The alarm goes off at 6.30am and Jess my four-year-old Labrador immediately comes bounding up the stairs and leaps on the bed. She knows it’s time for her breakfast and that all-important morning walk across the fields. This is the best time of the day as it gives me time to focus on the day ahead. Breakfast is normally consumed while I check my emails on the iPhone and any Flow web reports. This system is a must as it constantly catches our sites’ sales and tells me what time the first and last sale was at all the sites and important things like if there have been no coffee or car wash sales. A quick phone call to check that maintenance has been called to fix the problem can speed up downtime. More importantly, the manager knows that I know the machine is down!
Our two other directors (Dave Court and Charles Masters) and myself all have sites to look after. We don’t have a head office as we have never found it necessary. We all work on site. Our back-office system (Background 2) allows managers and supervisors to enter all relevant paperwork sales/invoices then Dave and Charles prepare the monthly P&Ls on site too. We can all dial in to the systems remotely and work or fix a problem if required. Today I’m off to our Branston’s site in the village of Queniborough in north Leicestershire.
The journey takes about 30 minutes and I generally aim to get there around 8.15am. I always start the day with a fresh, ground bean Americano they are so addictive!
It is stocktake day. All sites do a weekly rotational stocktake making sure the whole shop is covered every month, it’s a must! So it’s busy, busy. Orders have to be entered and the Londis order has to be placed along with deliveries arriving. This process is so much easier these days.
Branston’s has six deliveries a week from Londis and that includes all ambient, full fresh and even the milk. We try and use as many local produce suppliers as possible as I feel we have a responsibility to support them as we would like to be supported too. This also makes our offers different to the major supermarkets. Another daily task is to check fuel pricing for both oil companies. Most of our sites are on daily Platts so a daily check is required. Five phone calls later, and it’s all done, and now I’ve got the ladder out as I have noticed a couple of bulbs out in the shop. As the handyman is busy outside, I change the bulbs. I take great pride in our shops. They are a constant challenge and have to be cared for, cleaned and looking full and bright.
Part of my role in the company is the shop side and working with the various suppliers on planograms and new products all designed to get the best out of them. We have won Londis Multiple Account Store of the Year for the past two years, which is a great achievement for the Group. This year’s award went to our Muskham site on the A1, north of Newark, whch had a shop extension last year and has achieved a 35% increase in sales so far. We extended the toilets on this transient site and the quote from the judge was "toilets of a 5* hotel standard". We try and make our sites a destination stop on the customers’ journey.
We have just been granted full planning on another site for a full knockdown and rebuild later on this year. These projects take a lot of planning, time and effort but give us great satisfaction when opened and running well.
So back to my day and it’s lunchtime, a quick sandwich and into the shop to inspect and action some change-arounds with some displays and then order some new products. This will be done with the supervisor or manager.
We will walk round the shop and discuss changes and address things that need attending to. I have a meeting with a supplier at 3pm then it’s off home early tonight to see the kids and walk the dog before I go to see my football team, Nottingham Forest, who are playing at home tonight.
Tomorrow will be another site with its own challenges.
Name: Simon MacKay
Job title: Director of the Carsley Group
Responsibility: 12 sites: 10 BP and two Jet; 11 Londis shops and one Spar
Career history: Left school at 16 and worked on a dairy farm, then joined the Milk Marketing Board. Mark Carsley was offered a Total licensed site and offered me a job as manager. We had four licensed sites before Total decided they could run them better! We then started buying sites.
Greatest achievement: my three wonderful children
Tips for business success: work hard and move with the times
Most likely to say: "How much?"
Least likely to say: "Of course you can have the rest of the day off!"
Other interests: Shooting, walking and cycling