10 questions with Rob Howes, Chandler Materials New Customer Relationship Manager
What do you do in a typical day?
My day starts in the office catching up with the sales team. It’s important that we talk to each other to find out what stages certain jobs are at on site. We can then find out if there are any sites we need to visit that day. Then I visit sites, speak with the builders to make sure they are happy and find out if there is anything more we can do. All the time I am on the road I’m looking for potential customers and builders who have travelled into our area and potentially don’t know about us.
What did you do before you came here?
I always loved lorries, I was offered a job via a friend, working on runways applying the anti slip coating. This was in the late 80’s, the money was great, driving lorries on naval bases (without a licence), where they train Harrier pilots was terrific. I didn’t mind living away from home, but I clashed with the boss so when the job finished I came home. I was at home for a week, then my dear mum went to the job centre and found a card and told me about a builders merchants who were looking for a driver/yard person. Two days later I had a interview with David Chandler ( My Dad was a Chelmsford Lion with David and I think that helped ) and he offered me a job driving for them. Over the last 30 years I’ve driven all of the different size lorries here and really enjoy meeting the customers.
What’s the favourite thing about your role?
I have always just enjoyed being part of the firm, my roles have changed a few times over the years, but the one thing that has always stayed the same is keeping the builders supplied with good quality materials, and promise a delivery they will get, that has never changed, you hear of the competition using excuses “ sorry the the lorry has broken down” or “ Yes mate it’s on route” if we have said we will do a delivery – we will do it.
Whats the best thing to have happened at Chandlers?
There has been so many over the years. The one that sticks in my mind, was a delivery we did for a customer at Orfordness. The only way to get a large vehicle on to the nature reserve, was by a very old landing craft to cross the estuary, the 18 tonne lorry only just fitted, we had to split the load on the quay because it was too heavy, it was a bit touch and go on the slipway but it turned out ok in the end. An old military instillation on the reserve was being renovated.
How would you describe the company culture?
The Chandler culture is built on really hard work, from the early days on-site the overtime was always there, even in really tough economic times you kept yourself busy and they returned the favour by not laying you off. In the early 90’s it was really tough. David and John Chandler were there in the rain and mud getting the work done on site, even though they were the bosses. It was a team effort. The same goes for working in the yard, if something needed doing you all just did it !..and long may it continue.
What is your favourite Product at the moment?
I have always loved lead, it still makes me laugh when you see a young lad on site willing to help and show how strong he is to his mates. And then he struggles to lift a roll on to his shoulder. Very deceiving lead.
What’s been your best customer experience?
On my 25 anniversary Justine and I went to visit friends in America. I did a small delivery to one of our long standing customer accounts in Ingatestone. Although he usually worked on larger developments he was building a porch for a friend. We had a quick chat, I told him I was off to America to celebrate my 25 years service and he gave me some money to take Justine out for dinner when we got there. What a gentleman.
In three words how would your colleagues describe you?
1 Company man
2 Food snob
What do you get up to outside of work ?
I used to love to windsurf, not so much these days. I love to road cycle, a lot easier on the knees than running. We love the garden, I love to sit in it with a good red wine and with friends.
What’s one thing about you that might surprise people?
I sang in the choir at school.