Logistics has played a major role in Neil Smith’s career so far.
After spending eight years in the British Army with the Royal Logistics Corps (RLC), he now works as a driver for Pall-Ex Shareholder member Pall-Ex South West, delivering in and around Exeter every day.
We spoke to Neil to find out why he chose a career in logistics and what he enjoys about the industry.
Tell us a little bit about your role with Pall-Ex South West.
"I’m a LGV Class 1 and 2 multi-drop driver, so that means I drive a wide range of vehicles day-to-day and make deliveries and collections for customers on every run I do.
I’ve been here for one year so far and I love it. Every day is different, with new challenges and opportunities."
What made you chose a career in logistics?
"I’ve always loved driving, for as long as I can remember!
I joined the RLC in the British Army when I was 17 years old, and I gained my LGV licences whilst serving. I loved my eight years in The Army, but once that came to an end, I still had a passion and a skillset for a career in logistics.
Everyone at Pall-Ex South West and the customers I meet are all great people, and that is another reason why logistics seemed like the right path for me, as I have always enjoyed working as part of a team to achieve a common goal."
What does a “normal” day look like for you when you are on the road?
"As a multi-drop driver, I tend to stay fairly local, within our patch.
My usual area takes in Exeter, so this means I am usually making deliveries to shops, garages and homes. The variety of deliveries always means I have to keep on my toes. Being in Exeter, the traffic and access can be a challenge, especially the closer to the centre I get!
I would say that over the course of the day, I will make between 12 and 19 drops plus collections. The mixture of rural and urban locations means every drop presents a new challenge."
What is the best part about your job and what do you enjoy most about driving an LGV?
"I feel like I am very lucky to travel to different places and see a wide range of locations when I am out in the trucks. I’ve always enjoyed driving and visiting different places, so combining the two is perfect for me.
Another aspect that I enjoy is the team spirit at Pall-Ex South West. They are a great group of people and they make the job even better.
Also, I have to say that I love meeting new people on a daily basis and making nearly 20 deliveries each day is a great opportunity to do that.
People, most of the time, are very happy to see me turn up in my vehicle and to receive their pallet so putting a smile on their face is a perk of the job!"
What is your least favourite part of the job?
"The main thing that can get frustrating is when I have to wait for freight that is not ready for collection. It means I get delayed for the rest of the day which can cause me issues with other deliveries further down the line.
Other than that, I don’t really see any negatives to what I do!"
Finally, what do you think might surprise people about what you do?
"I think the most common thing that surprises people when they see or hear what I do is just how big the trucks really are!
Being a Class 1 and 2 licenced means that I can drive the smaller 7.5 tonne vehicles all the way up to the 44 tonne ones. Making deliveries into narrow streets and small spaces can be a challenge in vehicles that need so much room, but thankfully my experience helps me to always find a way.
A lot of people definitely don’t appreciate the size of these things!"