Interview: Belron


Name: Wendy Thomas

Job Title: Supply Chain Manager

Company: BELRON


How long have you worked for BELRON?

I have been with BELRON for eight months. Previously I worked for F Benders, Kelloggs, Honeywell and Ilford Ltd.

How long have you worked as a Supply Chain Manager?

I have been a Supply Chain Manager for the past ten years. Prior to that, I worked as a Supply Chain Specialist for four years.

During your time in this field, what changes have you seen?

I have seen businesses develop from using simple MRP systems to being driven by ERP systems and all the process changes that have resulted from this. As well as this change, companies have adopted the integration of front end forecasting and inventory management to drive business decisions and operational management. There has also been a growth of the Supply Chain function within the business structure aiming to develop and form the links needed from silo to silo so that the company's ability to do business becomes seamless.

Is it very different from when you first started out? How has the industry changed in regards to Supply Chain Planning?

Businesses where silo led when I started as a Forecaster/Planner, each silo worked as an independent profit centre. Decisions were made based on what was best for the individual silo.

Now, in the majority of cases, the business is viewed as a whole and decisions are made accordingly, across all functions. Supply Chains are now seen as an intricate part of business operations, from Strategy through to Tactics and on to Operations.

How has your job changed as a result?

My job is a continuous process of learning and exposure to change. I have seen the level of software use increase and the management of data become faster. As a result, the decision process time has been reduced and deadlines have shortened.

What is your opinion on the future of Supply Chain Planning?

With the continued growth of the IT industry we should see the development of more responsive tools to support the business management process in business decisions.
The role of the Supply Chain will continue to grow and lead to the integration of all areas of the business. It will drive customer satisfaction enabling businesses to achieve or exceed required levels at an economical and managed cost.

What personal challenges do you face on a day to day basis in your job?

Working for an international company, I have to be aware of the different cultures, different end customer expectations and different internal customer expectations.

How do you overcome these?

By having a good understanding of the business environments that I work within, developing strong working relationships and being open and approachable.

What software packages do you use to assist you with your job?

I use Oracle ERP Solution, Optimiza and CAST from Barloworld Optimus, and a number of bespoke host systems.

What is your hot tip to others who do a similar job to you?

Always be prepared to learn and enjoy what you do.

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