Name: Jim Bond
ular series of fly-on-the-wall profiles of people in the IT industry. Job title: Computer 2000 general manager of logistics
Salary band: #40,000+
Employment history: In 1989, started at Basingstoke head office, running logistics. Promoted to warehouse manager five years ago when the operation moved to the M40 Distribution Park near Warwick. Now general manager of logistics.
Favourite part of the job: Getting orders in and out of the warehouse on the same day.
Worst part of the job: Travelling. Visiting customers, trips to head office and journeys abroad.
Most embarrassing moment: Answered a phone call from Andy Gass but, not realising who he was, was rather abrupt with him and put the phone down. Not long after, an email circulated revealing that Gass had taken over as managing director of Datech, which had recently been bought by Computer 2000. Jim had to eat his share of humble pie. Gass is now deputy MD at Computer 2000.
Bond's day starts in the Computer 2000 warehouse, 100 miles away from its Basingstoke headquarters. Tucked away in the Warwickshire countryside, he looks over reports from the previous night with his first cup of tea. A warehouse manager's life is far from glamorous, and the first hour is spent checking post and catching up on paperwork. Bond is rather resigned to it: 'I'd say about 99 per cent of my job revolves around paperwork.'
After another cup of tea, he settles down to the real business of the day. 'Between 8am and 9am I look at goods inwards, which is the stock delivered by manufacturers. We don't fall more than one day behind with booking this onto the system because if it isn't booked in we can't sell it,' says Bond.
Time to catch up with his staff. Due to the amount of competition for warehouse employees in the Birmingham area, Bond is committed to his workforce and makes time for any problems. Out of 60 warehouse staff, there are about 20 pickers - people responsible for picking products for orders off the shelves. Bond takes the first of his daily walks around the warehouse, talking to staff to see if everyone is happy.
'We're currently getting about 2,000 orders a day and the pickers work until all these orders are out. We guarantee next-day delivery, so if an order is placed late, say at 7pm, that order must be fulfilled before staff leave,' he says.
Mid-morning is used for showing customers around the operation. PC Dealer's tour around the two warehouses took half an hour. When he's not showing people around his operation, Bond spends about five mornings every month visiting some of Computer 2000's top 50 customers.
Orders come in and are distributed between the pickers. It is their job to take the order form and load the requested goods on to the conveyor belt as quickly and accurately as possible.
Afternoons are spent in meetings with departmental managers reviewing and setting objectives. Bond and his three main managers - Ian Carnell, operations manager, Lee Halshaw, stock control manager, and Nick Singleton, goods inwards manager - are all friends. They've been with the distributor for years, starting in other departments and working their way up. This is Bond's whole ethos - to employ people you trust and promote from within.
Singleton, for example, started as a picker six years ago, learned the computer systems and worked his way up. He says: 'You won't find anyone here in a senior position who does it for the money. They are loyal to the company.'
If Bond is not reporting to Basingstoke, he is badgering staff about their love affair with Aston Villa football club. The warehouse's bonus scheme for hitting targets even includes sending a few staff to the odd Aston Villa match. Comments about last week's game are bandied about on another of Bond's walkabouts.
Calls to head office entail ringing sales desk managers to see if there are any problems and calling purchasing to check they are happy with what is coming through the warehouse. He normally finishes his rounds with a call to Gass in order to catch up on the latest developments.
'4pm is when the fun really starts,' says Bond. During the company's busiest time of the time, he takes a final walk around the warehouses, checking for problems and sometimes moving staff to different areas if they're having a bad day.
Between five and seven of the pickers work to fill the 40ft TNT trailers.
Trade has almost doubled over the year since it first employed the transportation company and about 17 lorries were being used by the end of March.
Part of this increase can be accounted for in portfolio changes.
'Over the last 18 months, we've been increasing hardware rather than software. Technology has moved rapidly into hardware as it is needed to drive the software,' says Bond, adding that hardware takes up more room in the lorries.
Computer 2000 has also moved its Dublin warehouse to Warwick and five per cent of orders go to the Republic of Ireland. This means that next-day delivery can sometimes involve making a loss. Bond says: 'If we can't get the order to Ireland by ferry, we have to put it on a plane.'
Bond gets home about 8pm, after an hour's drive. 'We're expecting business to tail down a bit soon - it usually does at this time of year,' he says.
With an average of between 4,000 and 5,000 items out per day, stock is turning twice a month, generating warehouse turnover of #60 million per month.
Bond's only complaints concern customers passing their grievances on to distributors, when distributors can't get the necessary support from manufacturers. 'Buyers are getting more demanding - and rightly so. But we need to be more assertive and pass on our demands. We need to get tougher and get vendors to produce deliveries when we need them.'
What comes in and what goes out at the warehouse
The Computer 2000 warehouse consists of two buildings, each 80,000 sq ft, situated in the M40 Distribution Park. It is full of precariously stacked shelves with every conceivable computer and accessory towering overhead. There is a main warehouse, where goods are picked and a feeder warehouse, which holds supplies for the main building.
The warehouse trade is divided into two categories - goods inwards and goods outwards. Goods inwards is where products coming in from suppliers are delivered and booked on to the computer system, which holds about #35 million of stock. This is the first area to open at the warehouse, beginning at 4am and continuing for about 12 hours.
The goods outwards division deals with orders that must be picked, packed and dispatched for the next day's delivery. The warehouse does between 30 and 50 per cent of the day's work between 5pm and 7pm.
In the last year, the volume of traffic in the operations centre has increased by 35 to 40 per cent, with about 2,300 consignments and 5,000 boxes dispatched every day.
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