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the magazine for all yodel colleagues


6 Issue 6 may 2013

success by the book! Page 15

win! Page 16

blueprint for success Pages 4-5 recognition revolution Pages 6-7

10 yourcall

postcode perfect…

Yodel has delivered a great experience for Andy Stanley – right on his doorstep. When he took redundancy after 17 years as an employed driver, he was soon back on the road for the company as a neighbourhood courier. Now, five years on, the 46-year-old has won high praise working in his home village and surrounding area. One customer said Andy “delivers a great customer experience”. They added: “He is friendly, can’t do enough for the customer and is a great advocate for Yodel and for SDG brands.” Andy had to drive the 35 miles to Warrington service centre at 5am each morning when his Liverpool depot closed before landing the self-employed neighbourhood courier role. “Now sacks of parcels are delivered to my home by 10.30am most days,” said Andy. “I deliver to homes in two postcode areas – including the village where I live – and mostly finish by 5pm. “It’s fantastic being less than five minutes from home. “Peak is always more of a challenge, but is fine providing you are organised and flexible. “This year, I treated myself to a small van so peak was perfect. “I’ve got to know a lot of people delivering around my local area.” n

Andy Stanley

Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to delivering excellent customer service – and our versatile third party partners – neighbourhood couriers, service partners and owner drivers – provide just that…

flexible friends are first class “Third party partners play a vital role in making sure customers get the best delivery experience,” said head of on the road resourcing Kelvin Mullings, who is responsible for the processes, including legal, that owner drivers and service partners work to. “We have a planning department which works out where to use owner drivers, service partners or couriers depending on parcel volume and geographical areas in order to maximise productivity. “Service partners generally own a limited company employing two or

more drivers and vehicles to make their deliveries. “They organise their own drivers to cover the tours they are given and, like owner drivers, deliver a mix of business to business and home delivery parcels. “Owner drivers are self-employed individuals who, alongside the service partners, wear Yodel uniforms and own or lease vehicles with Yodel livery. Both work from our service centres and they arrange their workload as parcel volumes fluctuate.” At the start of May, Yodel had 300 owner drivers and 186 service partners across the UK, who cover 1,534 tours.

In a typical week our OTR – on the road – resource was more than 5,000, including more than 3,000 neighbourhood couriers, handling 32.4 per cent of parcel volume. “Couriers use their own cars,” said Kelvin. “We try to look for a neighbourhood courier to live within the postcode they are going to cover, maximising their local area knowledge. We have come on leaps and bounds since integration in terms of service delivery – the mix of different third parties gives great flexibility so we can resource in line with volume and it’s working well.” n

cash in on our F&F scheme A recent opinion survey carried out with the couriers found the job’s flexibility was the biggest plus point. “They like the work because it fits well around their other responsibilities,” said Kim Edwards, pictured right, who works with the courier resourcing team. “A working mum can fit deliveries in with school runs, while we have a retired chap who says it gets him out of the house and meeting people. The volume of parcels fluctuates, so the importance of having such a flexible workforce cannot be stressed enough.”

The Friends and Family referral scheme has been helpful for getting more couriers on board. “We had more than 170 F&F recommendations during the run-up to our last peak when we had to find over 1,000 neighbourhood couriers,” said Kim. “The scheme is ongoing and most couriers know about it – one referred 11 people. “We now want to encourage more colleagues across Yodel to put forward the names of friends and family who may like to join the self-employed courier network.

“Anyone can make referrals and it’s a great opportunity to earn extra cash – if the new courier completes eight weeks with the business the person recommending them gets £50.” To refer family and friends for courier work from any of our service centres you can email your details and theirs – name, home postcode, telephone number and your EAN – to or contact the regional third party manager. n

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variety scores

Martin Cameron kicked off a successful job working as an owner driver for Yodel when a knee injury forced him to quit his footballing career. A decade on, the 34-year-old dad of two is very happy with his flexible role making deliveries in Edinburgh city centre. “It’s a hard day’s work but I enjoy it,” said Martin, who is often out on the road by 6am. “You are out in the fresh air and meet different people every day. I like the freedom and the flexibility that being self-employed brings. Because I leave early morning, I finish about 3.30pm and get back in time to play with my daughter Kristin. Martin says he enjoys the pressure of making sure customers get deliveries on time. “I started working for Yodel more than 10 years ago after a bad injury made me give up my career as a footballer,” said Martin, who played for Bristol Rovers and several Scottish sides. “I still like this job – particularly the variety of the work. Every day is different and you never know what’s going to happen.” n

Martin Cameron

brand booster

Michelle Guy with four-year-old son Matthew

mum is one of the best

When busy mum of three Michelle Guy wanted a flexible job she joined Yodel as a self-employed courier and hasn’t looked back. “I needed a flexible role to fit in around my family and other commitments,” said the 39-year-old who has another part-time job doing admin for her brother-in-law. “Being a courier for Yodel is ideal as I can work my deliveries around everything else, which makes life a lot easier.”

Michelle, who joined Yodel three years ago, is one of 68 neighbourhood couriers working out of Nantgarw service centre after she spotted the job on a parenting website. “She’s very professional – one of my best couriers,” said service delivery manager Sian Hurley. “Michelle mostly finds her own cover when she wants time off and her parcels always get delivered on time. “She’s very flexible and will go out of her way to do anything to help.” n

excellent… that’s rob Rob Harman has won high praise for his work based out of Newton Abbot service centre. Juggling the work of five drivers over three or four routes is a tough task for the service partner, but his manager within Yodel, Chris Balls, said he “displays excellent attitude”. Trading under the name RJH Delivery Solutions, Rob said it has proved tough but is hoping things will get easier. “We operate a six-day service,” said Rob. “Beside three tours which I run in different areas for Yodel, I also have a courier run to cover for the company. I step in if my drivers need a hand – or to help the service centre

if necessary. If they need me they know I will always go and help them out if I possibly can. “Keeping the routes covered and my drivers happy has been quite a juggling act, particularly this last few months, but service centre manager Nigel Richards is very supportive – he’s a good listener and understands the challenges we face.” n

Rob Harman

Thirteen may be unlucky for some, but not for service partner Ladi Akinfolarin, who has 13 tours working out of Reading. “I’ve been driving all my life and now run my own company – A2B Business Enterprises Ltd,” said Ladi. “All my 20 drivers are now in Yodel uniform and we are getting the logo put on our new vans. “We want Yodel to grow and I see the branding as key for that.” Having worked in the past as an owner driver and courier for Yodel, Ladi said his hard work over the last seven years has paid off. “Because I was really good for the company over peak 2006, they offered me a route and it grew from there,” said Ladi. “The support has been great – through my cluster manager Darren Hall and service partner development manager Helen Page. I am grateful for the opportunities Yodel has given me.” n

Fresh chance

Our third party colleagues can now be recognised as part of our Living the Values recognition scheme. Owner drivers, service partners and neighbourhood couriers who actively live our Values are eligible for nomination, too. “They are an important part of our frontline team,” said Kim Edwards. “They now have the opportunity to Be… recognised for great efforts and achievements alongside other colleagues.” n

12 yourcall

retirement savings start here Major pension law changes that came into force in 2012 mean that around 4,000 colleagues will soon be automatically saving for their retirement. The auto enrolment legislation covers all employed colleagues without a company pension between 22 and retirement age and earning between £9,400 and £41,450 a year (£787.67 and £3,454.17 a month). It requires employers to sign up eligible colleagues automatically into a company pension scheme. Ann Jones, head of reward, said employed colleagues will receive a letter in May giving more details. “If you don’t get one, please let the HR self service desk know,” said Ann. “Auto enrolment helps make it easier to save for your retirement with both colleagues and the business paying one per cent of your salary into the new Yodel Auto Enrolment Pension Scheme. “The first payments will be taken in July. By the end of the first week in August, if you are eligible, you will receive a pack from provider Standard Life with details of the scheme and the options available to you.” To update your contact details – if you have computer access, log a call via the HR Service Desk portal (there’s a link on the intranet homepage). Otherwise, call 0151 345 4500. n

in this issue, we focus on a team of engineers busy behind the scenes keeping our sort operations rolling…

making sure we keep on running With nearly 11 kilometres of conveyor belt and 1,000 electric motors driving the Hatfield sort system, our maintenance department has a big challenge to keep everything running smoothly. “We are there to make sure that if the system fails or stops for any reason, it is restored in the shortest time,” said Hatfield engineering manager Ian Gladwell. “It is interesting, diverse work dealing with electrical, mechanical or software issues which may arise, potentially stopping operations.” Ian is responsible for the whole team, including system support technicians Nick Hinch and Ian Sergeant working alongside senior maintenance supervisors Barry Camis, Chris Thomas and Shaun Daly.

gettingto know you While Nick and Ian look after the high-level control systems including software for all the conveyors, the supervisors are responsible for mechanical and electrical maintenance of the sortation equipment. Working with maintenance technicians Marc Beaton, Paul Nunn, Simon Burgess, Ian Hazell and Rob McCubbine, they carry out all planned and preventive electrical and mechanical maintenance. The team works split shifts to ensure the engineering and controls side is covered 24 hours, five days a week – and innovation plays a role. “Our overall job is to keep

Engineering team members, left to right, Ian Hazell, Paul Nunn, Ian Sergeant, Chris Thomas, Shaun Daly and Simon Burgess

everything running during operational periods to minimise any downtime,” said Ian. “This could range from solving an issue with the parcel conveyor system, like a motor failure, to an electrical or software fault. “The team carries out preventative maintenance on day shifts and reactive repairs on nights. We rarely have to contact external contractors now, fixing most problems in-house, so our engineers’ expertise has to be broad. “The job also involves looking ahead to replace or upgrade parts of the system before they become obsolete. “We aim to keep all the machinery working efficiently and effectively.” There is a great respect for the team, which at times has to work under great pressure to restore a working

yourcall 13

system uptime is 98.8%

Marc Beaton is the team’s longest-serving colleague, having been with the business 17 years

system while remaining safety conscious. “We spent around £40,000 last year for health and safety working at height equipment,” said Ian. “If there’s a parcel blockage or for maintenance in general, our engineers or operations colleagues need to be able to climb up and access the machinery safely – the recent installation of platforms provides improved safer access. “We are constantly busy – if not

maintaining or repairing then giving advice or writing procedures for working processes. “Down time is now much lower – when the site was commissioned it used to run into hours if we had to wait for an external contractor to arrive but we have now a much better understanding of these complex systems – our engineers generally fix faults within 10 minutes to half-anhour. “During peak, it’s more critical than

ever we respond as quickly as possible. “The main Vanderlande machinery can sort 24,000 parcels an hour. The highest throughput on this machinery was 261,598 in one night. “We also look after the smaller parcel sorting machine, for packages up to 5kg, besides the area dealing with those too large to be processed automatically. “It’s challenging, but we work well as a team and always rise to the occasion.” n

Nick Hinch on one of the system control PCs; Barry Camis working on the electrical cabinet of an outfeed; and Rob McCubbine working on one of the 39 parcel infeed bays at Hatfield

“We are here to keep the site running and it’s quite a task,” said senior maintenance supervisor at Hatfield Shaun Daly. “The machinery and control software would not run without us. “The warehouse is just short of a third of a mile long and we deal with 11 kilometres of conveyor system that snakes all around upstairs – just walking up and down keeps you fit! “Some of us were here when the main site was constructed in 1996. The first testing of the machinery was carried out a year later and full operation started in January 1998. “Our longest serving colleague is Marc Beaton who has been here 17 years. It’s a stable team as Ian Hazell is our newest engineer, with five years’ service. “The team is very hard working – 98.8 per cent of uptime is not bad for a mechanical and electrical system, particularly considering its age. “Many people are unaware of the huge amount of engineering work behind the scenes at both Hatfield and Wednesbury sortation terminals. “Here at Hatfield, we maintain all of the automated sortation equipment, which includes Vanderlande shoe sorters, the Hexapole bomb bay door small packet sorter and several other types of machinery. “Without the engineering team’s hard work and dedication to our site no parcels would flow through Hatfield.” n

14 yourcall

SMART IDEA WINS BACKING The launch of an innovative Smart Business Academy is getting a helping hand from Yodel. Learning and Development manager Ashley Murray is on the founding panel of the employerled training initiative set up to develop easier entry into logistics, supply chain and transport jobs and improve career progression. “The idea of the Skills Academy is to develop ways into these key sectors, offering career opportunities, driving up performance and helping achieve sustainable financial growth,” said Ashley. “This academy is particularly important for logistics – one of the UK's biggest employers with one in 12 UK people working in it. “The talent of the current and future logistics workforce – including Yodel employees – is key to securing growth, so skills development and training play a vital role.” Logistics often has a poor image with youngsters considering a career, so Yodel and others within the sector have joined forces with organisations like the Prince’s Trust and the National Skills Academy for Logistics. “We hope this will lead to more opportunities and development programmes for Yodel colleagues from 2014 onwards,” said Ashley. “This initiative also fits very neatly with our values of performance and innovation.” n

our academY is an industry first We listened… here’s what we did Ashley Murray is driving an ambitious new programme to deliver great customer service. The Learning and Development manager is behind the launch of our new Yodel Customer Experience Academy. “This is an industry first,” said Ashley who, in partnership with Derwentside College, secured significant government funding for the initiative. “Our bespoke Yodel programme is supporting drivers and other colleagues in delivering the highest level of customer service. “Those taking part will get a standard of qualification setting them above our competitors – we are the first to provide a recognised Diploma in Customer Excellence in Logistics. “The aim is to develop new, and strengthen existing, customer experience skills besides reinforcing Yodel processes and values.” The new academy got off to a promising start with 790 colleagues from England enrolled and 280 more

Ashley Murray

from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales expected to join by the end of May. Employed drivers at service centres were among the first to take part, along with customer service support colleagues. “Our drivers have a crucial role in delivering a great experience for customers. The doorstep is often the only face-to-face interaction customers have with a real person,” said Ashley. “When unable to complete a delivery, it then falls to our customer service support colleagues to handle telephone queries coming in.

“The academy aims to improve customer communication and contact skills and support our teams in delivering the highest level of service.” Non-employed drivers will also complete a “lite” version of the programme. “This is being delivered by service centre training champions who will attend a two-day training event. “This academy is a vital part of our journey to a customer service culture,” said Ashley. “It’s also helping us live other Yodel values, like respect for others, performance and innovation.” The Talent Training enrolment team, Yodel’s partners in delivering the programme, has been working within our service centres to get the initiative off the ground. “As a business, we will be capable of delivering a high quality of service consistently because our drivers are motivated and well trained – thanks to initiatives like this academy,” said Ashley. “We can benchmark quality and competency, which will enable colleagues to gain an industry-leading qualification. The academy demonstrates our company commitment when it comes to delivering a world class customer experience. Yodel truly is determined to Be... the best.” n

pictures by

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oh, what a night! Thousands more people have been discovering the joy of reading through our support of this year’s World Book Night (WBN). As logistics partner to the annual event, we delivered half a million copies of 20 specially printed titles across the UK to help promote the pleasures of books and reading. The 20, which are donated by publishers and are by a mix of classic and modern writers, are given out to people who aren’t regular readers or who don't have access to books by 23,655 WBN volunteers. Neil Lloyd, our

Keri Brinkley in her role as a marshal at Santa Pod and, inset, clocking 126mph on her motorbike

speedbiker keri laps up fast lane Organising vehicles is never a drag for neighbourhood service delivery manager Keri Brinkley – the avid petrol-head enjoys it so much she does it at the weekends too as a Santa Pod marshal. “The sheer power and speed of the bikes and cars doing the timed quarter mile is just fantastic,” said Keri, a keen biker who’s taken her GSXR 750 down the internationally-renowned raceway several times. “I clocked 11.2 seconds and reached 126mph, but the drag cars can do it in four seconds and go over 300mph. “When there’s a big event, I look after the return side of the track and make sure there are no vehicles or people on it when a car or bike’s going down.” As well as safely controlling access lane traffic, volunteer Keri also does a range of other jobs including selling tickets and putting race numbers on cars at the Northamptonshire venue

myotherlife keri brinkley neighbourhood service delivery manager that hosts festivals, fairs and concerts around event days. “It's like a huge family and all the marshals help each other out. I’m up there most weekends. We have a caravan we stay in,” said Keri, who works at Cambridge service centre. “My partner, Richard, got me interested as he’s in the start line emergency crew. The excitement and experience of being there is a great way to forget about work and live in the fast lane for a few days.” n If you’ve got an interesting or unusual out-of-hours interest and want to join Keri as one of My Other Life stars, email us at

! in w

CEO, thanked the service centre teams and drivers behind the successful delivery of 25,000 parcels to collection points in libraries, bookshops, schools, hospitals, care homes, prisons and community centres. “The operation in the run-up to World Book Night on April 23 went very smoothly,” said Neil, who worked for bookseller Ottakars earlier in his career. Julia Kingsford, WBN’s CEO, said: “Working with Yodel, and discovering they care as much about literacy, books and reading as we do, has been a joy.” n

20 classic books

Fancy 20 great reads on us? We’ve got an exclusive set of all this year’s World Book Night titles (worth more than £180) to give away plus five runners-up prizes of the book that launched James Bond to the world, Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale. Just answer the following question to be in with a chance: What’s the name of the most recent Bond film to be released? Email your answer by June 14 to Please include your site as the prizes will be posted there. You can also post your answer, with your name, site and contact number, to: Internal Communications, Yodel, Hatfield Business Park, Frobisher Way, Hatfield, Herts AL10 9TR.

Driver Paul Eadie, from Borehamwood, delivers a box of books to Sean Farrell, store manager of Waterstones in St Albans

Yodel your call issue 6 may 2013  

The magazine for all YODEL colleagues