Every day is different at a large site in Toll’s Global Logistics division. During my first rotation I have been placed at a site that operates 24 hours a day and is split into day, afternoon and night shifts. This site is fast-moving and dispatches approximately 1.7 million cartons per week. Toll runs the warehouse operation as the third-party for our customer which services stores throughout Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory.
Head off to the gym to start the day well with my housemates.
I leave home nice and early to avoid the morning traffic. On my first day, I found a small coffee shop on the way to the site that opens early and the friendly barista often gives me different roasts to try. It’s something I now look forward to on my drive to work!
I arrive at my site and check in with my rotation buddy. He is from Japan Post and has been with the company for 10 years. He was sent to Australia to gain experience in Toll’s operations. It has been exciting to learn about Japanese culture and I’ll often try to share ideas of different places he can visit while he is here. I will then quickly review my emails and check my calendar for any meetings coming up for the day. I then head down to the warehouse as this is where I will best gain experience in global logistics operations. As my university background is not in logistics, it amazes me how much I have learnt and now understand during my first rotation at Toll. It is important to always continue learning, even after university.
First meeting of the day is the daily 8.30am meeting with each department manager. The site operates 24/7 and every morning the managers of each department meet to share any safety issues, discuss how many pallets we are receiving from suppliers and how many cartons we will need to organise and despatch to our stores. I have found this experience invaluable during my rotation, especially seeing how experienced operational managers at a large site work together to achieve their targets and motivate their diverse teams.
After the daily morning meeting I head off to the automated department. It is fascinating to observe the automation from start to finish in this area. As I am currently working on a project in this department, it is important to know the system well, so I spend a few hours working to unpack items and organise store orders as well as liaising with the mission controllers who always monitor the system and be quick to adapt to any problems that arise. I will then continue to work on my project in preparation for updating the managers for an upcoming meeting.
Next it’s the weekly Continuous Improvement (CI) meeting. As Toll is focused on CI, I have been given the opportunity to attend these meetings on a weekly basis. Since the previous week’s meeting we have trialled some of the new ideas put forward, so I am enthusiastic to see how they went. These meetings have given me the chance to see how ideas are actioned and how people from different business units engage with each other productively and professionally. There is a great mindset that even established methods can be enhanced.
Time for a lunch break after a busy morning. The staff canteen has a pool table and table tennis, which can be a bit of fun between working and a good chance to get to know people around the site. There is a very friendly atmosphere here and, being a graduate, my colleagues are eager to know how my rotation is going and willing to offer help whenever I need it.
Afternoon shift starts soon and l head down a little early to check in with the managers and observe how they plan for the shift ahead. I assist the managers in welcoming the afternoon team members with an informal weekly catch-up called a Toolbox. It is great to see the rapport these managers have built with their team. After the shift has started, I assist in checking around the aisles for any safety hazards on a low level order picker (LLOP). This is a type of small forklift used in warehousing to pick items manually onto pallets. Learning how to safely drive this machinery was part of my on-site training during this rotation.
I join the afternoon despatch manager for a conference call with our customer’s counterparts in other states to review our performance for the previous week and identify if there are any operational aspects we can improve. During my time so far with Toll, it is evident how important it is to maintain and develop long-lasting relationships with our customers.
Check emails one last time and review what is ahead for tomorrow. It’s a nice feeling to start my drive home and before most of the afternoon traffic!