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Stars shine at Christmas

Colleagues across Distribution and Fleet went the extra mile

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During Christmas Peak 2019, we recognised individuals or teams who went above and beyond in demonstrating our values this festive season – Be Positive, Be Brilliant, Be Part of it. Well done to all our nominees!

  • Richard Pitman (Cardiff Distribution Late Shift) – Richard and the entire shift showed extraordinary versatility and flexibility throughout a very difficult Autumn pressure and Christmas period, which played out against a backdrop of high long-term sick absence and a huge workload increase with limited overtime resource. Nothing was too much trouble; they showed strong team values and a good positive approach to the tasks at hand. Going the extra mile is part of the whole shift ethos.
  • Sean Crawford (Aberdeen Distribution) – On Monday 9 December Sean went tech airside with 36 yorks of mail on board (out of 39 yorks taken out to the airport). Due to time constraints our second driver was required to return to base. This meant Sean had to help the handlers move 36 yorks plus the three yorks on board from one plane back into to his vehicle and then into to a new ‘plane. He showed true resilience to ensure that the people of Shetland received their mails.
  • Diana Swift (Warrington Rail Terminal) – Every year Di organises an honesty box of treats for the staff at the rail terminal. Each item is around 50p and she keeps the stocks replenished on a regular basis. She monitors the profits and supports her peers through sponsored and seasonal events. This year, the site raised over £700. Di organised that the money be spent on toys, which were then collected by a charity and distributed amongst children’s homes and hospitals.
  • Mel Sancaster (Peterborough VOC) – Mel organised the flower operation in Peterborough, which entailed planning and going the extra mile in what is a huge amount of work for the business - 26 Artics on peak day. Mel worked weekends and volunteered to be onsite at the flower company to oversee the collections on Peak.
  • Kevin McGlynn (Whitechapel Distribution) – Kevin is the glue that holds the team together. He works variable shift times and patterns when requested to support the Operation. Several times this year, Kevin attended the site outside his fixed working hours to help resolve matters relating to RCS, Christmas planning, agency inductions, annual leave allocation, sick leave and IT. These tasks ensured that financial reports and forecasts were delivered in a timely manner. The dedication and commitment of this man is legend.
  • Rob Smith (Canterbury Distribution) – Rob consistently goes above and beyond in his role as an OPG driver. He is flexible and positive when asked to change content, or to try a new idea. Rob has some of the best driver scores, with very low instances of harsh braking and harsh acceleration. A team player, he has a good relationship with other drivers. Sadly, Rob suffered a heart attack in December, but after several days in hospital is recuperating at home. The incident had an impact on the other drivers, showing what an influential and positive member of the team he is.
  • Debbie Wilson (National Distribution – Performance and Efficiency – Central area) – Debbie played a fundamental role in the deployment of agency workforce over Christmas. She designed a process that allowed agency to be assessed earlier in the year, removing peak pressure from the Advanced Driver Coaches (ADCs) and lowering the risk of unfilled spaces or the supply of lower standard drivers. The approach also allows critical management insights and more constructive conversations about the performance of agency suppliers.
  • Roy Crompton, Ian Peake, Christian Henderson, Andy Selwood and Steve Billingham (CV and NDC ADC team) – Roy (Lead ADC) and the other ADCs supported Atherstone temporary VOC brilliantly. This year there was a significant uplift in agency supply for Atherstone and NDC VOCs. All new agency drivers required a Royal Mail driving assessment and, if successful, an induction.  To help meet this increased demand an assessment ‘school’ was established at Atherstone VOC and the team completed circa 350 assessments between mid-September and mid-December. This actively contributed to a c90% reduction year-on-year on the use of road haulage contractors (RHCs). The agency driver market place is fiercely competitive as there is a national HGV driver shortage. Being able to quickly and professionally provide assessment and induction slots was critical to securing this resource, as well as being significantly cheaper and providing better quality than RHCs.
  • Lloyd Talbot (Fleet Maintenance – Midlands and Wales) – Lloyd manages a cluster of workshops. In the week before Black Friday, his line manager severely fractured and dislocated her ankle. Lloyd immediately took over the reins of her role as well as covering his own.  He supported all the other workshop managers in the area through the challenges of peak, especially the big hub workshops in Coventry and Crick.  The whole team praised him for how well he supported them. Nothing has been too much trouble.
  • Martin Davidson (Aberdeen Distribution) – On 10 and 11 December, the Northwards ferry that travels from Aberdeen to Shetland was cancelled. At short notice, Martin agreed to cover a double rotation of the flights for both days to ensure that the people of Lerwick got as much mail by air as possible.  On the first day, Martin noticed that the handlers and pilot were not using the compartment C1, which would have had the correct capacity for the bulk-out. Martin challenged this and the air team ensured that the all handlers are trained to ensure that the flight was fully utilised.
  • Andy Tilley, Russell Watkins and Sharron Brown (Leeds MC Distribution) – On 12 December, YDC had an access issue due to a lorry striking a bridge. Andy, Russell and Sharron helped take mails destined for YDC and set-up an emergency cross-docking operation to connect mails in the North East Area. Their actions and support not only supported customer service, but also the Royal Mail network by not leaving mail stranded and requiring a major recovery. Their professionalism was outstanding.
  • Andy Westwood (West Mids Workshop) – Andy and his team supported the operation which was struggling with high numbers of vehicles off the road, meaning they were very close to failing services. Andy understood the concerns with 7.5t vehicles and focused his team on turning these. Andy and his team went out of their way to fix the vehicles and help secure service for our customers.
  • Paul Harman and Stephen Philip (Guildford Workshop, London & South East Area) – Paul and Stephen provided fantastic support on site at Jubilee Mail Centre (JMC), supporting the fleet out of service on a daily basis by pulling out all the stops to keep the 7.5t fleet on the road at whatever cost. JMC is a high impacting site for out of service and daily has double figures of vehicles off the road. These two technicians had a massive impact supporting the customer and supported the pipeline journey of the mail.
  • Michael Partridge (Fleet and Maintenance (Central and East) Milton Keynes Cluster) – Michael was part of the training and deployment team for the planning tool and did a fantastic job in many workshops. Since returning to the team, he supported the area and nationally through additional training and support calls for managers on building resource plans and deployed reporting interventions in support of effective resource management. Michael also took over Huntingdon workshop, which was failing on many levels. He retrained supervisors, addressed production control and challenged decision making in the unit, which resulted in a turnaround in performance plus significant reductions in VOR hires and related costs to the business.
  • Jack Bennett (Fleet and Maintenance (Central and East) Sheffield Cluster) – Jack has a real can-do attitude and is an extremely capable and reliable team member who goes the extra mile in supporting the wider area. He is Shift Supervisor at Grimsby, but supported and covered his line manager’s role (Cluster Manager Sheffield) over the last 12 months - especially during periods of high VOR and overdue vehicles. He met the challenge head on and achieved reductions in both aspects. As the cluster cover for Peterborough, he provided cover in an extremely challenging environment. Jack also provided resources and personal support to Boston Workshop.
  • Kate Wigmore (SWDC VOC) – Kate did a magnificent job in keeping our Christmas Hired fleet compliant. She also challenged Nexus to ensure we do not overpay when vehicles are VOR, was helpful to other VOCs by loaning hire kit, and built relationships with local dealers and workshops to ensure excellent value. Kate has been extremely proactive with de-hire information to ensure enough notice to collect kit and also furnished Traffic Office Managers (TOMs) with the fuel amounts to send back, saving the business cash.
  • Daniel McGurk (Crick Workshop) – Daniel ensured a seamless performance throughout the Christmas period, helping Royal Mail to deliver a great Christmas.
  • Kevin Pidgeon (NHC VOC) – Kevin worked closely with the planner to ensure all the peak plans were correct for the busiest time of the year. He went over and above by checking the duties, what drivers can do what duties, plus planning the eves and resumptions. He also looked at any saving opportunities within the peak duties, ensuring that agency staff worked a full shift. Kevin is always willing to go over and above his responsibilities – from going to agency meetings on behalf of the VOC to training another OPG to cover his role when he is on annual leave.
  • Amanda Peters (Edinburgh Distribution) – Throughout the year Amanda raised money for a local charity, CHAS (Children’s Hospices Across Scotland) through football cards and charity events. At Christmas, Amanda held her annual Festive Raffle for which the teams donate items (usually wine, biscuits or sweets) and purchase tickets. Over the course of 2019, she raised well in excess of £1000 for this charity.
  • Jason Harford (SWDC VOC) – Jason excelled in the local management of agency assessments this peak period, challenging process and compliance issues with local suppliers to ensure protection of the company brand and everyday road users. He highlighted several issues relating to outstanding training of agency colleagues, then went above and beyond by working outside of his usual attendance times and days of week to complete this – thereby ensuring that the drivers could maximum their earnings during this important time of the year.
  • Dave Wall (Plymouth Workshop) – Plymouth Workshop ‘lost’ two HGV Technicians during 2019. Dave, one of two remaining HGV Technicians, was fantastic in the amount of jobs he turned around to keep the HGV fleet on the road. Many days in December Dave was the only HGV Technician on site; his selfless dedication was outstanding. In addition, he helped train two other Technicians to ensure better HGV coverage in the future. All his colleagues recognise the great job Dave does every day but over Christmas pressure he went the extra mile on numerous occasions.
  • Bob Dickson (Warrington Distribution) – On Friday 20 December, just outside Northwich, Bob came upon an RTC immediately after it had happened and the other driver had fled the scene. Bob immediately took control and calmed the injured driver, who was trapped in his vehicle complaining of back pain; Bob even took the time to contact his place of work to advise them of the accident. The Police were en route when Bob noticed that the car was smoking quite badly, so he flagged down a passing motorist who had a fire extinguisher with them. This demonstrated Bob’s calm and quick-thinking at the scene.
  • Osman Murad and Rehaz Jusub (Preston VOC) – Osman and Rehaz have been ‘on loan’ to Preston VOC from NWH and also control the Saturday night national trailer exchange at Preston Mail Centre. Very often, there is either a discrepancy or omission of data in the RSL, driver’s job description or the cancellation of legs that have not been notified to either CPC or Preston VOC. Osman and Rehaz always find a way to secure the connectivity of mail. Some of the swaps are complex (up to five ways), so they scrutinise the RSL for opportunities within existing routes or utilise empty legs identified from arriving drivers; and always keep CPC fully informed, very often working closely with CPC to find a solution. Their actions prevented significant quality failures through their own ingenuity, knowledge of the network, and fantastic communication with other VOCs and CPC and the Process team on site at Preston. Osman takes the lead on reporting and always updates the ADM planners by email at the end of shift on any issues he has identified with driver’s duties that attend the Preston trailer exchange to ensure issues are resolved and prevent a reoccurrence.