Interview: Brammer UK Ltd
Name: Gillian Holmes
Job Title: Head of UK Supply Chain
Company: BRAMMER UK Ltd
How long have you worked for BRAMMER?
What business is your company in?
MRO Supplies and Solutions
How long have you worked as a Head of Supply Chain?
5 years (2 businesses)
During your time in this field, what changes have you
Since first heading up a Supply Chain division 5 years ago I
have watched the need to be agile and flexible in your supply chain
design and also the ability to be responsive to the changing needs
of customers and suppliers increase at an amazing rate. The need to
drive continuous improvement into the supply chain in real time is
at the forefront of successful solution providers. Mind sets have
changed considerably in the last 5-10 years in so much that
business more than ever now recognise the need to understand the
total cost, structure and culture of their supply chain end to
Is it very different from when you first started out? How has
your industry changed in regards to supply chain planning?
Yes, it was much more reactive with many improvements being
developed on the back of costly errors or issues. Many of our
Buyers (customer) are now planning and modelling their supply chain
to understand cost versus service, and managing the environmental
supply chain as well. No matter what business industry sector
Supply Chain Management is becoming more of a science deployed with
intuition and experience. More and more supply chain managers are
using mathematical and technological tools to model the structure
of the supply chain. Of course the real trick is making a model
into a profitable reality.
How has your job changed as a result?
Whilst instinct is irreplaceable in business, today it is as
much more about taking a "gut feel" and systematically modelling
the possible outcomes of that change or design. I am able to
factually test theories in a "safe" environment before changing my
organisation which allows me more freedom with less risk. It drives
creativity and in complex supply chains it can allow you to work
though the options to simplify which may not be immediately
What is your opinion on the future of Supply Chain
It has a firm place in our future in designing, costing,
developing, optimising and managing our supply chains. Any business
can optimise it's profitability through good supply chain planning
and modelling, managing key objectives areas and working with the
What personal challenges do you face on a day to day basis in
Managing complexity is still a challenging area today,
understanding where we can simplify without impacting key objective
areas. Also, matching the structure and culture of a business to
the supply chain design, including process and people mapping is
still a complicated and tough process but of course a critical
How do you overcome these?
Competency based role planning has been critical and using this
is resource recruitment and deployment has allowed us to optimise
our resource. We've done this following some key modelling within
specific areas of the supply chain and plan to use this in other
areas going forward.
What software packages do you use to assist you with your
ADP Kerridge, CRM technology
What is your hot tip to others who do a similar job to
Understanding the Organisational and market impact of your
supply chain is crucial. Supply Chain teams usually are under
constant pressure to over perform, to balance the business and take
pressure off other areas. Knowing how, where from and how much is
great insider knowledge.