Darryl Blackwell – A Team That Makes A Difference

Darryl Blackwell – A Team That Makes A Difference

Date Published: 22 February 2019 |

Darryl Blackwell, Operations Manager at Sawtry Depot, has worked for Clear Channel for 29 years. Starting as an Operative, Darryl has worked his way up through the ranks to his current role of Operations Manager. Over the years he has seen his role change dramatically, and Sawtry depot is now responsible for all the supply and storage of Clear Channel’s vast digital portfolio. We grabbed a minute of his time to chat about the evolution of Out of Home, his work leading Fairness initiatives, and how his team continue to make the difference.

“I started as an Operative and worked my way up,” Darryl begins. “I actually started at the Hayes depot, moved to the old Acton branch, and then to Sawtry in 2005. Over the years I’ve seen the Sawtry depot grow from a small sub-depot, to 25 staff servicing 47 boroughs. We now provide the stock and storage for all our digital estate, so aside from the standard delivery operations, a large part of my job is now also managing haulage and the logistics of transporting digital infrastructure. I do like to keep a structure at work, but there really isn’t a standard day-to-day, and my role is hugely varied. I attend meetings and liaise with our partners at Amscreen, making sure all relationships are strong, as well as dealing with all our other depots and even Clear Channel International.”

We asked Darryl how he navigates the evolving future of Out of Home.

“I can’t stand negativity” Darryl says. “It should always be about the positives, and seeing how my role has changed over the years and the rapid growth of digital, it just shows how Clear Channel and Out of Home will continue to thrive.”

“In the coming years, I like to think my role will stay roughly the same, but our operations here will certainly continue to expand, and we’ll have to continue to think about the logistics of storing and moving lots of digital stock. I think also we’ll have to become quicker and more reactive at responding to the demands of digital.”

Change is something that Darryl is championing through his work organising the Southern Fairness Group – where a selection of Team Leaders across the Southern region, alongside Darryl and assistant managers in Birmingham and Dartford, meet quarterly to discuss how Clear Channel can build on the results of a recent employee survey.

“It’s a project I’m determined to see through, because I know it will reap rewards,” Darryl explains. “We held our first meeting in January in Hayes, and all the team leaders representing the Southern branches attended. We discussed how we tackle the issues that came out of the survey, looking at lowest and highest results, and how we engage with our teams to improve everything. Generally all the results were very good, but there’s always room for improvement, and at the first meeting we came up with a number of individual targets for each team leader. We’re already hearing good feedback from across the various depots and exploring further ways to engage with our operatives.”

For Darryl, who took extra qualifications to better understand the haulage side of the business, managing a varied and talented team at the Sawtry Depot is hugely important.

“I do try not to lose sight of the operations side,” Darryl says. “We have got a fantastic team here at Sawtry and it’s down to them that we can conduct all our delivery operations smoothly, as well as manage our digital estate. It’s a mixed and unique team, dealing with national issues as well as regional. As our digital portfolio increases and workloads shift, I rely on having a great team, and I’m constantly re-evaluating ways to make the structure work more efficiently and continue to deliver great results. My objective is to think of ways that will better future proof both the branch and business.”

Having started as an Operative, Darryl is also passionate about constantly developing and helping members of his team.

“It’s really important to help members of the team develop and grow – get them to be ‘company-minded’ but also think outside the box. We’ve definitely had lots of success stories over the years and something I’m really passionate about.”

“Something I definitely try and instil with everyone is the idea that change is always for the better. It can sometimes be quite daunting for someone who’s been in the company for quite a long time and is used to a certain way of working, but I think it’s really important to grasp change. And I’m proud to say that the team has been behind me and are championing this. They’re definitely on this journey with me, and I wouldn’t be here without them.”

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