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Welcome to Plastic Pallet People, our profile feature where we find out what makes the individuals in our fabulous team tick. This time, we chatted with our Office Manager, Emma Hall.
Hi Emma! Thanks for speaking with us today. Let’s get started! So, let’s set the scene – how would your colleagues describe you?
Caring, organised and bossy! I’m pretty sure that sums up how most people would describe me!
Haha. I bet it is bossy in a good way! When did you join goplasticpallets.com?
I joined the company in 2002. A long time ago now…
It must be interesting to have seen the company grow. How many staff were in the team when you joined?
Back in 2002, just three of us were in the office team – Jim, Chris (the two founders) and I.
Tell us a little bit about how the company has changed.
When I joined, the team was small – as I said, just three of us. And then it took off. It’s hard to remember the timeline, but the business has grown considerably in the last 10-15 years, and we’ve had many more staff join us. I’ve seen and managed a lot of change, including moving premises. My role has developed a lot.
Our company culture has evolved too. I think goplasticpallets.com is a great company to work for, and we work hard to maintain a good working culture.
Let’s talk about your role. What does your day-to-day look like?
As the Office Manager, I’m spinning a lot of plates! Generally, I oversee everything, particularly with the admin and logistics side. In addition, I run the admin team. On the management side, it sounds a bit motherly, but I keep an eye on everyone and ensure everyone is happy and things are running smoothly.
I manage the company’s sales admin and do all the basic accounts, running the sales and purchase ledgers. So, that means doing the company’s invoicing and paying suppliers. I also oversee credit insurance and deal with all the banking and payroll. A big part of my job is around finance.
In addition, I’m currently covering a sales admin role for a staff member on maternity leave. Because I’ve been here such a long time, I know the functions in sales, admin, transport and logistics inside out, so it’s easy for me to step in and help out.
I speak to customers a lot too, so I’m very invested in building great relationships with them. Excellent customer service is a big part of our offering.
You mentioned the company has a good culture; tell us a bit about that.
The last few years have been strange with people not being in the office due to the pandemic – but we’ve worked hard throughout to keep team spirit alive. As in most sales teams, there’s a lot of banter, but there’s also a real sense that everyone has each other’s backs. One of the things we’re trying to achieve is helping new people settle in as quickly as possible. Therefore, we buddy up with the newbies to share our experience and knowledge. We’re committed to everyone’s success at goplasticpallets.com.
How are you involved in developing company culture?
I’m invested in keeping spirits high. I try to organise staff socials every couple of months, and I’m proactive in looking out for our staff and organising training. We’ve introduced a monthly lunch-and-learn where the company provides staff with lunch, and we do some training on a product, do a quiz or chat. It’s part training, but also an opportunity to socialise. I’m always looking at different ways to engage staff. I want everyone to succeed and feel happy in their work.
What did you do before joining goplasticpallets.com? Have you always been in an office manager role?
When I left school, I went travelling to Australia and Southeast Asia. When I came back, I worked in a few different admin roles. Then, I hit a rough patch in life, and I wanted to change things up. That’s when I came to work for Jim and Chris at goplasticpallets.com.
What attracted you to the logistics industry?
It wasn’t intentional. I just saw the job and liked the sound of it. But my parents had their own logistics business. So, when I first came and met Jim and Chris, I could say, “I understand this world!” My parents owned a farm and ran a transport business; their office was in the house. So, I grew up answering the phone and developed an understanding of how the logistics industry works. Lorries and pallets aren’t stuff people ever think about, but I was exposed to that from a young age! The world of logistics was completely normal to me! So, I guess I’m a good fit!
What do you like most about your job?
I genuinely love my job. Firstly, very seldom are two days the same. I never really know what will happen when I come into the office in the morning.
Secondly, I love that we deal with so many different types of customers. It is so interesting. I find it fascinating looking at what our customers do – all these businesses do things you never really think about.
I love the people at goplasticpallets.com. I’ve been here for over 20 years, so they are a big part of my life! Although the company is growing, it still has the essence of a small family business – everyone has each other’s backs. We care about each other.
Another positive is the fact that the bosses are here every day. I like that. There’s no battling to speak to the people at the top. There’s an open-door policy, so you can rock up and talk to the senior team anytime.
What are your most significant achievements?
I think my longevity here – I feel proud about that. And how we managed to work through the pandemic. That was hugely challenging, but we had a good team spirit, which helped enormously. While we were worried at the beginning of the pandemic about how it would impact the business, we were kept busy by our customers, including many food, hygiene, retail and pharmaceutical companies.
I also had to deal with the implications of home-schooling. I was fortunate in that sense. My daughter likes learning, so I had it much easier than other parents. So, yes, getting through the pandemic was an excellent achievement for us all.
Another thing I’m proud of is our recycling scheme, which continues to go from strength to strength.
Finally, but by no means least, our customer service/customer relations are important to mention. I try hard to have a good relationship with customers, and our level of service is one reason they keep returning for more! I’m super proud of that.
What are your aspirations? Where do you see yourself in five years?
I want to keep growing and learning and continue developing my role as the company expands, as well as keeping the company’s culture moving forward.
What’s it like as a woman working in a male-dominated environment?
It suits me down to the ground as I grew up with five brothers! I like working with the boys. It’s easy. Having said that, I’m hugely supportive of women joining the team. Amongst the group’s male members, there are some real characters here, but they’re all lovely people.
What do you do in your spare time?
Outside of work, I spend much time as a taxi driver for my 14-year-old daughter! Seriously though, I like to spend time with her on weekends and with my husband. The things I love to do most are reading, going away on city breaks and going to gigs.
So, what’s your favourite book, most loved city and best gig?
My favourite book is quite a recent read – The Happiest Man on Earth, by Eddie Jaku. My most loved city has to be Lisbon, Portugal. Best gig is a bit trickier to pick as my music tastes have changed a lot. Historically, I would have said Coldplay, but now my husband and I love country music. So, my best gig now would have to be Kelsea Ballerini, who we saw last month. Another great experience I must mention was seeing a country music gig at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville – that was amazing.
Wow, thank you, Emma. It has been great chatting and learning more about you and your role at goplasticpallets.com. The team spirit sounds fantastic!