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From faxing polaroid photos to working on a digital system, Joel has seen many changes in his 20 years at Pickles. We talked to him about his career development and what's next.

How has your role changed over the past 20 years?
It’s amazing to reflect on how much work life has changed. When I started we would take polaroid photos and post them to interstate buyers, booking in was on paper and we had a digital camera that you would plug into the computer. My role has changed from Booking-in/Wovr Clerk, to Customer Liaison Officer, Part time E-Salvage Manager, Salvage Manager and now National E-salvage Manager. I've done everything from reception to payments officer, valuations and auction clerking.

What is your day to day role like?
Day to day we are dealing with massive insurance companies and their clients, who are dealing with the loss of their often beloved cars. There is always a story, some very long, not many of them short, but always a story behind every car and how it came to Pickles.
We find new homes for the cars via our buyer network. Some end up as squashed cubes, some are sent overseas and others used for parts. As manager, I deal with staff, buyers, vendors, insurers and everyone in between.

You were instrumental in the development of E-Salvage. How did that come about and what was it like working on such a big and important project?
It came about as one of our vendors wanted to sell their low value salvage to the regional wrecking network to save on transport costs. However, their system involved using Assessor's photos, faxing them to selected wreckers and getting a tender price back within a week. We had an online tender system we had used in the past that could assist the insurer by digitalising this process. The first sales finished at midnight every Monday and we were using Windows Paint to cut and paste Assessor's images. Needless to say, there was some major tinkering that was undertaken to get the platform to what it is today.

What has been the most challenging or rewarding project you’ve worked on?
I would say the gradual development of the E-salvage framework, the holding facility network and the AutoCheck roll out to those rural holding facilities has been the most challenging project; all whilst selling hundreds of cars a week. The need for continual improvement and adaptation to what is happening in the greater world (technology) and pursuit of having the best system available to the buyers.

What opportunities have been offered to you at Pickles?
There has always been an opportunity to step up and perform in other roles when required. Some weeks you may be the Branch Manager, other weeks the Salvage Valuer or even the Booking Clerk if that’s what's required to get the job done. It has been great to see the change in recent years with the Leading Teams project, the focus on Customer Service and employee engagement surveys; which are great ways to learn and grow professionally and personally.

It is said that you’re an ideas man. How is innovation supported? 
Often I will have an issue arise and what I try to focus on is how to fix a problem from reoccurring and deciphering whether the problem is a once-off or if it is very likely to arise again. I then share my ideas with the broader team. Some ideas never make it past the email stage but often we will work together and if it’s functional we will roll it out. With so many cars passing through the doors the need for fresh ideas is paramount to keeping Pickles at the top of the salvage tree. 

What do you enjoy most about your role?
The best part is staff development. I love seeing someone come into the business or the department, giving them the right tools and support to succeed and seeing how much this can change a person's professional and personal development. 

Congratulations on your new role as Manager of National E-Salvage. What are you most looking forward to?
Sampling pies at every country bakery and the scenery I will see along the way, whilst developing the E-Salvage network. I think I will come up with a pie rating system that people will find useful. Similar to barstool storts and their pizza reviews, but Aussie style, swapping pizzas for pies. 

30 May