Travis Riley could have become an aviation engineer but instead he wanted to follow a career path that was more about the safe transport of goods than the safe transport of people.
He left college at age 17 with the chance to build on skills he’d gained as a casual worker at Cold Storage Nelson (CSN), New Zealand’s biggest privately-owned cold storage and logistics company.
Travis is Nelson born and bred, and the opportunity to work full-time for this highly successful local company was just too good to pass up.
“I liked the environment, the culture, and the team who were willing to expand my knowledge. They were a super experienced group of people and really generous about passing on everything they knew!” says Travis.
The first three years went quickly, and as a young chap, Travis wanted to spread his wings. He left CSN to train for a year as an aircraft engineer with Air New Zealand in Christchurch.
“It was a great experience, but it helped clarify in my mind what I wanted to do,” he says.
He returned to CSN, and today the 28 year-old has risen to become a Store Supervisor.
In 2017, Travis was among twelve CSN staff to have the opportunity to advance his career on-job by gaining the New Zealand Certificate in Distribution Level 3 qualification.
The programme is offered by ServiceIQ, which coincidentally also offers aviation training programmes Travis would have used at Air New Zealand. Either way, it seems he was destined to benefit from upskilling on the job.
Travis says he really enjoyed working for his qualification.
“It was great because I wanted to broaden my industry knowledge. Until then, I’d been taught on-the-fly and was made to understand all the processes and how everything flows together. But I’d never learned the terminology so the distribution training programme helped me put a name to the processes across the business.”
It also gave him the confidence to suggest introducing an innovative monitoring system that he and his team use today.
Overall, he has nothing but praise for the training programme. He says he can “see that there has been a positive cultural change, people are taking even more pride in their work and enjoying the chance to develop their skills and careers”.
He also knows that coming back to CSN was the right move.
“We’re building a highly experienced team that is going to continuously improve in all aspects of their work. If someone new comes along with potential, we’ll give them as much training as they can absorb and a little bit of trial by fire too,” says Travis.
It’s a great message for young people interested in getting into this exciting and dynamic world of distribution.
His supervisor role involves directing and training a full-time team plus temporary and casual staff across multiple commodities for import and export. This includes ensuring accurate record keeping and receipting of inward and outward products, dealing with customers day-to-day, overseeing logistics to make sure products reach the destination on time, and effectively managing issues.
“It’s a complex business with exacting standards that need to be met at every stage of each process and in accordance with New Zealand and international regulations and market restrictions,” he says.
Travis is looking to expand his experience on the logistics side of the business.
“I really enjoy the challenge of bringing everything together for timely delivery. It’s really what I do now, just on a grander scale. Instead of forklifts and cool stores, logistics is about dealing with trucks and a region."
He’s also keen to gain more qualifications such as the New Zealand Certificate in Business (First Line Management) – Level 4, and at the same time, coach another CSN team starting the distribution programme.
“I just want to keep moving up. It’s one step at a time with a company that gives you a massive ability to branch out.”
As well as moving goods in the right direction, Travis’s career is going the same way too.
For more information, please contact ServiceIQ on 0800 863 693 or email intel@ServiceIQ.org.nz