Behind the scenes

Depot Focus: Reading

Reading is a small, friendly depot with a reputation for producing managers – read on to find out more about the site and its award-winning team.

Chris Barber: The Ultimate All rounder a portrait of chris barber, operations manager at Parcelforce Worldwide Reading Depot

Operations manager Chris Barber has been at the depot for 12 years after starting as an agency driver. Since then, he has done almost every job at the depot, from working in the administration department to doing deliveries and collections. He became operations manager after completing the Parcelforce operational development programme in 2012. The depot runs 37 routes covering Reading and Slough.

What Chris enjoys the most about his job is the variety and the people. He says: “Everyone has a sense of pride in their work. Reading depot was placed in Royal Mail Group’s Hall of Fame following the Employee Survey results last year.

He adds: “The most challenging aspect of the job is peak planning – we’ve taken on 15 fixed-term and 10 agency drivers to cover Christmas.” 

Victor Thomas: The Team Championvictor thomas, customer service advisor at Parcelforce Worldwide Reading Depot

Debriefer/supervisor Victor Thomas has been at Parcelforce for eight years. He started as a delivery and collection driver before moving into customer services, where he received the area Employee of the Year Award. He now supervises the drivers to ensure they do a good job.

“Having worked on the road before, I know what customers’ expectations are and can tell the drivers where they need to improve if necessary,” Victor says. “In the lead up to Christmas, it will be more challenging as we have agency drivers and new starters who will need to learn the ropes fast. But it is an exciting time of year. It’s like a family here.” 

Rocio Caballero: a Head for Business rocia caballero, administrator at the Parcelforce Worldwide Reading depot, sits in front of her computer

Administrator Rocio Caballero has just joined the business and wears many hats in the department, from dealing with customer queries and sending reports to handling petty cash.

“I like dealing with customers face-to-face over the counter,” she says. “It can be challenging when we have our busy periods – like now, in December. I also appreciate that Parcelforce gives its employees opportunities to move around the company when they arise.”

“I have just started in the business, so it will be nice to get different roles and learn different things as I progress,” he adds. 

Rhys Williams: Leading the way rhys williams from Parcelforce Reading Depot pushes a trolley full of parcels

Delivery and collections driver/depot trainer Rhys Williams says he has never looked back since he started as a temp eight years ago.

Now, he is training new starters on the one-day induction programme, which he explains is very useful for them to learn about the business and get to know the journey of a parcel from pick-up to delivery, rather than just getting something to a customer.

He says: “We cover health and safety – making sure that drivers are responsible for themselves, pedestrians, and vehicles. Up to 10 people attend the induction course. When I’m not training I do deliveries and look after two postcodes: RG10 and RG9.”

David Wales: Chief Talent SpotterDavid Wales, delivery manager at the Parcelforce Worldwide Reading Depot

Delivery manager David Wales has been with the business for 20 years. Since starting as a Christmas temp driver, he has worked his way up.

He says: “One of the great things we do is produce managers. We have trained them up and they have gone on to other depots.

“We do about 6,000 deliveries and collections a day, which goes up to 9,000-10,000 at peak, which is the most challenging part of the year. We’ve changed from being a satellite depot doing 1,000 parcels a day to now doing thousands of deliveries a day. The fact the drivers and support staff can adapt to these sorts of changes is testament to the people that we have to make this happen.”

Daniel Kulcsar: Support master Delivery driver, Daniel Kulcsar sits at the wheel of his red Parcelforce van.

Delivery and collections driver/acting supervisor Daniel Kulcsar has been at the depot for two years. He covers the team manager when he is off and helps the drivers if there are any problems.

“I like it when we work out a good plan with the drivers and everything falls into place,” he says. “When I’m not at the depot I do what’s called a ‘sweeper’ role – picking up any remaining parcels and occasionally covering the bulk drivers. I do like the variety of my job.” 

Reading depot – in numbers

  • 51 members of staff
  • 31 number of vehicles
  • 6,000 average daily deliveries at peak
  • 1,800 average daily collections at peak