“Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary responses and I am so proud of how our entire team pulled together.”
The efforts made by Dundee workers to keep food flowing to convenience shops during last week’s snow have been revealed.
The heavy snowfall did not daunt staff at the CJ Lang depot, which supplies all the SPAR shops in Scotland.
One member of staff even walked for two-and-a-half hours through the snowstorm to get to work.
Round-the-clock snow clearing and gritting was put in place while each lorry took an average of 30 minutes to dig out of snow, load and depart.
Everyone rose to the challenge
CJ Lang chief executive Colin McLean said: “Extraordinary situations called for extraordinary responses and I am so proud of how our entire team pulled together to ensure community SPAR stores received their deliveries.
“We had staff members who walked for two-and-a-half hours to get to and from work and others who drove around in their own car collecting stranded colleagues to help them get in and out of work.
“The depot has put out larger volumes in the past but never have we faced such adversity.
“Weather warnings, blizzards, jack knifed lorries in car parks and closed roads proved extremely difficult, but everyone rose to the challenge and we delivered the goods.”
Convenience shops vital in bad weather
As well as supplying all SPAR stores, CJ Lang also operates more than 100 of the 300 SPAR Scotland shops.
Based in Ballindean Road, it is Scotland’s largest independent retailing and distribution company.
Last week 650,000 cases of products were scanned in, replenished, picked, loaded and delivered.
Mr McLean said the company felt the responsibility to make the deliveries in the knowledge convenience stores would be in high demand during the bad weather.
“When the snow comes people do shop local and it’s very important that we could deliver from a customer perspective,” he added.
“In saying that we are also conscious of our staff’s safety and some things are left to driver discretion.
“In the end we managed to make deliveries to all of the shops except one. We couldn’t get into the car park at MacAlpine Road on our doorstep.
“That’s also down to the shop teams working with the drivers to help clear a way to get them in.
“Everyone really has pulled together to play their role in helping communities. They are our unsung heroes.”
Preparation for Storm Darcy
The company’s distribution director Colin Chapman also praised the efforts of workers.
He said lorry drivers were sent out with extra clothing and food in case they became stranded.
Some workers who had been working during the day stayed on to work through the night to help colleagues.
“One person on the night shift had walked in from Tayport,” he said.
“There were others who had walked four miles, six miles, from all over Dundee.
“We increased the overtime levels. Some workers stayed on and worked through the night.
“Our shops are based in communities so if we don’t deliver then that community doesn’t have the supply it needs.
“People here just get on with it and want to help. When we face tough times, we pull together.”
The distribution centre in Dundee has a fleet of 55 vehicles. CJ Lang employs more than 2,100 people across Scotland.