Drivers are the backbone of not only the logistics industry, but the entire country. Without them, goods are not delivered, food cannot be put on shelves and the economy would simply fail to function. We hit the road with one of Walkers’ best to find out what makes them tick.
We spent a day behind the wheel with Class 1 driver, Andy who has been with us for two and a half years. Here’s how the day unfolded.
It’s a stunning early morning as we enter a hive of activity. Already fast-paced, the office is upbeat and set for another busy week. After a quick cuppa and a full briefing from the Traffic Office, the drivers head out keys in hand, armed with a consignment sheet. Before jumping in the cab, Andy fires up his Walkers App that plans his route and allows complete data transparency with customers, whilst also sharing progress with the internal team throughout the day.
“Being a driver is great”, says Andy. “I love meeting such a variety of new people out on the road. There is never a dull day at ‘the office’.
“Obviously there are many challenges that are part and parcel of the job. Out on the road, there are many factors that can differ each day but when everything runs smoothly it is SO rewarding.”
When discussing the ever-growing conversation around driver shortage within the industry, Andy said that, thanks to the company’s incentivisation and reward schemes such as the Elite Driver campaign, Walkers’ drivers are more determined than ever to keep the wheels moving.
“We have become a precious commodity”, Andy continues. “There are less of us because of the impact Brexit has had on the country and also the job market; not forgetting the pandemic, too.
“I enjoy working the morning shifts. You get to see the sun and the sky at its clearest – an element of peace being out and about before most people have started their working day.” Andy says before referring to his route mapper.
With technology at the forefront of our business, Walkers drivers have comprehensive delivery information at their fingertips thanks to our bespoke, custom-built software, which is crucial in ensuring we consistently deliver top quality service to all customers. This state of the art technology also projects a performance % which shows how many deliveries have been successfully completed within the specified 2 hour arrival window. We aim to progressively improve our service every single day.
We arrive at the first stop of the day, sun still not fully risen, right on time. The customer is there to greet us, giving a wave as we pull to the side of the road. The well-acquainted relationship between the customer and driver cements our values of working in absolute tandem with our customers. The delivery is completed with care and precision before the goods are whisked off into the business’ complex. Running ahead of schedule, there’s just enough time to discuss the weekend’s football before hopping back in the cab.
The rapport with customers is consistently evident as we work our way round our local drops. As we head back to the depot, the roads are busy as expected and it can be a dangerous place, but Andy is relaxed as we pull onto the motorway. The level of professionalism is remarkable and the quality of driving is nothing short of exceptional – no doubt thanks to our Driver Training Academy and the continuous investment from the company into ensuring Walkers drivers are the best in class.
Conversation soon turns back to the driver shortage and how important it is for the logistics industry to tackle this problem head on. “The WalkersBalance programme sounds fantastic. The one weekday off a week will vary so it’s fair on all drivers, which is a good thing,” says Andy.
“Having the opportunity to work less hours and have more family time is an attractive proposition
“Paired with our Warehouse to Wheels apprenticeship scheme, it would seem that Walkers are ahead of the curve when enticing new drivers into the industry – no matter what level of experience, you absolutely get the support here.”
That rounds off the day nicely as we pull back into the Walkers Transport Northern Hub in Leeds. A toot of his horn lets Andy’s colleagues know he’s turning the corner back into the warehouse and we park up so the vehicle is ready to go again the following morning.