Keeping the UK's supply chain moving

Written by John Bisland, Night Operations Manager

My team of 35 is working every night, unloading, and shipping out everything from protective screens and shields through to pharmaceuticals and hospital beds. Every day is a win for us. We work through the night, put any anxieties we have on hold and work hard as a team, all of us looking out for each other as well as committed to doing the job.


My first job in logistics was when I joined the army straight from school. I was medically discharged in 2015 and had some excellent help from the British Legion, who supported me back into ‘civvy’ life. I got a new job at a local transport and logistics company – in the warehouse, then the shop floor and later as a line manager.


Then, in January 2018 I joined Fortec – and the challenges have kept coming. When I first joined staff turnover was high, morale low and service levels inconsistent. Now though things are vastly different – I have revamped the whole team, introduced a new safety culture and training matrix, appraisals are regular and last year we all came together to transform our working environment.

All of us – during breaks and after work – scrubbed walls, painted, installed new signage, and kitted out the canteen. We are now proud of where we work, and everyone continues to muck in and really care.


That of course is now more useful than ever and our cleaning skills are being put into use every night, as we rigorously adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines. Cleanliness, social distancing and PPE is central to every day now.


Before, we were a group of individuals. Now, we are a true team and here in the Hub it is no longer just about turning up to work, it is about being proud of everything we do when we are here.

There has never been a better example of our teamwork and commitment than in today’s challenging times.


I have only had to furlough four people because of COVID-19, and this was only because these staff requested to stay at home for family reasons.


My team is working exceptionally hard during these testing times. Not only have there been huge changes to how we operate at Fortec, there have been changes to the whole of the UK’s logistics sector.


Every single night the team put 100% effort into everything they are doing – not just our forklift drivers, but also the HGV drivers that come in and the guys that are working at the end of the line doing the final mile deliveries to shops and hospitals.


A huge thank you to everyone. As soon as this crisis is over I will be treating the team to pizzas in the Hub and we will be resuming our social calendar – go karting and a day at the races are already on the cards.

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