Rob Whittington is in charge of his third Batleys depot in three years working for the company, having become manager of its biggest cash and carry six months ago.
He began his career in the cash and carry sector with Nurdin & Peacock 15 years ago, and remained with that company for two years after it was taken over by Booker in 1996, before joining Batleys to open its Southampton depot.
He says he had a fulfilling start to his career with Batleys as the new depot was developed on a greenfield site and he and regional controller Paul Woodthorpe were able to have a considerable input into its design and layout. Having steered that depot through its opening phase, he was the natural choice to do a similar role for Batleys' depot in Swindon, which was again built on a greenfield site.
Then, in October, he was made manager of the Birmingham depot, which at 140,000 sq ft is the largest in the Batleys estate.
With such a large site, the depot comes with a larger than normal complement of staff ­ 119 ­ compared with 80-90 for the average Batleys depot, and Whittington says a lot of his working week is spent managing his team.
One of the most rewarding parts of the job, he says, is training and developing his team. He is proud of the fact that his number three at Southampton joined him as his number two at Swindon and is now general manager there. Also, his number three at Swindon is now deputy manager at Southampton.
He believes keeping in touch with customers is key. He spends one a day a week on the road with his trade development manager meeting customers in stores. "It is important to understand what retailers are buying from us, and what they are buying from others, and why."