BLOG: Chris Berry, First Impressions
This is only my second month at Walkers/PepsiCo, but I’ve been a van driver for years. I’ve done courier work, worked for wholesalers and even a brewery.
If you’re new to the job – there is a great induction and plenty of support along the way – so you’d have nothing to worry about!
I’ve always been an early riser – and that’s helped by my youngest son only being 16 months old. So I’m up at 6am and tend to leave the house around 7.15am. I look after around 150 customers, so I’ll probably see them either weekly or fortnightly, depending on the size of their business.
I’ll get to the depot and check my route on the tablet for 10 minutes – load the van and then I’m off. Loading and unloading the van each day can be challenging but it helps to keep you organised with what stock you’ll need each day.
Perhaps surprisingly technology is really important in this job. You have to keep your skills up, but the training’s great and there’s always a manager on hand to offer support on all manner of issues. The tech really comes into its own when I’m setting my route.
To succeed in this job you need to build relationships. You might not sell to someone at first, but if you get yourself known, be persistent, then they’ll see you’re going to service them well and you’re not just looking for a quick buck. You know when a customer trusts you, when they’re taking your advice on stock levels and ranging. It is in both our interest for the product to look great on shelf and sell well. They have a whole shop to worry about – having someone solely focused on a high turnover product like crisps and snacks is a benefit for them.
Of course it helps to have some of the UK’s biggest and best-loved brands to sell. To a degree the product sells itself – but my job is to make sure they want to buy it from me. If I can keep their stock up and broaden their selection, then I’m adding value to their business and saving them time.
No job is perfect, but I can take the rough with the smooth. There are quiet days, when things don’t quite click – but this is why you need tenacity and persistence. You can use these days to build up relationships. What else is tricky? Well, I’m not looking forward to parking in the centre of Blackpool in high season, however the great thing about the job is the flexibility to work around these sorts of issues.
A good day is covering all my calls, hitting my numbers and then knocking off to watch my older son play tennis. If it’s been a tough day; I’ll punish myself by watching Leeds United.