Emma Newman, Operations Manager, Southampton Docks Distribution Centre
Emma began her career with Import Services in 2011 as a Fork Lift Driver, initially for 6 months before progressing to perpetual inventory then Operations Manager.
Emma credits her skills developed in the British Army, Royal Logistics Corps as key to her leadership style and these are clearly evident when speaking to members of her team. Integrity, clear communication, ability to manage differences and change, a strong strategic vision, the ability to motivate and decisiveness ensure the smooth running of Import Services’ largest Distribution Centre.
The growth and expansion of the Import Services operation as a whole has impacted Emma’s management style. With new technology, enhancing of procedures and the inevitable increase in portfolio of clients, which has dictated a fast-paced working environment, where high-level decision must be made swiftly.
Emma comments, “It is during peak periods here, where my autocratic leadership style would naturally appear and I would act as the leader my team have come to expect. Many times, I’ve had Health and Safety or building decisions that require attention, I feel comfortable in my decisions and make them with everyone in mind.”
However, Emma has reflected upon how her experience gained through years in the senior leadership role has adapted her style. Emma continues, “My relaxed yet direct style of leadership describes me more now than in my early years in this role, that said, I can also demonstrate a democratic style now as I have an experienced team who are involved in the decision-making process, with a structure that empowers all team leaders in our business to get on with day to day tasks, we as management are in constant rotation ensuring everything is running smoothly and assisting when and where it is required.”
Culture is vital to building a team underneath Emma who share her values. As all employees have a clearly defined job role, they are clear on what is expected of them, their responsibilities and therefore how to act accordingly. Emma’s team of leaders want structure and security to thrive, this disseminates down to their teams who are motivated and driven by their positiveness. Emma is proud of the impression visitors are greeted by when they visit the site. Emma says, “Our site is a safe, clean and controlled environment, as long as these standards are always kept, the leadership style can lean toward a flexible nature. The freedom to understand our ways and operate as such continues to be passed down through the ranks today as it has over the last 30 years.”
Emma also praises the impact of a highly experienced core team around her, who are available to sound out a plan and provide an honest, alternative perspective.
This will become more evident as the changing landscape of logistics continues to evolve. Import Services is already seeing an increase in SKU spread and the complexity in each order that is fulfilled, which no doubt will continue. Import Services’ flexibility will become a key measure of success as our clients demand that their customers receive products more quickly. Warehouses will become more automated, enabling companies to make their order fulfillment processes more efficient and accurate in line with the new demands.
A Distribution Centre will need to demonstrate flexibility, efficiency and greater speed to adapt to these changes, with Emma’s leadership style, the Southampton Docks facility is prepared to embrace the future of logistics.