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Q&A

Industry Q&A: Logistics with Kings Transport Group

Ash Choudhary: Contract Operations Supervisor

Logistics
Kings Transport is an Australian owned and operated logistics company that was established in 1991. It offers integrated supply chain solutions across Australia and New Zealand. Kings employs over 800 staff, and also engages more than 1300 subcontracted drivers across their vast networks.

Working in the logistics sector has never been such a great move for those seeking a stable, growth career. The Department of Employment indicates that many job roles in logistics are on the rise. For example, the number of Supply, Distribution and Procurement Managers grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow very strongly over the next 5 years, adding around 26,000 jobs.

The number of Purchasing and Supply Logistics Clerks will add around 46,000 job openings over this time. Both job roles earn salaries above the weekly median Australian average. So, what’s it really like to work in this job sector?

Ash Choudhary is a Contract Operations Supervisor at Kings Group, based in Victoria, who now oversees five driver supervisors, who look after around 180 drivers in total. Kings Transport manages the Woolworths online delivery services in Victoria, coordinating up to 17.5 thousand deliveries every week, and growing. Here, Ash tells us about his role in logistics for Kings, and why the sector is such an exciting growth industry in Australia.

Industry sector interview: Logistics with Kings Transport Group

What is unique about the logistics industry in Australia? What are some of the challenges and strengths of the market, how does the industry function, and why the sector is important?

The logistics industry is highly competitive and fast-paced, with a primary focus on safety and customer service. The challenges that we face are the fact that there is very tight competition and urgency in the market - and these two things require fast action; no matter what kind of operations you are dealing with.

Logistics maintains the majority of both businesses and households – because without transport, Australia stops. That’s not ‘just a saying’ – I have been working in logistics for many years now and I have found this to be true in practice.

How has Kings Transport achieved such prominence in the market – why are they a ‘stand out’ in the logistics industry?

By keeping our focus on our customers and providing continuous development for our people (employees). My personal career progression with Kings is a prime example of this.

What would a typical career path in logistics be?

Taking my own example; I started as a casual driver with Kings and moved into a fleet controlling role, looking after contracted drivers. Then I moved into the accounts department. Now I work in operations management; I look after five driver supervisors, who then look after about 180 drivers.

Because I started my career as a driver, I know how things work and what we can expect from our drivers, in terms of reasonable demand. I ensure they abide by all the set rules, regulations and laws. They need to keep safe on the road, and keep others safe on the road.

Industry sector interview: Logistics with Kings Transport Group

Describe the company culture of Kings Transport – how is that present throughout your departments?

Kings Transport has a very positive culture and company vibe. Particularly in my department, there is a big focus on employees’ morale and their job satisfaction. This is why we promote internal movement and we encourage people towards bigger and better opportunities.

We have a program called ‘Connect’ where managers assign tasks to their employees and have a regular one-on-one feedback session, on a monthly basis. So, if employees are facing issues, they can keep up with these, and managers can monitor progress. Managers seek to develop staff and give them as much support as possible, to make sure employees are constantly developing themselves.

What is it like managing “work flow” in logistics?

When managing logistics, our operation starts with a strong response to ‘urgency’, a focus on attention to detail, as well as regular follow up.

Our regular follow up process with customers is there to check and balance. We have a program called “Voice of Customers” which all our major services undertake, to ensure there is regular follow up. We have separate teams in all departments to keep contacting customers to make sure they are happy with the service, or to check if there is anything else we need to do.

What are some of the challenging parts of the industry?

I would say the constantly changing demands of customers. We aim to adapt, overcome and improvise. We promote the phrase, “Change is always good”.

How have customers’ expectations changed over the last few years?

Customers know there is a lot of competition in the market. We have to ensure that customers get what they have demand for. And having said that, with more competition, there are more options for customers – so demands go up and up. It’s our duty to keep increasing our offering, to meet customer demand.

Is there more demand for items to arrive from point A to point B more quickly?

Yes, and with a lot of new factors that are outside of anyone’s control. For example, there is more traffic on the roads than there was a decade ago. There are also more businesses offering logistics services and more customers too. Population growth is also a factor when you look at the growth of the industry as a whole. Yes, I would say that demand for logistics services has gone up.

Industry sector interview: Logistics with Kings Transport Group

Is there a lot of pressure with this type of role and did you need to build up your management skills?

Yes, I am on a constant learning trajectory. I try to learn something new every day. There are 180 drivers who report to the five driver supervisors who then report to me directly – so they are a big help; but I do like to stay close to the field staff; our drivers out on the road. It’s a good challenge and from talking to them, I get many learnings and insight into how they view their tasks and management processes; and how we can improve.

What are some traits you need to work in logistics?

Three key traits I look for when I recruit people would be
  1. Their safety behaviour
  2. Customer service skills
  3. Good communication
Good communication is especially relevant, because, with good communication, you provide enough information to the people you’re working with and that leads to staff empowerment – the more your people know, the more effectively they can action it.

Is staff empowerment something that Kings Transport stands behind?

Always. We don’t use the word ‘manager’ here, we prefer the terminology ‘leaders’. My senior manager always encouraged me to make decisions. Even if it’s ultimately the wrong decision, it’s a learning opportunity, so over time, we will make it right.

What is a recent project or contract you’ve been involved in?

Kings Transport is currently working on our Woolworths contract. We do Woolworths Delivery online in Victoria. I was working in operations and we managed to achieve 100% hand-held compliance.

We make about 17 thousand deliveries every week, so 100% of them were on track. All these deliveries were recorded on the phone app we use; nothing went off-hand, which was a good achievement. A Woolworths representative came out to our facility and rewarded myself and 12 other members of the Kings Transport team. That will definitely go up on my review notes!

Is this type of door-to-door, online service growing, year on year?

Yes, it is growing every day. We have had this contract for three years now, and it’s been constantly improving and increasing in numbers. In the first year of the contract, we were doing about 11 thousand deliveries in total, to today – where we do up to 17.5 thousand deliveries every week. It hasn’t stopped and it keeps on growing. More business is better for everyone; there are more jobs in logistics. 

Why do you love working in logistics?

Support from our senior managers and leaders and they encouragement they provide for me to  I make decisions, which is a good sign. I am empowered in my role, which is excellent. For me, money is not such a big factor, appreciation and acknowledgement are the main driving forces. At Kings Transport, if there are negatives that need to be passed on, we ensure that there are positives passed on as well; so we know if we are doing something that’s working.

Find out more about Logitics

To find out more about the Logistics sector, read Upskilled's Logistics Industry Insight. Or search online Logistics courses here.

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