17 June 2015

Thinking of a career in Supply Chain? Hear straight from the graduate’s mouth how supply planning could be the job for you…

Author :
During university whilst studying Psychology, my career path was very unclear. With the job climate for my generation growing ever more challenging year by year, it is vital for university students now to establish a career path, gain relevant work experience and be determined to succeed.
A career in supply chain can offer a range of options from an endless choice of sectors. It can be an extremely stressful and ever-changing career choice however, for results driven and data orientated people, an extremely rewarding one at that. This week, I spoke to successful university graduate, Lee Hunter, Factored Supply Planner at Molson Coors on how he broke through into the supply chain and logistics sector and experiences so far as working as a supply planner.
Holly: Hi Lee, I hope you are well! It’s been a long time since we were both back in university together not waking up before 11.30 am every day! It’s great to see you're doing well and on the road to success. Let’s start general for the first question, when did you realise you wanted to work in logistics and supply?
Lee: Hi Holly! Yes I think we both miss those days!
I actually got interested in supply chain and logistics through generic business interest through school/A Levels etc. I found that learning about logistics and supply chains was more interesting and logical than maybe marketing was so made my choice to follow the operations route. Without a supply chain the marketeers wouldn’t have a physical product to sell anyway, so I guess knowing it’s a vital business area with so many varying styles and opportunities across different industries interested me too.
Holly: It’s great you realised the importance of supply chain so early on in your career! How did your experience at university help you get a career in supply chain?
Lee: I suppose it was the broad range of modules in first and second year which gave the basic foundations to supply chain/logistics but also confirmed my interest in the subject area. My degree included a 1 year sandwich placement with a vast range of companies openly looking our universities students (Nottingham Trent University) which let me experience working in a supply chain environment. Final year I specialised in Global Supply Chain Strategies with support from tutors etc so it was from here I really progressed and dedicated a career in supply and demand planning was definitely for me.  
Holly: I think in every degree, the modules the university provides has such a huge impact on what we decide our career choices will be. What advice would you give to other students planning on pursuing a career in supply chain?
Lee: Make sure you get the basic understandings as everything else supply chain related just builds on top of those, so if you like it/find it interesting you can dig further into specific areas of supply chain, like logistics… And getting work experience is a must!
Holly: Now that you're out of university and settled into your role as supply planner, what is the favourite thing about your job?
Lee: The responsibility. Still being relative fresh-faced and wet behind the ears, I have ownership of approximately £10 million worth of stock and help contribute a total of £20 Million to the business's top line… which has its pressures but is very enjoyable! The mix of products in my portfolio keeps me on my toes and the odd wine sample is always a nice treat!
Holly: I think with every new job, once that level of responsibility starts to rise, we take true ownership and pride in our jobs which ultimately is profitable for the company! Finally, just to give our readers and future people interested in becoming a supply planner, can you give an overview on what you do on a daily basis in your role?
Lee: My full title is: Factored Supply Planner for Wines and Spirits for UK&IRE on-trade customer base. In short, making sure we have the right amount of product in the right place at the right time at the right price/cost to the business is a large part of my daily routine. This involves working with and buying from 40+ suppliers from around the world (NZ, AUS, Chile, and Italy) and all of the fun associated with HMRC and Customs!
Holly: Well Lee, it has been a pleasure chatting with you again and I wish you all the best in your job!

As a tomboy child, Holly enjoyed watching wrestling and was The Rock’s biggest fan. She is from a tiny farming village in the north of England and has moved to Sydney to enjoy the city lifestyle. As a conference producer at Akolade, Holly enjoys researching with and learning from key professionals within a range of sectors to produce timely conferences. Furthermore, Holly enjoys how each day in the life of a conference producer is always different and exciting!