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Behind Barnes: Transport Manager

Keeping things running smoothly at Barnes Logistics is a challenging but a thoroughly rewarding task for our Midlands Transport Manager, Laurence Gray. We recently caught up with Laurence about his roles, career journey and his recommendations for others looking to join the industry…

       1.       What does your role as Midlands Transport Manager entail?

My main responsibility as Transport Manager is to keep the Midlands sites running efficiently and effectively.  This means keeping the fleet operational and legal whilst also making sure that we have the right number of professional drivers on the road to carry out the work required. Anticipating potential issues and creating solutions for them is also a vital responsibility. Finally, my role entails dealing with queries from customers and on behalf of our drivers too. 

2.       Can you tell us about your career journey, how did you get your job at Barnes?

Before I discovered my role in Logistics, I worked in a number of industries which included procurement and sales. Over time, I worked my way up in a different company which saw me moving from transport planner to shift manager. Whilst working there, the Midlands Transport Manager opportunity arose at Barnes and I thought this was the perfect career opportunity for me. After attending an interview with Barnes, it really opened my eyes to what I could achieve! It was fantastic that I got the green light for the job. 

3.       What does a typical day (or week!) look like for you?

At Barnes, my week varies depending on what is required from me. Ensuring that everything is running efficiently and to the best possible standards is really important and from here, I can look ahead at further improvements. At the beginning of the week, I work on financial reportings and oversee compliance tasks. Once this is done, I attend a site visit in Redditch to check that things are operating as they should. Typically, throughout the week I will be involved in the arranging and interviewing of candidates and conducting driver inductions. Monitoring the service schedule frequently to ensure targets are achieved on time and working on probations reviews are also essential tasks. My job role can extend away from the office as sometimes I will be required in the yard where I will usually find myself inspecting tyres which have low tread to see if they need replacing. As Midlands Transport Manager however, I would say that that the most important role is speaking to the drivers to check that things are going as they should and speaking with our customers to ensure that Barnes are providing a five-star service. 

4.       What would you recommend to others looking to join the industry?

I would say that within the Logistics sector, there are always opportunities available. It is a vast and dynamic industry offering plenty of varied jobs. Therefore, even if one role might not suit you, there are still plenty of different positions which could be more suitable for your skill set so I think it’s important that you don’t give up on the industry if things get tough. It is also worth considering that Logistics is an industry which is staying put and is ever-expanding as companies will always require items moving safely and securely from one location to another. There will always be the need to supply and deliver goods across the UK and the globe!

Rochdale Storage – The Ideal Solution

Rochdale: storage’s ideal solution. As experienced warehousing and logistics providers, we’ve put a huge amount of effort over the years as our business has grown into where our headquarters should be based.

What space offers value for money and return for our customers? Does the warehouse provide the very best in safety? Which location will allow us to offer convenience for drivers?

Following thorough research and pooling together our professional teams’ long-standing experience, we made the decision to base our headquarters in Rochdale.

The town lies just outside of Manchester – a city whose growth, wealth and business opportunities have soared exponentially over the past decade. Now standing as the UK’s second largest economy, Manchester is a hub for investment. With Rochdale lying less than 10 miles away from the city, our warehousing is the ideal partner to support business growth.

Not only is Rochdale storage advantageous for Manchester companies in terms of delivering goods to store, but our warehouses’ location also means that the transportation of stock to customers throughout the country is smooth and accessible. Sitting just off the M62, our Rochdale storage warehousing solutions offer easy access to Liverpool, through to Leeds and further out towards Yorkshire.

With the M6 only an hour away, Lancashire, Carlisle and Scotland can be accessed to the North, and easy travel down to Birmingham, Coventry and beyond to the South can be achieved.

Located in the North West of England, the Welsh border is a mere 50 miles away, providing connection to not only one country, but two – the Holyhead ferry route offers direct access to Dublin with up to six crossings a day.

No matter what sector your business deals in, there’s no better place to safely store your ambient temperature stock than Rochdale. As part of the Manchester’s rapidly growing enterprise scene within easy reach of motorway access to the North, South, Wales and Ireland for customer distribution – make your next storage move Rochdale.

Self-Driving Lorries: Could Public Fear Help Our Industry?

Automated, self-driving lorries have been a contentious topic which have grown from rumour to near-reality in recent years. We’ve voiced our concerns about the introduction of semi-autonomous vehicles when the planned ‘platooning’ technique was announced last year – from the decrease in road safety to the threats to employment.

But it seems that it is not just those in the road logistics and professional industries who are troubled by the looming threat of autonomous HGVs: Logistics Manager revealed the results of a survey which found that self-driving lorries were the second most frightening technological advancement, coming closely behind conscious machines.

The fact that self-driving HGVs are only slightly bested in the ‘fear factor’ by, essentially, the concept of robots which can think for themselves outside of human control, is telling.

When delving deeper into the 2,000 respondents’ worries, the reason ‘I don’t trust that they’ll be reliable and as quick to react as a human would’ was a top response, with an incredible 62% sharing this fear. This was a concern raised in our post last year, and the fact that it’s shared by the public only strengthens this.

Interestingly, when probed about their top concern, the respondents also cited that the possibility of machines replacing human workers was worrisome. Given that the study was asking the general public rather than a group of professional logistics workers, it’s understandable that autonomous lorries don’t evoke the same fears of job replacement for our nation’s professional drivers – but the fact that it is still a concern in general shows that we are not happy with the morality of people being replaced by machines.

The less trust the public has in the new technologies behind driverless HGVs, the more barriers the Government will face to implement them on our roads. As well as supporting our dedicated professional drivers, this public fear could also help to boost our industry’s image. The discrepancy between the public’s feelings towards the haulage sector and the reality of their reliance and the high standards of safety has been a topic which we’ve explored previously.

But when forced to think about the impacts of autonomous lorries on our roads, society must reflect on the fact that current drivers are, in fact, an incredibly safe and reliable workforce. Quick reaction times, practical human intelligence and expert training makes our professional drivers the dependable, reliable and indispensable part of the logistics chain.

Let’s hope that the future will bring even more awareness and recognition for our nation’s dedicated professional drivers!

Behind Barnes: Human Resources

As part of our Behind Barnes campaign, we recently caught up with Toni Gilmore, to find out all about her position as an HR Assistant at Barnes Logistics…

  1. What does your role as HR Assistant entail, Toni?

My main duties include making sure all legal documents (such as Drivers Licence etc.) and training is up to date. I also monitor probation reviews, recruitment and organising interviews with managers, as well as Inputting driver hours and reviewing wages reports.  Finally, I look after all holiday and employee allowances.

  1. Can you tell us about your career journey, how did you get your job at Barnes?

I went to Leeds Metropolitan University and studied Psychology.  When I finished my degree, I found an interest in HR and wanted to pursue a career in it.  My first job was in customer service and admin, and I then became a Shipping and Transport Coordinator within the same company. I saw a job posting advertised by Barnes Logistics and with my background in shipping, admin and my degree in Psychology, I was well experienced for the position.

  1. What does a typical day (or week!) look like for you?

The job can look very different from week to week as it depends on what is happening at different depots. Typically, the beginning of the week is focused on wages – collecting and filing all the information from the previous week from all the depots, for example, driver timesheets and tachograph information. This is logged in our system so we can create a wages report and send out purchase orders to agencies where we’ve used their drivers. In a typical week we would also arrange interviews, liaise with managers regarding any driver training which is due and arrange for that to be completed, enrol new starters onto the HR database and generally keep all the systems up to date.

  1. What would you recommend to others looking to join the industry?

I am a big believer in finding an entry level job in your desired career and working your way up. It also helps to research any professional qualifications specific to your desired role in order to stand out from other applicants.

If you think you have what it takes and are interested in a career in the transport and logistics profession, get in touch!

How Will a No Deal Brexit Affect Just In Time Logistics?

The Brexit negotiations have taken more twists and turns than anyone could have imagined when the vote to leave the EU was announced back in 2016. With deals going nowhere and extensions to talks, it’s given business leaders even more time to think about how Brexit will affect their industry.

We’re already seeing the more obvious effects of leaving the EU – customs workers striking this month over the lack of clarity have led to miles and miles of queues at Calais for professional drivers. A simple act such as this has wide-reaching consequences – drivers will not only be frustrated, but their health is put at risk as they remain in the cab unable to move in traffic queues and longer hours are spent on the road. Playing the blame game is all too easy but, ultimately, futile – strikers take such a stand only because of serious concerns for their workplace.

These strikes give a taste of what may be to come in the long term: should No Deal become a reality, drivers will doubtless face long queues when leaving or re-entering the country. But as well as the toll this will take on drivers’ hours, physical and mental health, it will also have an effect on businesses. And Just In Time logistics will be an industry which will be hugely altered should no deal be agreed between Britain and the EU.

Just In Time relies on the efficiency of forward planning to ensure a smooth logistics operation, with new stock transported when levels are low but not depleted. If this month’s queues at Calais are any indicator of what a No Deal Brexit might look like, it would be understandable for business owners to be concerned that delays at borders could lead to a break down in the Just In Time system.

However, at Barnes Logistics we believe that there really is no need for panic. As well as being utterly counter-productive, the fact remains that the majority of businesses have been planning for this eventuality for years. By analysing customer spending habits, we have seen businesses across a whole variety of industries strategically stockpile and more effectively manage key goods.

Although delays at borders may lead to longer delivery times, this is a simple reality which both businesses and customers must face and embrace. If goods have been stockpiled, businesses have safeguarded their ability to make products and sales – with the only net affect being that businesses may have to wait a little longer than previously for their goods to arrive. As long as there is clear communication between both parties, both can plan and prepare accordingly.

At the end of the day, Just In Time relies on thoughtful forward planning to ensure maximum efficiency – and this will remain the key to its success whatever the outcome of Brexit.

Best Storage in Manchester

When it comes to selecting the best storage warehouse for your businesses’ products, decision makers must take a number of factors into account.  Here at Barnes Logistics, we offer a secure warehouse, a range of flexible storage solutions and the implementation of JIT (Just In Time) Logistics strategies is there a better place to start when searching for the best storage in Manchester?

 

Our state of the art warehouse in Rochdale is an ideal choice for the best storage in the Manchester area, with convenient access off junction 20 on the M62 for distribution across the UK and even further afield to Europe. Offering 50,000 sq ft of secure storage space, we can accommodate a high volume of stock from our clients; and our fleets operate from more a than seven sites across the country to support a nationwide client base.  The key to our offering is flexibility: we offer flexible storage solutions including short, medium and long-term contracts to support our customers’ needs.

 

We also pride ourselves in using JIT logistics which, for one thing, allows us to play a vital part in reducing global waste, as well as offer the most efficient logistics services to our customers.  The demand-pull strategy of JIT logistics means that stock is only delivered when it is required, and our top of the range production scheduling software allows for the correct levels of stock to be ordered. Through the use of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), suppliers and customers can communicate to ensure stock demand is up-to-date and is only obtained when a customer makes an order.

 

We recently had a visit from the Road Haulage Association – who rewarded us with an outstanding report which outlined how Barnes Logistics provides the best storage in Manchester with top safety measures implemented at all times and high quality software to contribute to the smooth-running of the warehouse.

 

Want to find out how we can assist you with the very best warehouse solutions?  Get in touch with our team today. 

Behind Barnes: Transport Planner

This year, we’ll be taking a look behind the scenes at Barnes Logistics and shining the spotlight on the people who make our business the success it is. From our professional drivers to HR managers, it takes a large team to ensure we deliver the highest quality Just In Time logistics services to our clients.

 

Today, we caught up with Joe Haywood, our Transport Planner in Rochdale…

 

What does your role as Transport Planner entail, Joe?

My role involves many things! My job is, broadly, to ensure we have the right number of professional drivers and lorries on the road to meet our clients’ demand and for deliveries to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. You need to be a great communicator, and be able to keep a cool head in high-pressure situations.

 

What does a typical day look like for you?

I start the day planning for the next: we have scheduled rotas and plans in place for the week and I refer to these daily to keep on track. I have to take aspects such as holidays, sickness and any other reasons a driver may not be working that specific day, and to accommodate this. I also manage the servicing of our vehicles – I work very closely with our drivers to learn about, and rectify, any vehicular issues.

 

Can you tell us about your career journey?

I have been working in the transport sector for over five years now, starting at 18 with a role as a Transport Administrator. This got my foot in the door, and whilst I moved up the ladder, I also decided to take time out to travel through Asia and Australia! In June 2018, I joined the Barnes team and have been using the skills and experience I’ve gained throughout the years to Rochdale.

 

What would you recommend to others looking to join the industry?

Transport is a rewarding and exciting industry – but it can be challenging! You have to be an organised person who’s always switched on. New issues come up each day which I haven’t dealt with before, so I have to apply my experience and industry knowledge to each new challenge. It’s always satisfying when you leave the office knowing that you have planned everything correctly and left with it running smoothly.

 

If you think you have what it takes and are interested in a career in the transport and logistics profession, get in touch!

 

 

The Year Ahead – What Can We Expect?

2018 is drawing to a close, and the year ahead is set to be an historic one for Britain as the country faces one of the biggest political shifts in decades. But what can the logistics and warehousing industry expect in the next year?

 

Whilst we, of course, cannot say for sure what will happen in the near future; there are certain events which we can predict will affect our industry significantly.

 

Of course, the main political event will come in March as we officially leave the European Union. The issue of the Irish border is one which is still not settled – so let us imagine both scenarios. The Irish backstop plan which, at this moment in time, seems the most likely, will see a ‘soft’ Brexit, but if an agreement cannot be reached we may head towards a hard Brexit which means that any trade with Europe will involve longer delivery times as drivers’ goods are stopped and checked at customs.

 

As we will not be bound by the same standards agreements, goods must be checked on borders to ensure that they are up to EU standards. Some have voiced concerns that the increased stop time as lorries wait to have their goods inspected will lead to an increase in illegal migrants boarding HGVs to enter the UK illegally, particularly as immigration laws will change as EU members will no longer be allowed to move freely to Britain as they once could.

 

Our final Brexit prediction is that of uncertainty. Such a huge political shift will lead to economic changes – and whilst few can say whether this will be for better or worse in both the short and long term, the value of the pound will be unpredictable. This means businesses will need to have invested in surplus stock before March – a subject we have spoken about previously with our safe and secure warehousing space available to store these excess goods as businesses ride out the turbulent times ahead.

 

The drivers’ shortage, a European-wide issue, may well be exacerbated in 2019. Workers may feel less inclined to move to the UK and fill vital positions; so, we can predict an industry-wide awareness and recruitment campaigns. Hopefully this will be backed and supported by the Government, with funding for training, education and apprenticeships.

 

Of course, it’s not all negativity in the future. Despite the changes that we’re going to face in 2019, the logistics and warehousing industry will remain a vital cog to UK industry and economics. Businesses must still trade, and we will be there to support them with first class Just In Time logistics services and secure storage – see you in 2019!

Rest Stops and Tired Driving

Drivers are regularly advised not to drive tired; motorways light up with overhead signs, road safety charities campaign against fatigued driving, and the DVLA has a page dedicated to informing the relevant authorities on medical conditions that may cause tiredness. Naturally, when it comes to the professional driving industry, the laws are stricter still, with drivers not permitted to work for more than 4.5 hours without taking a minimum 45 minute break. These laws can be appreciated for the safety they offer both HGV drivers and others on the road, however, in reality, these laws are continually compromised due to the lack of dedicated spaces for lorries to park during rest periods.

 

Not only are professional drivers legally required to take these breaks, but all too often we hear reports of drivers not taking them or of parking in residential areas, but we must question why this may be. Whilst we acknowledge that some drivers may work through their breaks or park inconveniently simply to meet targets quicker – this is an issue in itself – it should also be brought to light that it is also entirely probable that a lack of breaks can be the result of a decreasing number of much-needed amenities.

 

In this digital age, the movement of goods across the EU has grown rapidly, and so long hours are inevitable with the profession. To guarantee the safe arrival of commodities across borders, laws must be abided by, including those of rest periods. A driver who is well-rested is more likely to be able complete their job and continue the functioning of the supply chain system than one who is fatigued. However, without the required rest, risk is imminent.

 

When considering this issue, it is important to begin with a more general perspective; all employees, regardless of their occupation or workplace environment, expect access to clean WCs and hygienic spaces to take lunch breaks. For most, these facilities do not have to be campaigned for – they are a given. Yet when it comes to professional drivers, the case is different; despite their integral role to the UK economy, such facilities are not guaranteed. Of course, it would be unreasonable to expect these facilities fitted within each individual vehicle, however, all drivers are hypothetically always within easy reach of ‘rest periods’ – safe places to park overnight, eat and wash.

 

Despite their need, HGV rest stops have always been few and far between, but over recent years, roadside cafés and other rest stops have been closing at an alarming rate, leaving drivers minimal options when it comes to parking up. Similarly, this reduces the amount of dedicated parking areas for truck drivers and when the number of trucks on the roads are increasing (considering the growing amount of goods transported everyday), parking opportunities become more limited still.

 

It seems that, as a result, many drivers have been taking to parking in spaces which some deem unacceptable and inconvenient. All too often, the media transcribes local villager’s frustrations regarding HGV traffic and parking. In Yorkshire alone, residents are reporting to councils that there is ‘clear evidence’ of HGVs damaging roads and verges, drivers participating in antisocial behaviour by littering and creating noise pollution. In this particular case, the article claims that the vehicles in question are, “foreign registered vehicles that choose not to use or have no financial means of using dedicated lorry facilities”. However, the issue would still exist regardless: there are few – if any at all – rest stops in the area, and those that are available do not have enough space to cater for all who need to use them. It therefore seems unsurprising that in such situations, drivers have little choice but to stop in laybys or similar areas – and with an estimated 20% of all road accidents caused by fatigue, it is imperative that they rest somewhere.

 

How can this issue be resolved? Increased funding to develop parking facilities along with amenities which allow drivers to wash and take food breaks is the most obvious option. And with this need for funding comes an equally important need to educate the wider public on the lack of amenities available to drivers; as we have highlighted before, the professional driving and logistics industry are an imperative part of the British economy, but like other occupations, they need to take regular breaks.

 

Drivers, let us know your thoughts on the matter by dropping us a tweet, and if you’re on the road soon and need a rest stop, find your nearest one here.

Storage Before Brexit: Secure The Future

It may be a topic, and indeed a word, which the majority of the country are sick to death of hearing; but this week Brexit has been grabbing more and more headlines as Theresa May tries hard to push her deal for leaving the European Union through Parliament. With the realities of our country’s future being brought into focus, we look at how businesses across the country can protect themselves against the uncertainty that 2019 will bring.

 

As the deal focuses on the divorce terms and the Northern Irish border – issues which, of course, affect businesses of all industries – but what all business owners and decision makers are lacking, is future trade agreements. Issues regarding who we will trade with, and at what tariff costs, is an issue which we will not see a resolution to in the near future.

 

Therefore, in the meantime, businesses can look to protect themselves by stockpiling goods. When the future of trading is so uncertain, having a surplus of stock is not the nightmare scenario it would usually be under normal circumstances. Making the investment in more goods now before the potential increase in importation charges after Brexit will ensure that businesses carry a known cost in this time of uncertainty.

 

In the past few years, we have invested in the latest warehousing technology, including our own in-house stock management system, in our secure 50,000 sq ft of storage space in Rochdale. Offering bespoke warehousing for all businesses, from technology to clothing to ambient food and beverage, we’re able to accommodate your warehousing needs no matter your stock size or length of storage needed. Less than 10 miles from Manchester, we’re located with easy access to the M62 for a quick connection to the UK’s roads and ports.

 

No matter the size of the business or the industry you trade in, it has never been more prudent to safeguard against the trading uncertainty looming in the near future of our country. If you’d like to learn more about how we can easily, safely and securely store your stock for Brexit, get in touch with our team of experts today.