Career in distribution

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Jack Gale is a distribution controller. He ensures that free newspapers and leaflets are delivered directly to hour homes.

Can you describe your role?

I manage the distribution of free newspapers and magazines across the region. My company also offers a distribution service, where businesses pay us to deliver their marketing literature, like leaflets and flyers, to households together with the free paper. I am responsible for managing the delivery of all this information direct to people's homes.

You don't personally deliver each one by hand do you?

I don't but we employ agents who manage the teams of people who deliver to homes across the region. It's my job to ensure that our targets are achieved and that papers are delivered on time to all households in the area.

Do you do anything else?

Yes. I process the wages for the agents and the deliverers each week. This involves entering the number of hours each person has worked onto our computer system so they are paid the right amount.

I also deal with any queries or problems that may occur with the distribution of leaflets and check that they are actually being enclosed with the paper and delivered in the right week.

Who do you work with?

We have split up the region into three and I work with two colleagues who cover the rest of the area. Also, I am in daily contact with the agents. I work very closely with the transport and warehouse departments to ensure that the right numbers of papers are delivered to agents at the right time and that everything runs smoothly.

What qualities do you need to do your job in distribution?

You need good communication skills, both verbal and written. People skills are essential, both for dealing with clients who pay for leaflets to be delivered and for motivating agents to meet targets. The key is being courteous at all times, listening to other people's concerns and coming up with a workable solution to their problem.

What equipment do you use?

I rely on a computer for keeping track of deliveries and hours worked and for writing letters and e-mails. I also use an IT program which helps me map out the areas for each agent. This helps me to keep the distribution network as neat as possible to the agent.

What hours do you work?

Roughly from 9am to 5.30pm.

However, I have to stay at work until the job is done, so its important to be flexible.

What training did you need for your career in distribution?

I learned most of my customer service skills in a previous job, where I had a lot of customer contact and did a lot of customer care training. My present company gave me management training which taught me how to organise the delivery schedule as well as help with task management.

Jack's route to his career in distribution

  • GCSEs.
  • A levels.
  • BA in Historical and Critical Studies.
  • Work with a Journal as a household direct trainee.
  • Promoted to distribution controller.

Jack's tips

  • A qualification in marketing would be a useful background for this work.
  • Demonstrate your communication skills to employers by achieving good grades in English.

Distribution related jobs

  • Buyer
  • Customer services manager
  • Freight forwarder
  • Merchandiser
  • Road transport manager
  • Warehouse worker/manager

Salary workking in distribution

  • Starting salaries for graduates are around £15,000.
  • Experienced distribution managers earn around £30,000 rising to a senior level of £60,000.

How to work in distribution

  • There are no formal entry qualifications to become a distribution manager. However, many new entrants have a diploma or degree in subjects which include international transport, logistics, supply chain management, transport management and geography. Other business degree and diploma courses may also be relevant.
  • Apprenticeships may be available.
  • It is possible to start in a junior post, for example, as a transport clerk, and with training and experience work up to supervisory and management positions.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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