Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

My Job in… Logistics: Jamie Howells, General Manager, Express Deliveries

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BNW speaks to Jamie Howells about challenges and rewards of working in a large logistics company in Wales

Why did you decide to work in logistics?

After a successful decade in sales and business development, I entered the world of logistics in 2016 as Owens diversified into Home Delivery and last-mile operations. This role was perfect for me as I had transferrable skills that would allow me to support the operations and grow the business.

Tell us about how you joined Express Deliveries.

Owens diversified into the “parcel world” and were seeking a manager to help them grow the operation. My brother had worked in Owens since he left school and had nothing but good things to say about the company.

How long have you worked at Express Deliveries?

Six years.

Explain your job to us in a sentence.

I oversee the Home and Express Deliveries service within the organisation including the group’s latest acquisition, Celtic Couriers.

What does your average working day look like?

Checking the previous day’s KPIs and figures, catching up with department heads and ensuring plans for the following day are set. Due to overseeing several sites across south Wales and southwest, I can't be in each site on a daily basis. I like to check in with staff to see how they are doing and if there are any problems I can help them with.

What’s the best part of working in logistics?

The satisfaction of a successful peak would probably be the best single moment of the year, however, the satisfaction of empowering and mentoring my team, seeing them grow as professionals is something that I very much enjoy.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on our latest acquisition (Celtic Couriers) which is a member of the APC network. We are currently restructuring the business and laying foundations for the business to cope with the growth we foresee over the next five years.

What are your job’s biggest challenges?

The biggest challenge that comes with the role is the volatility in daily volumes, we must plan right the way up into the late evening to ensure we have enough labour to meet the following day's service.

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in logistics?

Drivers are disinterested and careless. In the world we live in, bad news spreads faster than good news. All to often you see on social and in the news that drivers are poor for some reason or another, which is so far from the truth. Drivers are the backbone of the company and brand ambassadors. I believe more spotlight should be shone on them and the hundreds of promises they keep every day.

What advice would you give to people wanting to work in construction?

Be ready for a different challenge every day.

What are the major challenges facing the sector and how does your role factor into tackling them?

Sourcing vehicles and good people, we have pre-ordered vehicles for the next three years to ensure we don’t get hit by supply issues, as a company we like to invest in staff to allow our staff to grow and support the business.

What does the future hold for you and Celtic Couriers?

We would like Celtic Couriers to become a household name in south Wales. we are working on strengthening our brand and social presence to allow the business to gain more customers and to be the “go-to” choice of courier in the area. The business is hoping to have several electric vans on the road by the end of the year.

Celtic Couriers is based in Burry Port and part of the Owen Group, the UK’s leading Transport & Warehousing Company.