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Greg Garlick, logistics manager at SKOPE Industries: “It’s a good feeling to be genuinely proud of the company you work for”

Greg Garlick – “The time was ripe for a change”

Greg Garlick joined the freight forwarding industry when school no longer appealed, and later ‘jumped the fence’ to become a customer, starting a career in distribution and logistics. This is his story.

My working life started upon leaving school at the end of my Sixth Form year. In the words of my form master, ‘We normally encourage all students to undertake Seventh Form, but in Greg’s case we think he may have outgrown school.’ Hmmmm …

I had no idea what I was going to do – no real desire to be an astronaut or a vet – so like many of the other past students I saw a job that sounded pretty simple: a customs runner driving documents around town all day. I applied for that role and was successful, and just like that, I had unknowingly embarked on a career within the freight forwarding industry.

Fast-forward through 14 years of writing customs entries, a move into management with some operational and consultancy work tossed in, and I’d reached a crossroads in my career. My interest in freight forwarding was waning and the time was ripe for a change – a jumping of the fence if you like. I decided to be a freight forwarder’s customer with a move into distribution and logistics management.

It was at this point of my life in 2002 that I met Campbell Batts, managing director of the Derek Corporation in Avondale, an importer of clothing, textiles and souvenirs. Campbell appointed me as his distribution manager, and whilst probably realising my limitations as far as supply chain management went, introduced me to the UK Diploma in Logistics run by Walter Glass via Massey University (now run through the Logistics Training Group). 

For me, without fully realising it at the time, this was a life-changing moment. 

Onwards and upwards

The diploma really broadened my knowledge base and gave me the confidence to move onwards and upwards in my professional career. I soon progressed into a similar role at Schneider Electric. My boss there – Joe Timoteo – was even more passionate about the diploma. 

I’ll never forget that when he rang me up to come in for a second interview, he asked me to bring in a disc with all of the assignments I’d completed thus far in the diploma so he could read through the sort of answers I’d submitted. Through Joe’s encouragement and Walter’s support, I completed my diploma in 2004.

However, 2006 brought even more significant change into my life – a midlife crisis you might say! I’d decided that I’d had enough of Auckland and so I packed whatever I could fit into the car and moved south to Christchurch with no job to go to. I’d been told the Christchurch job market was completely different to Auckland’s – that people in Christchurch ‘settle in a job and only move on retirement’. 

Unperturbed, I set off in search of a new life. My only mistake was not completing the due diligence on Christchurch itself. I had no idea the ground shook there – but that’s another story.

Three months after my arrival in Christchurch, not a single job had been advertised that I was interested in. Then all of a sudden, four jobs appeared in a week. I applied for them all and was offered three of them, no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the diploma on my CV and the knowledge I’d gained with it were key contributing factors to the success in receiving those offers. 

The role that appealed to me the most was the logistics manager for SKOPE Industries. SKOPE at the time was a market-leading manufacturer of commercial refrigeration and heating products within Canterbury. They had, however, realised that in order to survive as a business, they needed to be able to compete at different price points in the market. They therefore entered into a joint venture with Haier Refrigeration to manufacture a number of their standard stock models in China. From this, the newly created role of logistics manager was born – and I was appointed.

Career moves

More than 13 years later and I’m still here. My role has encompassed many aspects of supply chain management, primarily managing the company’s international and domestic freight requirements and the relationships between our 3PL warehouse providers throughout New Zealand, Australia and most recently Dubai. My role has also been expanded and I’m currently the logistics and finished goods inventory manager. 

I’ve seen a lot of change in my time here and the skills I gained through the diploma have held me in good stead. The move into inventory management in particular was made possible through the skills I learnt on the course. I’d have been genuinely lost with all the talk of buffer stock replenishment systems and the nuances of make to forecast, make to stock, make to order and make to availability methodologies. But thanks to Walter and the team, I have the skills and confidence to thrive in the role. 

SKOPE is now a world leader in commercial refrigeration with cutting-edge technology and some of the most environmentally friendly refrigeration systems on the planet. It’s a good feeling to be genuinely proud of the company you work for and to be contributing positively to their success.

Finally, I’d like to pass on my thanks to Walter and the Logistics Training Group. I’ve kept in touch with them over the years, and Walter’s always been available to chat and provide advice and guidance when needed. 

Completing the diploma was most certainly life changing in a very positive way for me.

The Professional Diploma in Logistics and Transport is offered in New Zealand by the Logistics Training Group; for further information, visit www.ltg.co.nz

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