The story of Paul

Paul has been the location manager for our distribution centre in Eerbeek for four years.
To better understand his day-to-day activities, we sat down in his office at the distribution centre for a short interview.

Paul signing a waybill

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Paul van Barneveld, and I am twenty-seven. I have been working at Schotpoort Logistics since 2017 and have been the supervisor at the distribution centre in Eerbeek for 4 years.

What does your job entail exactly?
As the supervisor, I am responsible for the personnel and all the activities at the distribution centre. On a normal day, I start at the DC around 8 o’clock, in the mornings it is usually a bit quieter. This gives me time to tidy things up a bit. At the DC, I have my own little office, where I communicate with the planning department and print the loading lists for the day. During the quiet moments, we always take some time to check our inventory and clean everything.

When the drivers start docking, I make sure that the lists are ready and that we can start loading and unloading the trailers immediately. While my team is loading and unloading the trailers, I speak to the drivers and take care of the necessary documentation such as waybills. After everything has been arranged with the driver, I check whether the load is complete before the driver leaves again. At the end of the day, I always check the inventory and see if all of the listed goods have been loaded.

How did you find this job and Schotpoort?
After my training in professional goods transport, I started at Schotpoort Logistics as a lorry driver. I did this for six months, but I did not really like it, mainly because of the irregular hours I worked. I told this to Schotpoort, and in consultation with the company, I changed to a position in warehousing. After a while, I got the opportunity to become the location manager of the DC.

What makes your job at Schotpoort so challenging, fun and/or interesting?

I enjoy contact with people the most; we have a very pleasant team with a changing shift pattern in the morning and afternoon. The interaction with my colleagues and the drivers always makes my day enjoyable.

Several young people on our team are doing apprenticeships at Schotpoort. As a supervisor, it is up to me to ensure that they gain a little experience and learn something. This means that I let them load or unload something other than normal pallets now and then, we also work with long aluminium profiles, which can be a challenge. Besides my work, making sure these guys get some work experience can be quite challenging, but most of all it is a lot of fun.

We get several drivers every day, some of these guys we see every day or week, of course, we have a chat while the driver is waiting.

Paul printing shipping documents in his office
Paul operating a forklift

What are the disadvantages or less pleasant parts of your job?

As I mentioned before, as a foreman I am responsible for the staff and all activities at the DC, which of course also means that I have to call people out on specific behaviour. Speaking to a colleague about a specific incident or the way they handle goods is never fun, fortunately, this rarely happens, but as a foreman, you sometimes have to be tough.

Most of the guys who work for us are still a bit younger, often between 16-25. You often notice that these guys are a bit looser and perhaps less serious at times. Fortunately, I am only 27, so I have a little more empathy myself. I am also certainly not the most difficult person, a lot is possible and acceptable for me, but everything is in consultation. For example, I once employed a young man who arrived two or three hours late on his first day and went to the supermarket for an hour in between, without reporting it. You shouldn’t do that; in moments like these, I have to be tough and call someone out on their behaviour. The same applies to the use of mobile phones during working hours and suchlike: sure, you can look at them when it’s quiet, or if you indicate in advance that you’re expecting an important phone call, but it shouldn’t happen constantly.

As a foreman, I receive all the information from the planning department and I am in a position between the planning department and the drivers, which can sometimes be difficult. Some drivers are in a hurry and want to leave as quickly as possible, but this is not always possible because I don’t have the right information, the shipment is not complete or the documentation has not been done properly. As a warehousing employee, you sometimes get the short end of the stick, if I may say so. In scenarios where a driver is waiting for you to load a shipment, for example, and it has not arrived at the DC, they can be very angry. I understand this very well and it is also very annoying, but there is not much we can do about it at that moment.

What, in your opinion, is the difference between Schotpoort and other logistic service providers?

I am very happy with the atmosphere that is present throughout the organisation. Because we are a relatively small family company compared to our competitors, you know every face, and this makes interactions much more fun, but also easier, because you know these people personally and can address them as such.

The personal support you can expect from the organisation is one of the plus points. From my education, I am a lorry driver by profession, but personally, I did not like this because of the changing hours. Schotpoort then gave me the chance to make the transition to warehousing at their DC, where I was given the space to grow to the position of foreman. Now, these growth opportunities are still there, although I must admit that I feel perfectly at home here. I am not sure whether I would get the space and freedom that I now have at other logistic service providers.