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Alicia has managed the hub at Hemel Hempstead since 2019 and is responsible for the 300+ colleagues and self-employed contractors who operate from the site. It’s the largest location in the Smiths News network, from which over 40% of the Company’s’ news and magazines product is packed and processed. The hub and spoke model allows for transhipment to a further 13 regional centres for onward delivery to nearly 8500+ retail customers.

Alicia Alexander

Hub Manager, Hemel
Smiths News
Tell us about your job

I am responsible for the strategic leadership of the 24/7 operation in Hemel. My main objective is to ensure that my management team and I consistently deliver against our main priorities in relation to people, cost, service and compliance; whilst ensuring that the Smiths News values (creative, fair, friendly, open, quick and trusted) is at the forefront of everything we do.

Three smaller hubs were amalgamated into the site at Hemel shortly before I was appointed as Hub Manager, which meant that there were a number of challenges from the onset. I can genuinely say that our people, our real asset, has enabled a transformation into the high performing business it is today. It has been incredible to see the team develop, progress and feel empowered enough to lead the various change projects within the Business.

As Hub Manager, there is a standard Monday-to-Friday working week, starting at around 8am and finishing at about 4pm.

What’s it like to work for Smiths News?

It’s fast-paced, exciting and it’s a great company to work for. There’s an interesting blend of people, with some who have been here for a number of years with all the experience and knowledge, and new people joining the company with fresh ideas. A merge of the two means we are constantly improving what we do to ensure that our people and processes are aligned to deliver in what is a very dynamical environment.

Smiths News is excellent at supporting career progression and I am a great example. If you are committed and driven to progress, then the support and development is available to ensure your readiness for the opportunities as they arise.

How has your career progressed?

I actually started working at Smiths News in 1997, processing returns as a Warehouse Operative in Croydon, before being promoted to Returns Manager. I then moved to the Reading site, where I was appointed to the position of Distribution Manager after completing a trainee distribution managers programme. It was quite a coup for me at the time, as this was my first step into managing at a senior level, and not least because there weren’t as many women in our industry at the time.

Subsequently, I was successfully appointed to a number of operational leadership roles, some of which involved major change projects and amalgamations within the Business. This meant I was never without a new challenge or development opportunity.

My career path was certainly helped by working hard, being flexible, and taking advantage of the various development opportunities offered by the company over the years.

What do you do in your downtime?

When I’ve not got my head stuck in a book (I’m even in a Book club), you can usually find me catching up with friends or seeking out some new adventure. I enjoy travelling and a good game of badminton.

More case studies

Learn more about the careers of some Smiths News’ colleagues.

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