Explore: Food production

Distribution Manager
Gibsons Food

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Andy S

00:00:02 My name’s Andy S, I’m the distribution manager for a company called Gibson’s Foods. Very simply, a distribution manager is responsible for transporting the finished products, in our case chilled sandwiches, to the customer’s depots nationwide.

00:00:23 I was a bit worried as to what I would do after university because I didn’t really have any clear plans at that point and was lucky enough to go back to a small industrial firm that I’d worked for in the summer vacations basically just to tide me over until I guess I made up my mind what I wanted to be and what I wanted to do.

00:00:47 I have to be very grateful to the boss of the firm at that time who took me to one side and had a chat with me and said, “You know, you’re very good at this job but because we are a small firm we really can’t offer you anymore opportunities but have you ever considered looking at the role of a production manager?” And they helped me really fill in the first application form that I completed for a production management trainee with part of Associated British Food.

00:01:25 I applied for the job which was based in Ashford in Kent. I was obviously successful in gaining the trainee manager’s position and can remember quite vividly that it was quite a scary day, really. It had meant obviously leaving home again, travelling down to southern England some 250 miles away not knowing anyone in the business. It was a bit daunting at first but I did thoroughly enjoy the 12 months that I was down there in Kent.

00:02:03 I was asked to take up a similar position within the same company but at one of their sites in Wiltshire and from there I moved to Cambridge with another part of Associated British Foods but it was a step up, it was a promotion and I spent probably about four years there but unfortunately my father died and after that I suddenly decided that perhaps I really wanted to move back to where I was born and I’d been brought up and after a while was able to secure a job more locally based. It was probably the biggest turning point of my life, I would say, that potentially if he was still alive I potentially wouldn’t have been here, that I might have carried on moving around, you know, different parts of the country.

00:02:58 The high point of my career was probably gaining the position that I’m now in. I felt really quite proud that people within the business thought I was capable of doing the role and actually identifying what was required for the role within this business.

00:03:19 Outside of work there’s my major hobby is rallying. Unfortunately, I don’t earn enough to actually rally a car myself but a group of friends that I’ve known for years are all interested in cars and rallying and we go to stand in forests for days on end generally at the weekends watching rally cars. But would aspire someday to possibly have enough money to actually race a rally car but at the moment have other commitments. ENDS


Andy S is Distribution Manager at Gibsons Foods. He’s responsible for organising the transport of chilled sandwiches to customers. He wasn’t sure what to do after leaving university. He was encouraged to go into production management by the boss in the industrial firm where he had worked in his holidays.

More information about Managers and directors in transport and distribution

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

76%  male 
24%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Managers and directors in transport and distribution plan, organise, direct and co-ordinate the activities and resources necessary for the safe, efficient and economic movement of passengers and freight by road, rail, sea and air transport.
Candidates are recruited with a variety of academic qualifications and/or with relevant experience. Entrants to management trainee schemes in logistics offered by larger companies will require GCSEs/S grades, A levels/H grades, a degree or other equivalent qualifications. Off- and on-the-job training is provided. Professional qualifications are available. Legislation of the European Union requires all transport managers to hold a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). NVQs/SVQs in a number of relevant areas including supply chain and operations management are available at Levels 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  • Plans the optimum utilisation of staff and operating equipment, and co-ordinates maintenance activities to ensure least possible disruption to services;
  • Examines traffic reports, load patterns, traffic receipts and other data and revises transport services or freight rates accordingly;
  • Directs the movement, handling and storage of freight in transit, and reviews space utilisation, staffing and distribution expenditure to determine future distribution policies;
  • Ensures that regulations regarding hours of work, the licensing of crews and transport equipment, the operational safety and efficiency of equipment, the insurance of vehicles and other statutory regulations are complied with;
  • Ensures that harbour channels and berths are maintained and liaises with ship owners, crew, customs officials, dock and harbour staff to arrange entry, berthing and servicing of ships;
  • Supervises day-to-day activities in a railway station;
  • Arranges for maintenance of airport runways and buildings, liaises with fuel and catering crews to ensure adequate supplies and resolves any complaints and problems raised by airport users.
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