Heather Thompson, Transport Manager

Department: Transport

Manufacturing and delivering quality feed

“I joined ForFarmers last year in April as the Transport Manager for the Newcastle-Under-Lyme feed mill. The mill was first opened in 1984 and has been operating ever since. We supply customers far and wide across the Midlands and North Wales.”

“I started my career as a HGV driver and have worked my way up to management. With this experience and knowledge under my belt, I feel that I can work better with the drivers as I understand their daily routines and ways of working.”

“As a department we are responsible for the safe delivery of high quality feed to customers across the region. We also manage compliance, driver welfare, budgeting, vehicle maintenance and project management on a daily basis. We are a busy team of three, Ian Biddulph is a great Assistant Transport Manager and Paul Pancutt is our Co-ordinator. We work really well together and communication is really key, especially during busy periods such as Christmas. As a team we each have our own strengths and areas of expertise and we try to use these our advantage.”

“At Newcastle we have a team of 22 drivers and they work shifts patterns which cover us 24 hours a day. The drivers start at 05:00 and we operate 6 days a week. We try to be as flexible as possible so that we can fit in with customer demands and requirements.”

Heather Thompson

Top of the range vehicles

“Maintaining a high standard of vehicles is also an area that falls under my role. Here at Newcastle we have a range of vehicles which include 6 artics and 10 rigids. Our vehicles are top of the range, regularly serviced and are checked before every single journey to ensure safety.”

“As the drivers are on farm representing the company, it’s important that the trucks are clean and presentable but also safe and efficient. Our drivers enjoy driving our modern fleet and impressively some of them have been driving for us for more than 25 years.”

Adapting is key

“No two days are ever the same, changing volumes and situations mean the team and I have to adapt our plans and act quickly. Due to the nature of our roles, forecasting and coordinating logistics involves a lot of organisation and problem solving.”

“We have a great team of drivers of varying experience and years of service and I think this mixture helps keep the team dynamic positive and fun. Recently we have had Andy Wright pass his class 1 qualification and Ian Birchall is currently training for his class 1. We have also redesigned our drivers uniforms so they all look smart and branded.”

Heather and the team giving hampers out at Christmas
Heather and the team giving out hampers at Christmas

New projects and responsibility

“In relation to projects, I’ve recently been working on a Flexipod bin labelling system with Simon Thorne, Fleet Manager and Helen Woodward, PMO Manager. I’m the project lead and have enjoyed taking on this new level of responsibility. I also work closely with Craig Rogers, Site Manager on a range of site initiatives, these projects include improving communication with the mill and increasing our environmental and business efficiency.”

The best parts of the job

“The thing I enjoy most about my job is making a difference and being able to improve things for the wider team. Driver and office engagement is really important to me so I’ve been focusing those areas recently. I also like the variety of tasks within my role; it make it’s interesting and time flies by.”

“Here at Newcastle there is always plenty of support especially from the Site Manager, Craig. His enthusiasm for making things better for the whole team creates an enriching work environment.”

“The work ethic and team at Newcastle-Under-Lyme are fantastic. I feel lucky to work for such a great company where I feel part of the family and bigger picture”.

“Outside of work I love to play hockey for Stafford ladies, they are a great bunch and it keeps me active. I also have 2 dogs, 2 axolotls and lots of fish which keep me busy during evenings and weekends.”

Heather pet's