Growing up, Dudley Smith wanted to do one thing and one thing only. Drive trucks.
Now, 19 years into his career as a Class 1 HGV driver with Pall-Ex member Cranleigh Distribution Limited (Cranleigh), he still has the same passion for logistics and trucks that he had when he began.
We spoke to Dudley to find out why he still loves his job after almost 20 years!
What made you want to drive trucks?
I’ve always wanted to drive trucks for as long as I remember. I have always loved the idea of being able to drive for work and see different parts of the world.
As soon as I could, I took my tests and gained my licences so I could head out onto the roads in trucks.
I started in smaller Collection and Delivery trucks and then progressed into the larger 44 tonne trucks.
What does your daily routine involve working for Cranleigh?
I arrive at the depot for 7 AM and I check my vehicle over before the start of the day. Then, I get it ready to be loaded with all the freight that has come in overnight from the Pall-Ex hub in Leicestershire.
Loading the trailer is trickier than some people think because we have to ensure the weight is spread out evenly, as well as making sure we fit over 40 pallets on. It’s like a big version of Tetris!
Once I’m all loaded up, I head out to make my deliveries. Driving the larger trucks, I tend to deliver to our bigger customers who have a number of pallets on the trailer. These can take a while to be unloaded so it gives me chance to grab a coffee while I wait.
After I have made all my deliveries, I then make collections around our local area.
After all my collections have been made, I head back to the depot, help unload my vehicle and then head home after a busy day.
The only potential downside about the job can sometimes be that you can get delayed, meaning you get back late, but that could happen working in an office, a hospital or in catering. That’s just life.
What about your daily routine do you enjoy most?
All the staff at Cranleigh are amazing. They are the best part about the job.
A lot of people think driving a truck can be quite lonely, but when you have a great team back at base it isn’t at all.
Also, I have got to know a lot of our customers over the years and seeing them most days is great, as well as meeting new customers. Leaving them happy after doing a good job is a real highlight of the role for me.
When you meet people, what’s the most common thing people say to you?
People are always amazed by the size of these trucks! They are always very impressed that we can drive such big trucks so precisely.
With the trailer fully loaded, they can weigh up to 44 tonnes, which is hard to get your head around. Try to imagine seven and a half Elephants! That’s how much weight I’m in control of.
Navigating some smaller roads with that weight can be a little challenging sometimes our specialised training prepares us for it.
Finally, is there any advice you would give to someone looking to get into the industry?
I love this job and everything that goes with it.
If you enjoy meeting new people, seeing different parts of the country and working in a great team then driving and logistics is definitely a route to go down.
The initial training is challenging, but it has to be. Once you pass your licences, the opportunities are amazing if you are committed to giving your best every single day!
For more information about Cranleigh Distribution, please visit https://www.cranleighdistribution.co.uk/