Ilove my job. I know that might be a cliché, but I’m part of a very dynamic and exciting industry. My role, UK dealer manager, was created two years ago with Shell’s decision to split management of the company-owned sites from dealer sites; and with Shell’s reinvigorated focus on the dealer world, life is only set to be more energised. With responsibility for all of Shell’s UK dealers, I’m at the heart of the change as Shell plans to divest up to 250 company-owned sites.
In 2013, my job was about re-engaging and stabilising Shell’s dealer position, while 2014 saw the start of a focus on growth, and in 2015 we will continue this momentum. The UK is a growth market for Shell and therefore my day is all about showcasing to current and prospective dealers, the value the Shell brand brings.
Part of my job is finding like-minded dealers who fit Shell’s network plan and who champion the premium offer which comes with being a leading UK fuels retailer. For me, customer experience is critical to this offer and frontline staff are the ultimate differentiator. My job is to identify how we can best support our dealers and the extension of Shell’s People Make the Difference Real programme to dealers, encouraging dealers to reward their best staff every quarter, is one example. At Shell we advocate being ’treated like a guest’ and I want all Shell forecourts to epitomise this.
A week of two halves
My week is split in two. Monday and Tuesday I drop my youngest son off at school and base myself locally. For me, that’s Southampton where I live, or out of our Staines office. Currently, with the planned sale of up to 250 of our company sites to Shell-branded dealers, this time is about working with bidders, making the structural changes needed and preparing Shell to best support our independent dealers.
Next year, I’ll be back full-time on the road, which is where I love to be. While I have a very experienced team, a key part of my week is connecting with each of them. I make sure they have the competencies they need and give any coaching as required. We’re a close-knit team and share peer-to-peer feedback regularly on what works and what doesn’t. I also speak regularly with David Moss, the general manager for Shell UK Retail, on dealer developments. The open-door policy is really valuable.
It’s all about the people
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday my wife does the school run so I have more freedom to get out and meet people; it’s what excites me the most about the job. I’ve always been in UK retail: before I joined Shell, I worked at a bank as business advisor.
When I get out there to listen and engage with our loyal dealers is when I really discover the challenges they’re facing and spot new opportunities to support them.
We’ve got a good reputation for supply and this was brought about by listening to what dealers need. Likewise, we’ve launched a dealer Deli2Go shop offering, where they can choose one of four packages and this offer was identified from face-to-face meetings.
Recently, my week had an added bonus where I visited two of the newest sites in the UK, a new-to- industry one in Hampshire and a knock-down rebuild in Leeds.
It makes you proud when you know the retailer is making a substantial investment in their business and has chosen to partner with Shell.
We’ve had great success in 2014 with 26 new-to-Shell sites, including four new to industry.
Cool under pressure
I think the parallels of competition and the need to deliver under pressure, like in my job, are what excite me most about my hobby of archery. I first got into it when my eldest son took it up five years ago and it was good to do an activity together as a family.
Each weekend you can find me out on the range competing. For now, I have the upper hand over my son, but it’s only a matter of time before I have to face up to the fact that he’s better than me!
Name: Andrew Braxton
Job title: UK dealer manager
Company: Shell UK RetailCareer history: joined Shell UK Retail in 1996 as an area sales manager after 14 years working for a bank. During 19 years with Shell has always worked within Retail Operations, initially as a company area sales manager. Became a district manager then, in March 2013, became UK dealer manager.
Greatest achievement: Becoming Shell UK dealer manager and staying married for 25 years!Tips for business success: It’s about the customer Most likely to say: "It’s all about people"Least likely to say: "Can’t be done"Other interests: football, archery and family life.