December 6, 2016

A Night as a Lift-Truck Operator

valerie bourret
by Valérie Bourret

A Night as a Lift-Truck Operator

David Parenteau has worked full-time as a forklift operator for Bourret since 2005. Every night at midnight, his work begins. When will it end? The tasks are never alike... and that’s the beauty of his trade!

A Look in a Night of David Parenteau

What Happens During Your Night Shift?

When we arrive at midnight, items are classified by city. Drivers unload the merchandise that was picked up during the day and unloaded from trucks by drivers, and our job is to sort and load it. About 95% of the work is done with a forklift, and the remainder consists of boxes handled by hand. Loads vary greatly depending on the clients (hazardous materials, metals, etc.).

We have regular clients for whom I process loads almost every night, and others who are new clients. All are to be served on time. Few shipping companies can deliver as much merchandise as we do in so little time!

What Types of Truck Are You Loading?

We load the trucks with 48-foot and 53-foot trailers, heated trailers, equipped with a hydraulic tailgate. We also have three curtain-side trailers for easier loading of large-sized goods, such as wood and metal pieces.

How Many Trailers Do You Load in One Night?

Every driver loads about 12 vehicles, for a total of 130.

What Are Your Related Duties?

Every morning from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m., we must unload carriers from Ontario and reload them later. When we leave work in the morning, all merchandise has already gone on the road.

Do You Handle Unusual Loads?

Yes, tractors and machinery, for example. We also received the floors to cover the Centre Marcel-Dionne’s arena rink for the Jeux du Québec (Québec youth games). That was a first! Once a 63-foot rubber hose presented an interesting tall order!

What Do You Like About This Job?

It is an ongoing challenge and every night is different from the previous. The objective is to optimize the space in the trailer without damaging a client’s goods.

What Are the Main Challenges?

Not only must all the goods fit into the trailer, but we must also respect the order in which the goods will be delivered. Where possible, the trailer is divided into two “floors,” meaning 26 pallets will be on the floor and 26 pallets will be above.

What Are the Benefits of Working for Bourret?

This family business is focused on health and safety. We feel safe even if there are 50 forklifts, which is impressive. Each driver has an appointed regular forklift. Once a year, Bourret provides new working clothes.

What Are the Opportunities for Advancement?

At Bourret, we can apply to be a foreman, dispatcher or truck driver.

Do You Have Continuous Training?

Yes, continuous training includes training on hazardous materials, Act 430 on driving and off-duty time for heavy vehicle drivers, and CT-PAT certification, among others. We receive training on forklifts every two years focused on safety.

What Qualities or Skills Are Essential to Properly Perform Your Job?

We have to be physically fit since there is handling to do. It also takes a good memory to remember where the materials have been loaded, since we check not once but twice to prevent any error. We must be vigilant.

What Skills Have You Developed Over Time?

Memorization of cities and customers. Personally, I load for Drummondville. In other words, I know which client is assigned to which sector and merchandise and also at which moment the delivery is done during the run. By remembering, I am faster than if I have to frequently check the information in the computer system! We must also learn the location and nature of the goods for new customers.

Are There Misconceptions About Your Job?

Many years ago, the rumour was that we did not have safety in mind and we were driving too fast. In reality, safety is our priority and we follow the procedures in this regard. For example, we all wear jackets with reflective strips, and the speed of our forklift is limited.

Describe the Company

The activities of Bourret have nearly doubled since I started in the business, and they continue to grow. Our planning methods are constantly improving and our managers are open to suggestions. We also have a social club that organizes activities!

What Would You Say to Someone Who Wants a Career in This Field?

Many companies are looking for forklift operators; demand for employees is strong in this field. Salaries are competitive and there are good benefits. It is a rewarding job. I am proud to be part of Bourret since 2005 – I’m practically part of the furniture!

Are You Interested in a Position with Bourret?

If you have the experience and skills to meet the challenges of a forklift operator or another job at Transport Bourret, please send us your application now!

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