I am a Buyer at Energy Assets and my role is to ensure the purchase of all products and materials that the company needs to keep running efficiently.
It is quite hard to describe my day to day tasks as this varies greatly, however, my main duty is to plan purchases based on the company’s needs and usages, with the aim of ensuring an efficient procurement process and secure cost savings.
I work as part of a Purchasing Team but also work closely with other areas of the wider Logistics Team including stock management, warehouse and reverse logistics. Before COVID we all worked closely together, in the Sheffield office, to ensure the Logistics function of Energy Assets ran smoothly.
My core deliverables include negotiating the best deals with our best suppliers on a quality/cost ratio, monitor deliveries and stock levels and evaluate the purchase/introduction of new items. All of what I do ultimately helps to provide the best service possible for our customers and end users.
Working through a Global Pandemic
During the first stage of lockdown, in line with the Government restrictions, we saw a decrease in general demand, as did the rest of the country. This initial period provided us with a timely opportunity to reconcile systems and procedures, which we are now reaping the benefits of.
The hardest part of working through COVID-19 was going from working in a busy office to working alone at home. It took a bit of getting used to, however, having the use of Microsoft TEAMS has helped this transition run as smoothly as possible. Also maintaining a work/life balance has become more difficult this last year, however, I try to set a clear working day and to resist the urge of checking emails on days off.
Although this time is challenging, Energy Assets’ approach is excellent and I feel supported as an employee.
Skills of a buyer
Procurement is a fantastic career choice for anybody looking for a varied and exciting role. You will be constantly tested and involved in a wide variety of projects. In order to do well you must have strong presentation and analytical skills and the ability to communicate ideas through a wide range of formats to a variety of stakeholders.
The below are the key skills I have developed over the years and I think are core for this type of work:
- Relationship Management – Need to be able to build relationships with both suppliers and within our own company to ensure the procurement function operates seamlessly.
- Strong Negotiation Skills – The ability to be able to deliver value to our business.
- Time Management – Need to be able to deliver to a timescale that suits the needs of our business and customers.
- Strategic Thinking – To think about future demand, trends and have the ability to react to keep up – and ahead - of any shifts in the market.
Motivations and challenges
I enjoy how much variety there is in my role. I wouldn’t be able to work in a career that felt like Groundhog Day every day. A close second to this is successfully completing tenders and making cost savings. It’s a great feeling when you can report that you have saved 100s if not 1000s of pounds through negotiation with suppliers. Ultimately this can only help our customer base in the longer term.
As a buyer at Energy Assets every day comes with a different set of challenges and sometimes problems that need solving including the fact that there is never enough time in the day to do everything. Another key skill needed for working in procurement is definitely the ability to prioritise and multi task.
Evolution at Energy Assets
Initially my role was to ensure we had stock in place to meet the day to day needs of the business and our customers. I now lead a team to accomplish these same goals which allows me time to work closer with the management team looking at the larger procurement needs.
Over the past 2 years I have definitely improved my ability to multi task, which is essential in a business the size and scale of Energy Assets that is growing as quickly as we are.
As Energy Assets continues to grow, based on our company ambitions and plans, I hope to be able to gain exposure to other areas of the business and continue to improve my supply chain knowledge. Internal opportunities will present themselves I’m sure. My hope is that this will open up future project management opportunities and greater responsibility, incorporating larger budgets and criticality.