Recently we sat down with our Operations Manager, Tom Sawkins to ask him to share some of his experiences with Good360. Tom has been working with Good360 for almost 4 years now and has been integral in the success of our warehouse management.
Why did you want to work at Good360?
- I had been working for 6yrs at another charity and wanted to try something else within the charity sector. I saw the job offered and at the time it was for only 20hrs a week. I left my job to come to Good360 because I believed that what they were already doing was going to develop into something Australia really needed.
What is your role at Good360?
- Operations Manager. I run the warehouse at Smithfield which is 10000sqm in Sydney’s west. Overseeing all areas of the day to day operations and planning continuous improvement for what we do.
Describe a day in your life at the Smithfield Good360 Warehouse.
- Currently, we are busy preparing for our Oct-Nov Christmas campaign. That means we are packing, configuring gift bags, as well as normal stock donations. We will make thousands of gift bags that will be given away for free.
- Preparing for this event where last year we moved 23,000 boxes in 25 days. We have a few hundred more members this year so numbers will climb.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
- Seeing all the goods that we receive go to charities around Australia and hearing the impact stories of how these goods are helping so many people.
- Seeing how clients who come here learn more about working in a warehouse and building confidence in them.
Can you tell us a bit about the Work for the Dole program (WFD)?
- 4 months after joining Good360 I implemented the WFD program. I was the only employee at the warehouse at that time and I needed help with running the warehouse.
- It has been running now nearly 4yrs. Close to 400 people have come through the program with 2 joining the Good360 Warehouse Team full time.
- The typical time a client can stay is no more than 6 months. At last count, there have been close to 40 people I have given references to that have got full time work.
- We average 1800 hours of WFD labour each month, which is around 30-40 clients.
- I created a special shift for single parents so they can come after dropping their kids at school and leave again in time to pick them up.
- Typically, clients who come have no experience working in a warehouse and so we teach them all areas of how a warehouse works and this is where most of the references went to.
Can you share a great success story from the Work for the Dole program?
- Brian came to our warehouse and stayed his full 6 months. In that time, we taught him all areas of the warehouse. He spent the last few months working in online where he prepped orders, despatched orders, assisted customers with their Click & Collect orders, stocktakes and learning the computer.
- At the end of his 6 months he asked if he could volunteer 2 days a week instead of just staying at home (he is over 60 and is finding it very hard to get a job), of course I agreed.
- At that time, he told me he had a forklift licence and now drives our forklift.
- He is still volunteering for us which is close to 9months now and recently won our WFD employee of the month – see photo being presented by Ling.
What are your passions, interests and biggest achievements?
I am very passionate about the work we do. I left the corporate world at 40 vowing to work in the charity sector and it has been 11 yrs now, this year. Knowing that what we are doing here is really impacting people around Australia, it doesn’t get any better than that.
I like playing Chess, working on my 20-year-old car and teaching myself how to code.
One of my biggest achievements was designing/ developing a live app/database for my previous charity that is still being used Australia wide to assist them in their day to day operations – it was a first in the industry.
I am currently building the warehouse system that we are using with a heavy influence on allowing it to be used by WFD. One of the biggest fears WFD have is using a computer. So, I am making it as user friendly/simple as possible and already have seen a lot of clients using it.