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Metro Interview with Robert Levering, “The Delivery Guy”

At Metro Interior Distributors, we’re dedicated to the on-time delivery of building supplies. But prompt fulfillment doesn’t just happen. In fact, there’s a whole team of dedicated employees at Metro who are up and on the road, making sure each order arrives on time, well before the sun rises, each and every workday.

We recently talked with a seasoned Metro delivery driver, Robert Levering. When asked his title, he laughs and says, “I’m guess my title is ‘the guy who makes the deliveries!’” Many of his orders take him into Manhattan, so he’s seen it all. “I enjoy making deliveries in the city,” Levering reports. “It’s very exciting. It’s a big, busy place, and every day is different. I’ve been here eight years, and I can tell you that this is definitely not a boring job!”

Levering has seen a lot of changes in New York City during his time at Metro. He’s transported Metro building supplies to many landmark projects in Manhattan, including Google, Hudson Yards, World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, the Museum of Modern Art, most of the Broadway theatres, The Hard Rock Café, as well as frequent deliveries to Rockefeller Center. “They’re always doing something there,” he laughs.

Early Deliveries Make Life Easier for Everyone

“I get up at 2:00 am,” he explains, “and get to the yard at Metro by 3 am. I go through all of my tickets beforehand. I’ve been doing this a long time and I already know how a lot of addresses are set up. So I usually know which ones go to loading docks and which ones just go to a freight entrance.”

He adds that the product gets delivered to the sidewalk by the worksite in some cases. “I’ve been delivering to construction sites in Manhattan for a long time. I know when I can drop off supplies even before workers arrive. I’m in the city by 3:30 am, so I have the sidewalks to myself, and deliveries are easier. If I had to wait until 6:30 am, I would have to deal with heavy traffic and lots of people on the sidewalks, so I might not have clear access to a site. When I can get a jump on it, I don’t have to worry about parking or holding up traffic.”

Delivering Building Supplies on Time Isn’t Always Simple

Levering reports that when you’re delivering supplies in Manhattan, everything can be challenging.  “Very narrow, one-way blocks can be tough,” he notes, “and New York City has a lot of them! You can only park on one side of the street on some blocks. When that happens, we might have to disassemble the entire truckload on the sidewalk before we can get the materials to the worksite.”

He continues, “What we do on a regular basis, most people wouldn’t believe. For example, the block for the delivery address can be so congested with cars and construction sites that there’s absolutely no place to park for access. When this happens, we typically end up driving a block or two away to actually find a spot. Then we unload the truck two blocks away and use the sidewalks to move stuff to the loading dock. It can take three or four trips up and down the blocks just to complete the delivery. With the amount of construction that’s going on in the city, this happens all the time.”

On-Time Deliveries Require Cooperation and Communication

Although Levering does everything he can to deliver Metro building supplies on time, he emphasizes that customers also play an essential role. “One of the most common delivery issues is when the site isn’t ready. Let’s say they want a 6:30 am delivery, and it has to go on a loading dock. Sometimes the customer doesn’t show up until 6:30. Then he has to check in, go up 20 floors and get some paperwork, and then come back down to the loading dock. So now we’re 20 minutes late because our customers weren’t ready.”

While Levering doesn’t mind waiting, he does worry that these delays affect the next delivery. “It can screw up everybody else down the line. When people schedule a delivery time, I’d ask that they be prepared and ready to take the delivery at that time.”

The second biggest issue occurs when Levering doesn’t have the contact information for the person on the job. “Sometimes, Metro wasn’t given the contact number for the person in charge of the delivery on site. Sometimes we’re given the phone number for the contractor himself, and he’s nowhere near the delivery address. Nobody likes to play telephone tag.  We need to talk to the guy who’s on the job, so when Metro customers order supplies, that’s the number they should give us.”

Meeting Challenges on Big and Small Orders

Levering says he can have eight smaller orders on one truck or have several flatbeds in line for a huge delivery. Both types of deliveries present challenges.

“Big deliveries can take a long time,” he says, “because there is a lot of coordination. First, you’ve got to unload your truck and then get it out of the way to make room for the next flatbed. Next, you unload that second trailer and get him out of the way. And the same with the next trailer and the next. It’s quite a process, and it can take hours.”

But smaller deliveries also present challenges. “Sometimes, when we’re really busy, I can have eight stops packed on my truck. That’s a lot of material to be packed onto a truck, so it has to be loaded in a certain way for balance and stability. Then once you get to your first stop, it’s like playing Jenga. You have to remove certain pieces. Then, as you make your rounds, you need to readjust and stabilize the loads each time. This can be especially challenging for more fragile items such as sheetrock or ceiling tile, which can be easily damaged every time you move it. It requires a lot more time and care on our part to make sure every order is delivered intact.”

Metro Cares About Its Customers

“Customer service is really important to us,” Levering emphasizes. “We make sure everybody gets their deliveries on time, and we want to prevent any damage. For instance, we wrap everything in plastic in case it rains. We always try to do a little bit extra to make sure that the material that they get arrives on time and in good shape.”

He notes, “The thing I like the best is that Metro treats employees like family. We have a great staff, and I have a good boss. That makes it much easier to like my job!”

Let’s Talk More About On-Time Delivery

If you want to work with a building supplies distributor that takes delivery times as seriously as you do, contact us today to speak with a sales rep to discuss your delivery needs. We’re up for the challenge!