Interview: E.P. Barrus Ltd
Name: Paul Brownell
Job Title: General Manager - Spare Parts
Company: E.P. Barrus Ltd
How long have you worked for E.P. Barrus Ltd?
How long have you worked been in the industry?
In a supply chain environment for 24 years
During your time in this field, what changes have you
The main changes I have seen would be number one IT, I am
ashamed to admit to knowing what a telex is, IT has given us the
smaller global market -through the web- we can now sell, buy and
track transactions at a level only dreamed about 20 years ago.
Number two would be the development of outsourcing as an
industry on its own not only for the supply chain environment but
for every facet of any business- there seems to be a more cost
effective expert advertising in most fields these days.
And number three is the focus of UK industry on ensuring a
return from every single penny invested at every level.
Is it very different from when you first started out?
Hugely different from my first days in the industry - the
biggest change would have to be the speed of business and the level
of information available at your desk in an instant. The other big
change is the rules and regulations. Just to carry to carry out
business in the UK you have to go through so many hoops and ensure
you tick all of the boxes. I would never advocate abandoning all of
the common sense approaches to the environment, health and safety
or employer/ employee relations but some of the regulations
implemented today are insulting to the individual and create a fear
factor that must impact on investment decisions in the UK.
How has your job changed as a result?
The speed of business means you have to keep up or die, keeping
up with your suppliers and staying ahead of the competition is a
big part. We all hear working smarter thrown around the workplace
but few people are able to find the solutions to accomplish this.
Finding cost effective solutions is even harder.
What is your opinion on the future of Supply Chain
Supply Chain Planning will make the difference between keeping a
contract and losing it. In my view the future supply chain will be
shorter and dominated by a small number of key players on the large
scale. On the small scale all manufactures are being forced to make
the increasing costs of plant and materials pay and are looking to
maximise their resources through organised business partners or by
cutting the number of links in the supply chain network by taking
the role of distributor on themselves. Any pure distributor should
be concerned as to the future of current contracts. Unless the
distributor can add visibility and significant value to the
business at a supplier level then that distribution contract is
fragile. The future is openly sharing information and common
What personal challenges do you face on a day-to-day basis in
The challenges of every supply chain manager - reduced stock -
shorter lead times-improved fill rates-increased sales - with fewer
staff. Still working to achieve one of those.
How do you overcome these?
Seriously - the most important factor in achieving any of the
above is visibility and a focused approach to your business model.
With the right tools you can target the problem areas that every
manager knows he has - so for me the single key improvement in the
last four years is the ability to see the wood for the trees and
the opportunity to use a rifle rather than shotgun to resolve the
What software packages do you use to assist you with your
We have been an Optimza user for the last four
years. Our ERP system is GEAC system21 and we shortly to upgrade to
Aurora from Infor. Along with the standard PC offerings from Mr
What is your hot tip to others who do a similar job to
Find a way to measure your problems on a daily basis, be able to
see those problems at line level and act accordingly.