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  • Role: Senior Consultant
  • University: Aston
  • Degree: Logistics

Zack Sethi

‘Logistics is in every company, in every industry’. By working in freight consultancy, I have come to realise how diverse the industry is and the scope of opportunity the profession has to offer.

Not only do I provide freight advice to the public sector but I’m also engaged with a wide variety of people in various supply chains, from automotive to utilities, through the freight best practice programme, which AECOM manages on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT). This variety makes my work more exciting and challenging.

Gaining respect and building trust with people is extremely important in this job, as you can be dealing with company directors one day and HGV drivers the next. You also need to have good management and team working skills to ensure projects are delivered on time, to quality and of course to budget!

I graduated from Aston University with first class honours in BSc (Hons) Logistics and by working in one of the largest industry sectors in the world, I do not put a limit on where my career will take me. I’ve always found that if you want to learn, there’s plenty to be picked up every day. In freight consultancy, every day is different, so I hope the following will provide you with an idea of what to expect.

Monday

I’m usually in the office by 08.00. I check my emails first thing in the morning and after brewing a quick round of coffee for my colleagues, I start organising my workload as I have various projects on the go, as well as a freight promotional event and a freight operator visit to attend this week.

Lately, I’ve been working on various freight best practice projects, in particular research into the use of satellite navigation in the freight industry and reviewing our small fleet performance management toolkit (SFPMT), designed to help operators benchmark and improve their performance.

I have a meeting with my manager at 10.00 to review my progress on the SatNav project. All is going to plan and we agree the methodology for the in-fleet trials to test the benefits of the technology in road freight operations.

With good progress being made, my next task is to recruit companies to participate in our trial and at the same time approach SatNav equipment manufacturers to supply us with trial units. These two key activities are critical to the project’s success.

At 15.00 I leave the office heading for the Haynes Motor Museum in Somerset, for a Freight Transport Association seminar being held tomorrow. I arrive on time and, after a coffee with my manager, we start to assemble our exhibition stand for the freight best practice programme, ready for Tuesday.

Tuesday

Having had a hearty hotel breakfast, I arrive at the venue and give our stand a final touch-up, before delegates start to arrive at 09.00 to get settled in.

Various seminar presentations cover digital tachographs, Working Time directive and other current freight issues. I find these papers interesting and informative and they help me keep abreast of the latest issues in the industry.

Break times during these events gets busy at our stand. I meet logistics managers from different operations and talk to them about what freight best practice has to offer to help them improve operational efficiency. I discuss best practice measures that they could implement and offer them the range of free programme publications. I’m also keen to find out how they go about achieving best practice in their own organisations.

The event is a success. Over 70 managers from organisations ranging from major blue chip companies to small freight operators visited the stand. It’s been a brilliant and exciting way of networking and promoting freight best practice. I even manage to recruit an operator to take part in our SatNav in-fleet trial!

Wednesday

I’m back in the office today and continue making progress with my SatNav project. With any in-fleet trial, it’s important to make sure the right key performance indicators (KPIs) are measured. As I continue making calls to operators and manufacturers, my day is also spent developing various KPIs for the trial, relating to fuel consumption, vehicle fill and energy intensity. For this project, we’ve come up with a new KPI – ‘lost running’, to measure the time a driver spends trying to find delivery/collection locations.

With the introduction of the new Working Time directive for road transport, limiting available time for drivers and the pressure on companies to reduce costs, there’s no better way to improve efficiency than to minimise the time a driver spends trying to find their destination.

Having spoken to various SatNav manufacturers and freight operators today, I have now secured supply of SatNav units from three leading manufacturers and have three operators keen to be involved in the trial. This is a brilliant position to be in, as I’m now well on target to set dates for the trial.

Thursday

I’ve already made good progress on the SatNav work, so my morning is spent dealing with my other projects. I concentrate on drafting a case study on freight best practice’s SFPMT, to profile the extensive savings operators have made by using the tool to monitor their fleet performance.

My virtual diary is a good way of reminding me of my commitments throughout the week and at 14.00 it reminds me to leave the office to visit JCB in Stafford, where they manufacture construction and military equipment. This is an interesting operation, different to many visits I’ve made, as lead times are longer and demand for products is extremely difficult to estimate.

At 15.00, I meet with the JCB materials, production and logistic managers. I discuss logistics issues and how the company is achieving operational efficiency. Learning and understanding different supply chains and providing best practice information is exciting and rewarding. I learnt something new today – Yamazumi – a Japanese process for measuring value-added and non-value added activities.

Friday

I start my day by writing up my JCB visit report. I record the supply chain challenges the company encounters, the processes they have in place to enable them to reduce operating cost and increase productivity and mention the best practice guides given to them, that can help them achieve efficiency and reduce cost.

Lunchtime is at 12.30 and on Friday it’s usually at the local pub with my colleagues. It’s a good laugh and the best time to mingle with other people within the company. Once we’re back in the office, we get together for a quick team meeting. My director mentions that we are talking to a number of potential new clients – something new to look into. 17.30 – time flies when you have a hectic week and before you know it, the weekend has come. I go straight to the nets to wind down and prepare for a good game of cricket on Saturday!

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