Peter Falconar not only remembers the days of mental maths accounting and carbon-copy orders; after forty years in wholesaling he’s so good with numbers he doesn’t own a telephone book!
Peter now holds the title of the longest serving Head Office-based employee at the UK’s Number 1 Delivered Wholesaler Palmer and Harvey.
His experience in the industry started at Plymouth-based WC Griffiths and Sons as a trainee accountant where his ability with numbers shone.
“I used to have a competition with a colleague in the office,” says Peter. “She’d add up figures on a calculator and I would read them from a long list upside-down from the opposite side of the desk. We’d have a race to see who could come up with the right answers first. I usually won!” Sadly, he added, the wager was often just 10p!
After Peter’s ten years of service, Palmer and Harvey acquired WC Griffiths in 1984 to complete their network of warehousing and he moved to the company Head Office in Portslade. As Field Administration Manager, he saw enormous changes in technology, communications and logistics.
Calculators changed to computers; hand -picked orders for deliveries changed to machine-driven stock selection; gradually the types of goods changed with the arrival of temperature-controlled vans.
When he first joined there were at least 70 individually numbered warehouses and, incredibly, he still remembers the numbers for many of them. Today there are just 14 distribution centres, all much larger and offering greater access to their regions.
As Operations Manager, Peter embraced the spirit of change helping to install all the IT systems in the newly created Brandon branch incorporating five other sites and heading-up on-site training.
“Peter is, and always has been, a most approachable and friendly colleague and we are delighted to celebrate his very special anniversary as the longest serving employee based at our Head Office,” says Group Director of HR, Brian Hurley. “Palmer and Harvey are fortunate to have nearly a hundred staff on the payroll across our UK network who’ve worked for us for over 25 years, and we greatly value their commitment and contribution to our business.”
During his time with P & H, he also handled the account of licensed trade supplier AH Black Ltd which then became P & H Glassware Ltd. He also worked with a management consultant for P&H analysing the business and after two years in the Medway branch was responsible for it achieving a quality management standards accreditation; the ISO 9000.
Peter now works on stocks control monitoring for the entire P & H operation.
On 1st January 2014 he celebrated his forty years with the company but says he is enjoying his professional journey so much, he really isn’t counting!