What do you like about working at Toll?
The best thing about working at Toll is getting exposure to different business units (BUs) through numerous rotations during the 2-year program and subsequently, developing a holistic understanding of the business. These rotations expose us to an array of work and the opportunity to build a strong foundation in the logistic industry. For instance, when I first got involved in the COTY project at the start of the graduate program, I believed logistics was just about warehousing for giant retailers. But my first rotation at Toll Offshore Petroleum Services (TOPS) gave me a completely different outlook on the logistics industry since it is an Offshore Supply Base offering mainly serving the Oil & Gas companies. The industry is truly extremely diverse! Additionally, as a graduate with ample opportunities to interact with the Senior Leadership Team was very inspiring in terms of understanding their future aspirations for the progression of Toll. Lastly, senior staff at Toll truly care about graduates as people and about our professional growth.
What has been the most exciting thing you have do so far?
My first rotation at TOPS have been quite exciting since it is a business like no other. When I first began my rotation at TOPS, I was extremely fascinated by the huge vessels (ships) berthing at the jetty. Then it occurred to me how/why exactly are they so balanced and steady with the currents of the sea. Subsequently, I learnt about mooring – which basically means securing the vessel to permanent structures using a thick rope. I was fortunate enough to observe this happening (obviously under supervision) and attempted to pull the vessel with the assistance of wharf personnel. Furthermore, during the rotation, I visited the explosives warehouse at the Loyang base. I learnt about the storage/warehousing of Class 1.4 explosives at the bunker constituting mainly numerous fireworks and firearms, about the classification of the explosives, what detonators are – i.e. primary explosives, the types of detonators – the electrically charged detonators, detonators containing nitrates, how these dangerous goods actually get activated/ work and the safety measures to be taken around these explosives (such as the three layers of alarm system and timed door locking system). However, the Loyang Base is not permitted to allow vessels to load or unload explosives at the jetty and neither are we allowed to store arms & ammunitions since TOPS doesn’t possess the license to store explosives of this category. These explosives are unloaded at Tuas (under government regulations) and transported to the TOPS bunker via road. This was a very stimulating experience as I learnt loads about explosives.
What has been the biggest learning curve /challenge for you so far?
The rotation at TOPS began with me learning/getting used to the Marine jargon. This was quite a learning experience as the vocabulary was not exhaustive at all and it did take me time to get used to it. However, using these terms everyday such as vessel draft, vessel beam, LOA, pilotage, bunkering, trimming the draft, ballas etc during the operations, I began to understand what each of these meant. Secondly, TOPS has its own schedule of rates that it provides the clients when they approach the organization with job requests. These schedules of rates comprise of the prices of facilities and services that TOPS provides and is a comprehensive 18-page document. This was extremely long to grasp, and I always had to refer back and forth to this document.
A big learning curve for me was when I got involved in a project with Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto being a mining giant, I was elated to be asked to work on this project. Rio Tinto had requested Toll to provide tenders to streamline its supply chain by importing at least some freight directly into Dampier rather than Fremantle. Rio Tinto required 50 TEUs per fortnight and the costing per TEU was required to be submitted. This project required me to price the different equipment and services at two different sites – Jalan Buhro & TOPS. While doing the pricing, I learnt that both the BUs need to liaise their services and work together to provide Rio Tinto the required facilities. This also expanded my knowledge of different kinds of vessels (chartering & commercial) used in the ocean cargo transportation, the operations & shipping guidelines that need to be abided.
How have you connected your university degree to your role at Toll?
I have studied Chemical Engineering which is very diverse from the logistics and supply chain. However, with the rising trend of global trade and e-commerce, the logistics industry has been peaking in the recent years. A few soft skills I could still apply at work were interpersonal skills to communicate my ideas, opinions or ask questions to my peers and managers. Furthermore, I was also able to exhibit my problem-solving skills for the benefit of continuous improvement to distinguish the company from the alike and offer a competitive advantage. Furthermore, my rotation at TOPS was more of a learning experience rather than being focused on working projects after projects. This gave me an opportunity to really understand the marine business. During this process, I asked heaps of questions and made errors. Keeping a positive outlook and taking feedback and criticism constructively is key as managers are going to be busy and occupied but learning from them is also very essential!