Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about the company you work for, and what your key responsibilities are?
I work for Ontime Delivery Solutions and am manager for driver engagement in Victoria. We have 213 drivers in Melbourne. Nationally we have more than 600, driving anything from a light vehicle to a 12-tonne truck. My main responsibilities are the recruitment and retention of owner drivers. My background in 27 years in agency recruitment.
So what are some of the goals you are focused on here?
Ontime specialise in permanent set runs for our customers so when the owner drivers do come on board they’ll work for the one customer of ours and they’ll do the same run Monday to Friday all year around. If they move or upgrade their vehicles to a bigger vehicle we will find them a new set run. It’s my responsibility to find the owner drivers. The majority of our customers are in the automotive industries — they might be a mechanic or a smash repairer. We provide the owner drivers to do the deliveries for them rather than have their own driving workforce. We do have other industries — hospitality, packaging — but the majority are in the automotive industry.
What are the qualities you look for when recruiting in this space?
Generally speaking we’re looking for customer-focused people because they are representing Ontime and our customers. Communication is another important skill. And because they could do up to 25 deliveries a day, time management is important. We don’t necessarily look for experienced delivery drivers. We are open to everyone. This is a job that gives people a chance to get into the workforce and it allows them to gain experience in the delivery and transport industry.
Do you have any lessons or guidance to share that may help anyone else looking to appoint a driver, or excel as an owner-driver?
My job is about recruitment, but also retention. One of our main priorities is to not put a driver out on a customer site and forget about them. When someone new comes on board I speak to them after their first day, and again after their first week to see how they are feeling and whether they have any concerns or want any extra training in a particular area. We also keep them engaged with our people focused newsletter. I interviewed our driver of the quarter, Eduardo, for the latest edition, and I asked him: what would be your advice to do well in this industry? He had three points: good attention to detail, have a can-do attitude and to remain people-focused. I thought that advice was spot-on and when I interview people these days I use those tips from Eduardo.