Our fantastic team at Creamline include award winning milkmen, depot managers and support staff – but whatever the role, all of the team are well known to our customers for going the extra mile. Find out why it takes an extra spark to be a part of the Creamline team.
Having done the rounds for the past 27 years, Phil knows what it takes to make a good milkman! Here, he shares why the personal touch is a must for the modern milkman, how the industry has changed over the years and why he loves being a Creamline milkman!
Phil, what was it that made you become a milkman?
Having worked my way up to head chef in a Manchester restaurant, the long hours and weekend shifts were starting to take their toll, especially since starting a family. After speaking to a friend about his job as a milkman I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go - I’ve never looked back!
What is a typical working day as a milkman?
Most milkmen start their round in the very early hours of the morning but I start a lot earlier than that! My usual shift starts at 10.30pm, when I load the van with customer orders and start my Timperley milk round around midnight, finishing at 7.30am - perfect timing for breakfast.
What sets you apart from your supermarket competitiors?
Where we beat the supermarkets hands down is our customer service. With many people working longer hours than ever and not having the time to nip to the shops every couple of days, knowing that you’ll wake up to a fresh pint of milk, a yoghurt or a loaf a bread is a must for many of our customers.
What’s the best part of your job?
It has to be talking to the customers, meeting new faces and building up relationships. Many of my customers say it wouldn’t be the same if I wasn’t doing the round, so I know they appreciate that I go the extra mile. I know all my customers by their first name, they have my mobile number and can call me to change their order for next day delivery - you can’t get better than that!
We caught up with Simon Carolan, to find more about being the son of a milkman, how he keeps fit by delivering milk and what keeps Creamline customers coming back for more.
Simon, what was it that made you want to become a milkman?
My Dad was a Creamline milkman, so it’s something I’ve always been familiar with. I have good memories of helping my Dad and other roundsmen within the dairy.
I love that the role is so active, I like to keep fit and delivering the milk allows me to do this all whilst getting paid at the same time! It’s a perfect match.
What’s your typical working day like?
I get up bright and early, set off for the dairy and take my electric milk float off charge. I load up all the products I’m going to deliver on that round – I put in everything I need: milk, food products and Creamline’s new market fresh fruit & veg boxes.
I set off delivering all the products to my customers in the morning. I like to collect the milk money in the morning, as it’s a lot easier to do it than at night.
Once my work is done, I set off back to the dairy where I put my milk float back on charge – ready to go for the next round.
Have you ever had any shifts that didn’t really go as planned?
I was learning a new round that I wasn’t familiar with at 01:00 in the morning. During this new round, I got an urgent call from the night staff who said that they needed me to go on one of my more familiar rounds, as one of my colleagues was ill and couldn’t deliver that day.
When I finished my new round, I went straight to fill in for the other round at 06:00 too. In the end, it was a very long shift but it was a proud moment, because I had managed to complete both rounds and all my customers received their morning milk.
Why do you think customers stay with Creamline?
I can see loads of reasons! Creamline offer six days of delivery, so people have fresh deliveries to keep them stocked up all week. We’ve got a lot of fresh local produce too; I think customers always want to get the freshest possible items.
We offer a really friendly personal service too. All my customers know me and it’s nice having a catch up with them; I really feel like part of the community.
Lisa Higgins, Supervisor
Creamline’s Lisa Higgins tells us what it is like working at Creamline Dairies, how her role has changed over the years and why the job is right up her street!
Lisa, why did you decide to become a milk delivery person?
After returning from travelling across America and Europe I was searching for a job and saw an advert in the local paper for a milk delivery person. I’ve always enjoyed working with the general public so jumped at the opportunity to work within my local area.
What do you like about your job?
I come from a customer service background, having worked in retail from the age of seventeen, so I like the one-to-one contact I receive from my customers. No two days are ever the same, which keeps me on my toes.
What is your typical working day as a milk delivery person?
After six years doing the milk rounds I’m now a supervisor, so my days vary depending on what role I’m taking on. I start work at midnight and will normally be finished by 7.30am, which means I’m heading to bed when most people are starting out for work. Twice a week I’ll collect in the afternoon, so that I see some of Manchester in the daytime!
Are there any difficult aspects to the job?
The working hours took some time getting used to. As a young person it can get in the way of my social life, especially if I’m completing a Monday to Saturday round. I’ve got used to the sleeping patterns though, I can sleep anywhere, anytime.
What are the biggest changes that have happened over the years?
The launch of our online service was a significant change to our working life, making it easier for customers to add to their orders before they receive them the next morning. It has also allowed us to grow the range significantly, providing more choice and convenience for our customers.
Why do you think customers stay with Creamline?
I think our customers like the personal touch that our service offers. On top of this Creamline is a traditional business that is committed to supporting local suppliers and farmers, something our customers respect.
Charlie tells us why he’s been a milkman all his working life and what gets him out of bed on an early morning, even in the rain!
Charlie, what inspired you to become a milkman?
A lot of my inspiration comes from my Dad’s influence, he was a milkman and I’ve got a lot of memories of him delivering milk; day in, day out. It was always something that appealed to me too, especially when I went out with Dad on his rounds – I can still remember the excitement of going out on a round for the very first time.
I’ve never looked back – I’ve been a milkman all my life and I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve stuck with the role because it’s one that’s always been so rewarding for me.
What’s your working day like as a milkman?
Get out of bed, cross my fingers for good weather and get on with my round! Of course, milkmen are known for getting out of bed bright and early, and I enjoy catching the first part of the day - it’s often the best part of the day. Rain or shine though I’m always working hard on my round!
Why do you think customers stay with Creamline?
Creamline is a company I’ve been familiar with for a long time and I think this is the case for a lot of customers too: they’re a well-known, well trusted, local family brand to a lot of households around Manchester and Cheshire.
Creamline have got great links to farming and the farming community: for a lot of people getting their milk delivered is something they want to continue.
Speaking to my customers, they often tell me that punctuality is something that they hold in high regard and Creamline has a great reputation for delivering products on time.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Being out on the round. There’s no other job like it. I get to be out there, on my own and in my own area. I know my area like the back of my hand and it’s always good to see familiar faces on my route.
The community I know and work with are what get me out there – I think it’s great that I have a job that means I’m so directly connected with my customers.
Jon fills us in on life at Creamline, from delivering milk to presenting the school roadshows – no two days are the same!
Jon, how did you end up joining the Creamline team?
I’ve been working for Creamline for around 33 years now! I started when I was very young, helping to deliver on milk rounds.
And what does a typical day look like for you these days?
In two words – very varied! I’m familiar with lots of different parts of the business – one day I could be out on delivery, another day I could be in the office completing admin, another day could be spent in the warehouse on stock control. I also head up the school roadshows.
What does your role involve at the roadshows?
I visit schools and host presentations, which include showing children our special Creamline video and Q&As. We’re helping children understand how our milk gets from the field to the breakfast table. The question and answer sessions are always entertaining – kids really will ask whatever comes into their head! The best question I was asked was, ‘how do the cows make the grass into milk?’ My answer – ‘it’s just magic!’
What do you like best about doing the roadshows?
Without a doubt, the best part of doing the roadshows is the smiling faces. The fun and enjoyment that the kids have is so great to see. There are no wrong answers – it’s all about the fun factor!
What are the biggest changes that you’ve seen at Creamline over the years?
Personally, the changes in my own role have been the most significant. And after working at Creamline for so long, there have been many! From starting out as a milkman doing shop rounds, to looking after the depot and supervising, life at Creamline has really transformed over my 33 years here.
What are the most difficult parts of the job?
I would have to say that the toughest parts of the job are the early mornings – I’m sometimes needed to pitch in on rounds if a member of the team is sick, and the cold and rain first thing can be a struggle! On the other hand, when you’re out and about in summer with the birds singing and the sun shining, it’s the best job in the world.
And what would you say are the best parts of the job?
The way that Creamline is going forward and expanding. We now have something for everyone, for example with our Best of Local range. We’re offering lovely fresh produce from local suppliers, putting more products on people’s doorsteps – even if you’re not a milk-lover!
One final question - do you have a favourite product?
I’m a huge fan of our yogurts – and now we have the farmhouse yogurts as part of our Best of Local range!