duties for the day.
This is followed by an inspection of the depot, and contacting all J&B sites, to monitor stock levels and ensure that everything is booked out as required.
I would then liaise with the transport office to review the previous days’ work and ensure everything has been completed and processed in full, before planning later in the day and debriefing drivers on their return.
In between would involve managing and monitoring drivers, vehicles and sites and taking action where appropriate, as well as working with other departments and clients in order to ensure a smooth, legal operation, whilst constantly aiming to improve our service levels and efficiency.
How has your job changed due to Covid-19?
Most importantly, as a company we have all had to make adjustments to ensure a safe working environment for all staff and visitors, and ensure we are constantly updating our knowledge on the latest government guidelines and further action to take, as and when required.
Operationally the main challenge has been on adapting our wheeled bin collections service. Like most businesses we have constantly had to adapt to the ever-changing situation and experienced a sharp drop in those sites that were able to remain operational. In order to adapt during the first lockdown it was necessary to place a small number of staff on the furlough scheme and stand a number of vehicles down. Whilst in the office the team had to work hard to re-route rounds daily, in order to continue servicing those sites that were able to operate, as efficiently as possible. As businesses were gradually allowed to re-open, we then faced the challenge of adapting these new rounds as they grew in size. Luckily we have been able to utilise what we have learnt, in order to adapt to the latest lockdown. It is our priority to respond quickly to our customers' changes in circumstances and ensure that a reliable service is offered as we gradually welcome our customers back into our service rounds..
What are the biggest challenges in your role?
Being a control freak, delegating was always a challenge, however the pandemic seems to have taught me the importance of this!
There doesn’t tend to be individually difficult tasks or issues to resolve, however when situations do appear they tend to happen all at once, with little notice, or set off a chain of events that need to be seen through to the end. The ever changing daily events in transport requires a very reactive approach.
How did you get into this line of work?
The initial motivation was finding a career with progression and sensible working hours, and the idea struck when accepting a food delivery whilst working as a chef.
I began logging on to the suppliers’ websites to do a little more research and checking their job pages, hoping that I may find a delivery or office role.
A number of months later I came across the online advert for a logistics apprentice (I think advertised through the NECC). I was offered interviews from two companies; following the first with Matt and Anne at J&B I cancelled the other interview. Although, at 24, it meant working on an apprentices’ wage, I decided it would be worth taking the drop in salary to get my foot in the door, I haven't looked back since.
And lastly, what is your favourite thing about your job?
We’re all in this together. The teamwork and energy is phenomenal and everyone is willing to go the extra mile for one another. This also extends to sites and customers, haulage providers, workshops… basically everyone I have had the opportunity to come into contact with.