The role of a branch manager at GPH Builders Merchants is a diverse one. Duties include everything from the day to day running of the store such as HR, logistics, health & safety, managing and motivating staff and dealing with customer enquiries.
In our next instalment of the ‘Staff Focus’, we spoke to Stonehaven Branch Manager, David Christie. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: What was your background before joining GPH?
A (David): I served an apprenticeship as a wood machinist for a local firm trading in the manufacture of door, windows and stairs until they ceased trading then I moved to a firm in Aberdeen doing the same type of job.
I then had the opportunity to join a timber merchant who had just set up in Stonehaven. After that, I moved to counter sales with MacDougall and Masson, a firm that GPH bought over as the previous owners retired. In between these different jobs, I was a retained firefighter based in Stonehaven for 30 years having just retired in July 2017.
Q: Describe a typical day for you?
A (David): A typical day for me is arriving at the Stonehaven branch at around 6.45am, setting up the tills and making sure the delivery driver knows his routes for the day.
Each day is different as I can be ordering stock, attending meetings and conference calls, carrying out safety checks inside the shop and outside in the yard with some sales of course thrown in. At the end of the day, I lock up, making sure everything is secure and leave the premises at around 5.30pm.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge since joining GPH?
A (David): It’s been a bit of challenge learning a new operating system (going from paper to computer) but my biggest challenge has been the change from being one of the boys to become their boss.
Q: What has been your biggest professional success/achievement?
A (David): I’m regularly proud when any quote or price given to a customer is accepted no matter the value. This shows me our customers feel they can trust me and know I will do everything to see the job through from taking the order, making sure we have the stock to deliver on the required date.
Q: What is your favourite thing about working for GPH?
A (David): What I like most about GPH is that it’s a very friendly working environment and that comes from the very top (from the Chairman) all the way down.
Q: What do you do to relax/unwind?
A (David): To relax I watch football as I follow Montrose Football Club and attend as many home games as I can. This can be quite stressful during some games. I also play golf but as many of my colleagues (he says laughing) would say I do this ‘very badly’. When I’m at home I read books and a lot of my time is spent babysitting my 2-year-old grandson.
Q: What’s the best piece of work-related or personal advice you have received?
A (David): The best piece of advice I was given was actually very simple: if you need help, don’t hesitate to ask.
Q: What would you say to someone who has never been to a GPH branch before?
A (David): People should visit GPH because the staff at all branches are polite and extremely helpful. They’ll get the items you require to get your job done even if it means going above and beyond.