A Day in the Life: Karl Cooling Assistant Warehouse Manager, Print Solutions
I have worked in Print Solutions for almost 13 years. I joined the company in late 2004
and I haven’t looked back since. The company has been in operation for 80 years and it’s been a family owned business for all that time. The family culture, general feeling and atmosphere has been a key factor in me staying here for this length of time.
As a business, currently we are thriving. Like many others we had very dark days in the recession but have come out the other side thanks to the efforts of everybody in the company. With the business doing well, we are expanding rapidly and have added a number of new members of staff over the past three years. There are many of the same staff working here since the day that I started. I notice new people settle in very quickly thanks to the atmosphere created by the core group that has been here for so long.
The difference for myself from working in Print Solutions compared to other companies is the bond you create with people right throughout the company. From Senior Management, right across every department we all know each other and take the time to talk, ask each other how we are, and dig in and help when we need to. For me, this is a unique experience as previously I worked in other companies that made you feel you or your role were not important.
The most enjoyable part of my day is the interaction between myself and other people. From working closely with the Sales and Purchasing teams to looking after customers’ needs on a daily basis you build up long standing friendships. A simple example of this was last July when I became a father for the first time. I was totally taken back by the gifts and well wishes we received from the team here and from numerous customers.
In the weeks, months and year since, I still get asked how everything is going at home. I have worked in different types of roles throughout my career, including AIB in the IFSC. I believe it is very important to enjoy what you do for a living, being very much a people person I have always felt that my skill set was more suited to the role that I currently hold in Print Solutions. As well as being enjoyable and a good cultural fit for me, my role can be immensely challenging.
My Day: For me, the most important role for the Warehouse is customer service. In our industry, we must be flexible and we pride ourselves on the fact that our customers can place an order with us right up to our closing time of 5:30pm from anywhere in the country and they will have the confidence to know their goods will be delivered the next day.
To facilitate this, we split our shifts so as we have full coverage across the day. I start at 8:00am with two of my team and we ensure all early morning deliveries are dispatched quickly. Three of our team start at 8:30am which coincides with the general company start time with the remaining members starting at 9:30am ensuring that they are on site to cover off any requirements at the end of the day.
Once the initial deliveries have been dispatched I will review any issues outstanding from the close of business the previous day. I then carry out a full walk through of our two warehouses followed by a discussion and allocation of key tasks for the day to the team.
It can be a bit of a cliché but a large part of every day is completely different to the last. Within my role in the Warehouse there are certain elements we can control but the industries we service are incredibly fast paced and demand driven.
I have weekly meetings with our Purchasing Team to plan delivery schedules and am in constant contact with our Sales Team to prioritise and manage their requirements. It would not be uncommon for daily operation plans to be over taken by mid-morning orders from customers for early or delayed deliveries.
In addition to the standard challenges of managing a warehouse we also offer a number of other services to our customers in relation to cutting and sizing products. A key part of my role is ensuring that the correct resources are allocated to the different functions within the warehouse. As well as the standard operations of receiving deliveries, stock control, picking and dispatch I also manage workloads on the relevant machinery we have – including two Flatbed-Saw’s, a Wall-Saw, a Guillotine, two Slitters and a Sheeting machine.
We take a lot of pride in Print Solutions in terms of working closely and developing our teams. On a daily basis, I will ensure I spend some time one-on-one with everyone, whether double checking orders or helping them with tasks they are possibly unfamiliar with. I then follow up with separate formal one on one training session.
In addition to my core role I am a member of the companies Health and Safety (H&S) Team. We meet at least once a month, and depending on issues from the previous month, procedures and training schemes are implemented. Being a cross departmental team we all bring different skills and perspectives to the H&S role which really helps you develop an understanding for wider issues.
I am also the Fire Warden for the Warehouse and am an Occupational First Aider. Luckily, we have not had any serious incidents to date in relation to fire or accidents. I am very conscious of the additional responsibility I have in helping to ensure we keep up to date with training and that we are legally compliant in relation to fire and H&S regulations. In conjunction with my core role in the warehouse each day, it can bring different challenges but it is this variation that makes my job all the more interesting.