The Park Garage Group office is situated in Hayes, Bromley, a short 15-minute drive from my family home. This is a convenient journey but the majority of my time as operations manager is spent on-site at different forecourts. I regularly travel across the country, covering hundreds of miles on a weekly basis. Despite my location, my working day always begins with setting fuel prices for our 48 sites and producing various reports that are critical to the day-to-day running of the business. As a child I used to watch my Dad conduct the same routine day in, day out, and I remember thinking how complicated it all looked. It's ironic to think now that I am carrying out these exact tasks.
Being new to the business and petrol industry, I am focusing on interacting with key suppliers and staff from various sites. My intention of meeting and interacting with suppliers is to develop and maintain pre-existing corporate relationships as well as forming personal relationships of my own. By interacting with the suppliers on a day-to-day basis, I am able to understand the nature of their work and understand how this affects us. This is demonstrated through the relationship we have with Bestway, our sole wholesale supplier. I call our dedicated account manager at Bestway several times a day to liaise with him on various promotional offers available as well as any day-to-day issues that we may have.
One aspect of the role that I enjoy the most is visiting sites and meeting with the commission operators. I make sure I visit our sites at least three times a week. Having a close relationship with our commission operators makes working together much more enjoyable. It also allows them to be more open and honest about their opinions whether that's about certain promotional or trial products that are being run, certain aspects of the planogram that they feel could be altered, or changing the position of certain categories to different areas of the store. By breaking that hierarchical barrier, it enhances the communication between us and creates a pleasant relationship. As well as building and maintaining a rapport with the commission operators, I enjoy engaging with customers and being able to see their buying habits.
With us maintaining a local feel to the organisation, it is always pleasurable to see the staff conversing with local customers and really caring about them as people. This ethos is one that I hope to carry on throughout my time here.
As important as it is to be on site, it is equally as important that I am in the office, at least once a week. While in the office, I will usually be in meetings with my Uncle, Dad and Miles. These meetings consist of what I have learnt across the past week and what new things I hope to learn in the forthcoming week. And a large part of the meetings are dedicated to assessing our strategies in the business and how these can be altered in the future.
With a finance background from Sainsbury's, I have always had a passion for reporting and this is something that I want to take on board, when helping to move the company forward. To fully recognise how we are performing and what targets we set for ourselves in the future, I will always find myself asking (or annoying) our suppliers for data and any other statistical information they can provide. I believe in setting realistic targets across all sectors of the business and tracking them on a regular basis. This allows short-term decisions to be made and long-term strategies to be planned.
To ensure a healthy work/life balance, I try to be home by around 6.30pm. Even though work never really stops in the retail industry, and especially with being part of a family business, I believe it is important to create some distance between work and personal time. On a weekday, I enjoy spending time with my parents and sister at home. We still make every effort to eat together as a family during the week, which I believe is still very important.
Outside of work and on weekends, I enjoy spending time with friends and during certain parts of the year, I can usually be found at Twickenham, watching my beloved England play.
Name: Hemant Tandon
ob title: Operations manager
Company: Park Garage Group
Career history: Two years working for Sainsbury's, in their finance and operations division in Manchester. Spent 18 months working for Modis, an American recruitment company, part of the Adecco Group
Greatest achievement: Being picked to start at my University's varsity rugby match Tips for business success: Be reactive and never presume that everything goes according to plan Most likely to say: "There has got to be another way"Least likely to say: "I can't do it" Other interests: Going to the gym and watching England play rugby at Twickenham