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Quote unquote – Derek Kay, Business Development Director, Logistex Ltd

Logistex Ltd

Logistex is an independent solutions integrator managing the design, development, commissioning and support for manual and automated warehouse systems. With its in-house developed WMS, LWS Reflex, and the freedom to select the most appropriate equipment to deliver the most cost-effective solutions, Logistex offers a comprehensive service to customers ranging from SMEs to blue-chip companies.

With a pedigree of more than 70 years in the industry, the company has seen many changes and has evolved unrivalled expertise in assessing customer requirements and creating innovative solutions across a diverse range of markets and services.

What brought you to this industry?

The fame and power it brings. Seriously though, after graduating with a degree in Computer Studies, I’d been working in Telecomm’s for a couple of years when a job came up for a small family business writing pallet control software I liked the idea of being a big cog in a small wheel so applied. Twelve months later I joined Logistex in one of its earlier incarnations, Io Systems, I’ve been here ever since.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

It’s different every day. I used to be Head of Systems prior to taking on the role of Business Development Director so I am still heavily involved in day to day projects as well as seeking out new opportunities. I can honestly say no two days are the same and what’s planned for tomorrow can change at the drop of a hat.

Who inspired you most in your career?

Wow, that’s tricky. If I were to choose just one it would be my former boss Gill Schofield. Gill was Systems Director at Logistex before I took over when she started a family. She has an amazing energy and is probably the most organised person I know. She’s just started training to be a secondary school teacher and I really admire her commitment to any task she undertakes.

If you were an item in a warehouse, what would you be?

I think I’d be some sort of multi-purpose tool, Maybe a screwdriver with interchangeable heads. I like to think I’ve a lot of different skills and am able to turn my hand to anything.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do different?

When we were under the ownership of FKI I had to make a number of redundancies. If I could go back I’d try to make better decisions earlier to avoid that ever needing to happen.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you at work?

Getting caught learning to rollerblade on a newly laid warehouse floor at a site we were commissioning when I was a Software Engineer.

Who or what makes you laugh?

Almost everything, I prefer to see the funny side in life. But specifically, I’m a great fan of classic comedy, Laurel & Hardy always make me laugh.

I’m also a great fan of good standup, like Billy Connolly, Peter Kay and Michael Mcintyre

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can juggle, both clubs and balls (but not at the same time) and can do a couple of pretty good card tricks. I’m also a PADI qualified Scuba diver.

Who would be your favourite party guest?

Nowadays my sort of party is a nice meal with interesting people, so if I could have anyone, it would have been Peter Ustinov.

What is the greatest luxury in your life?

With both my children at University at the same time, I dont have many luxuries! Although on reflection, maybe the biggest luxury is both my children being at University at the same time.

What is your favourite guilty pleasure?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sorry but it was a great show. The “Top 20 Episodes” were recently on Sky.

Do you have any secret ambitions?

In 2010 I did a charity trek on the Great Wall of China, it was a life changing experience. I’d love to do more adventurous challenges, probably learning bush skills or jungle treks.

What’s your dream holiday destination?

Well following on from my secret ambition, I had the opportunity this year to go to Borneo and live with an indigenous tribe of former headhunters but unfortunately it clashed with other things I was doing. Maybe next year!

What are your three favourite movies of all time?

Three Days of the Condor, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid and Cool Hand Luke

What is your favourite book of all time?

The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monserrat.

Its the story of a Navy Corvette in the Second World War.

What’s your favourite pastime?

Probably making things. If I have the right tools I enjoy building things from a mental image. I never write out a plan I just see where I end up. I recently made a flower trough from old pallets I had laying around.

If you won the Lottery, what would you do?

Pay off my mortgage and then do the same for my family. After that I’d start up a video games development company with my son. He can do the development, I’ll do the sales.

What would be your advice to someone thinking about coming into the industry (apart from “don’t do it”)?

It’s a tough industry now. People expect more for less and they expect it delivered quickly. If you’re joining the industry be prepared to be flexible and be able to adapt quickly. Most importantly though don’t forget that underneath it all everyone you meet, customer or supplier, is a person too, treat them with respect.

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