Michael Cavanagh, Compass’ Night Shift Supervisor

Late nights are not a problem for Compass’ night shift supervisor, Michael Cavanagh, who works weekdays from 2pm to 10pm.

He spent four years playing in a jazz band. The gigs were usually only getting started at roughly the same time that Michael is now leaving the Compass KwaZulu-Natal Westmead office to go home to his wife, Shervon, and two little girls, Che’ and Micah.

Michael grew up in Austerville (Wentworth) and then studied performing arts, majoring in music at UKZN. During university, Michael and three other “musos” started a band called, ‘Big Idea’, and played a mix of Jazz, Hip hop, Fusion and R&B. They performed at all the well known music festivals in South Africa – CT International Jazz, Oppie Koppie, Splashy Fen, Rocking the Daisies, and produced a CD entitled ‘Hot Box’. The band continued for four years after Michael qualified, during which time he also worked in a recording studio.

“Family responsibilities and financial commitments took over and the band unfortunately dissolved,” explains Michael. “However, with a small studio set up at home, I always find an excuse to have friends over for a jam session!”

Michael started his corporate career at Cipla Medpro Pharmaceuticals as a trainee, where they discovered his strength in logistics. He was then head hunted by R&R Trucking where he worked for two years before joining Trans Freight, a company which managed a fleet of twenty vehicles.

“I enjoy a challenge which is why when I saw the job at Compass being advertised, I applied immediately,’’ says Michael.

After a series of interviews, Michael joined the Compass (Medical Waste Services) family on 17 May 2015 and a year later he has made, and seen, substantial growth.

“With Compass being a national company comprising 502 staff, it has been an adjustment for me to communicate with a number of departments but it is what makes the job dynamic and exciting.’’

Michael has introduced a driver performer assessment programme which evaluates Compass drivers on the following criteria – consistently and efficiently completing allocated routes in accordance with the transport arrangements, completing waste manifest documents accurately, ensuring safety and compliance at all times and for practising good customer service.

Points are allocated for each assessment criteria and, according to Michael, the monthly assessment programme has had a very positive impact on the drivers. “They often pop into my office to see how many points they have accumulated and in which areas they can improve.’’

“In addition, it helps us to determine which drivers need additional training and in which areas. It is a very targeted approach to up-skilling our staff. It has also improved our service to our customers as it has encouraged our drivers and general workers to communicate more regularly with the distribution team based at the office,’’ explains Michael.

“If they are running late for a collection due to unforeseen circumstances, they let the office know immediately so we can notify the customer and access whether another vehicle can get to them more quickly,” he adds.

For Michael, working at Compass has been exhilarating. “No day is ever the same and no-one is ever satisfied with the status quo. When something is achieved, we don’t sit back, we strive to improve on our improvements.’’

“The 2016 internal theme for Compass is teamwork and the distribution department is taking this motto seriously. We collaborate, sing off the same hymn sheet and work in harmony – the perfect qualities for a great band,’’ concludes Michael.