For someone who always had a fascination with building things and logistics, the chance to modify and move containers around Australia at Royal Wolf was a dream job for Mitch Brown.
“I enjoy fixing things and understanding the engineering behind it. So, to be able to weld steel structures to create new products and combine it with the logistics industry was a major bonus,” says Mitch, Leading Hand at Royal Wolf’s busy Darwin branch.
“I’ve grown and developed hugely at Royal Wolf – and gone from being on the tools repairing damaged containers, to learning how to fit and finish windows, doors, and air conditioning units, through to being able to follow engineering drawings, modify containers, and operate machines up to 30-tonne.”
Mitch has progressed through the ranks at Royal Wolf in a number of different roles, including repairer and welder, Maintenance and Repair Coordinator, Operations Supervisor, and most recently Leading Hand.
“It’s a hugely diverse role. I’m responsible for the operational running of the depot. That can be everything from making sure container modifications and repairs are completed on time and coordinating stock movements, through to overseeing quality control, ensuring we meet KPIs, and liaising with customers to help them meet business challenges.
“I enjoy the challenge of constantly trying to improve the efficiency, consistency and overall productivity of my team and the business. It’s all about striking that balance between having a laugh and a good time but knuckling down and working hard when you need to.”
His leadership qualities, and experience across a wide range of roles, has meant Mitch has covered positions in depots around Australia including Adelaide, Perth, and Geraldton.
Learn while you earn
After completing secondary school in 2015, Mitch made the decision to work for six months before going to university. He started with Royal Wolf in 2016 at the Perth branch as a Trades Assistant to provide increased support in the fast-growing local market.
He relished the diverse, and fast-paced nature of the container industry so much that he decided to forgo fulltime study to continue work at Royal Wolf and take up professional development opportunities through the company.
Since then, he has achieved Working at Heights and Forklift certifications and is currently studying part time to complete a Certificate in Leadership and Management at Charles Darwin University with Royal Wolf’s financial assistance programme.
Darwin Branch Manager Leslie says Mitch is self-motivated and takes every opportunity that comes his way.
“He doesn’t just dip his toes in the water, he jumps in with both feet. He sees the big picture in life and takes other people along for ride and helps them realise their potential.”
She says while Royal Wolf provides extensive training and professional development opportunities, the onus is on employees to seize those opportunities and make the most of them.
“Mitch is a great example of putting the work in to achieve great results with the study and development options he’s had. It has enabled him to expand his knowledge, grow his skill sets further, and most importantly, continue to develop the incredible leadership potential he has.”
Darwin a key national hub
A typical day in the Darwin branch starts like all Royal Wolf locations across Australia and New Zealand, with a Daily Safety Huddle.
“Managing the safe operation of the yard and ensuring all that is done safely and efficiently is a key part of Mitch’s role,” says Leslie.
However, she says, because of the branches remote location it has unique logistical challenges that other branches don’t.
“Everyone falls in love with Darwin, because of the lifestyle and the weather. But from a Royal Wolf business perspective it’s critical to ensure the right container products and stock are available meaning planning and preparation is key.”
Mitch says one of his key jobs is to ensure stock availability is above 90% and high turnover products are prioritised when being repaired so they can be redeployed efficiently.
“That means scoping what is scheduled to get de-hired that day, planning ahead to ensure there is adequate room in the yard to store it, and surveying containers coming off hire to process repairs as quickly as possible.”