With supply lines being a particularly hot topic in the AV industry, we speak to Nick Broster, warehouse manager at our Derby head office, to discover the general state of stock levels and how his team help to fulfil customer requirements, as well as his passion for cake.
Thanks for joining us, Nick. Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to oversee warehouse operations at Datapath?
My first job after school was working at a photographic processing company,(back in the days when people still used film and had to wait for their photos to be developed!). It was a small company and I worked in every aspect of it from developing the films, quality control of the prints, delivery driver through to serving in the derby based shop.
I then moved into retail joining Currys (DSG) as a salesman/warehouse manager in a high street branch, then to a superstore and a sideways move to work in The Link as Deputy Manager in Birmingham.
After 10yrs with DSG, I then looked for new challenges and became a Derbyshire Police Call handler based at Ripley for 12yrs. Because, I then became a father during the latter part of that time, I wanted to do less shift work and have weekends off to spend with my family, which is when the opportunity to join Datapath Ltd in the goods inwards side of the business arose. Happily I got through the interview and have been here for nearly 9 yrs now.
We can’t not ask you about stock levels. How has order fulfilment been since the global concerns over chip shortages were raised two years ago? (Has events from the past two years had any other impact on operations?)
The global pandemic had and still is having an effect on supplies of not only electronic components but everything from metalwork, accessories, packing tape, cardboard and even the printing of labels. I’m happy to say that the purchasing department are somehow performing miracles and finding the components and parts we need and getting them delivered as quickly as possible to allow us to continue building and shipping products to customers.
Throughout the pandemic our system build and test departments, along with the warehouse split into two teams and worked split weeks to ensure that we suffered minimal impact from any covid infections. Those who were still working from the office during that time may have noticed that there was a plethora of cardboard stored around the operations office. We were advised lead would be 2-3 months, so to ensure we could still despatch products safely and correctly, we ordered as much as we could and to date we are still working through some of this cardboard even now.
How does today’s operation of a warehouse compare to that of, say, 8 years ago? Has much changed?
Quite a few of our processes have improved along with a lot of new products being released. The number of variants of both raw components and finished products has increased, so once the supply chains are back to normal I will be looking for more space to store everything that is required.
There is more emphasis on minimising waste and being as environmentally proactive just recently. However, that is something where we have always tried to recycle and multi-purpose our packaging as much as possible to be as efficient as possible.
One of the biggest changes for myself is that I now seem to attend a lot more meetings
What are the most rewarding and most challenging elements of your job?
Most rewarding – achieving a good yearly stock audit.
Most Challenging – stock counts to achieve the above.
Away from work, pallets and safety processes, how do you spend your time?
Nothing majorly exciting – I play a bit of tennis and pursue field archery. I also enjoy the cinema and attending theme parks.
Tell us something people may not know about you…
I like cake!