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Andrew, Supply Chain Director, Nestlé Purina Petcare UK & Ireland

My role is Regional Supply Chain Director for Purina UK, Ireland and the Netherlands. My job is to ensure that we support the business by delivering a best in class Supply Chain service at optimal cost. Put more simply, it's about delivering what the customer wants, when and where they want it.

My team is responsible for Demand Planning, Inventory Management, Warehousing, Distribution and Customer Service in three markets. I lead these teams, giving support, direction and driving an environment of continuous improvement. I also spend a lot of time on people development, succession planning and coaching with my managers; these are the things that help to drive performance.

A typical day in the office starts between 7:30 and 8am. The first thing I do is to check any new e-mails that have arrived and review my schedule for the day so that I can see what lies ahead. I will then catch up with e-mails and spend time with my Managers reviewing any current issues, particularly if I have been out of the office for a few days. We have a daily supply meeting every morning at 9am. I will attend this maybe twice a week so that I can stay on top of the main issues. It also gives me a good view of the things that may be coming up. The rest of the day is made up of meetings which are usually focused around improvement projects/processes and function related topics.

I always try to make time for my team and will generally spend part of every day walking round the floor talking to people and having a general catch-up on any specific issues or projects they are involved with.

In between I will fit in phone calls and action any e-mails. My day can be quite well structured but this can be disrupted if we have an operational crisis - my time will then become dedicated to resolving this.

On certain days in the month I have to attend board meetings, monthly forecast reviews, Distribution reviews and strategic meetings in Vevey. I also attend the Market Supply Chain strategy meetings.

How did I get started in my career? Well, after University I went into Retail for 4 years as a buyer. Having decided that I liked the Supply Chain element but not the buying side I started looking for an employer who could offer me breadth and depth in the Supply Chain. After some research I thought that Nestlé would be able to offer me the sort of career I was looking for. It was a multinational company working across a large number of categories and had a huge supply chain with a passion for continuous improvement. Career development opportunities appeared to be great and I was happy to be mobile to take advantage of this.

Unfortunately, there were no specific supply chain vacancies being offered so I applied for a factory role and started as a Team Leader working in Kit Kat production. Following 2 years in the factory, I moved to a Planning role in Ice-Cream and then into Customer Services in Confectionery. Bigger roles in Purina Pet Care and Chilled Dairy followed. Each time I moved I had more responsibility and was exposed to new and exciting challenges. Following my role heading up the supply chain for Chilled Dairy in the UK I moved to Vevey to take the role of Demand and Supply Planning Manager for Zone Europe.

Nestlé has helped to fulfilled my ambitions and goals but it is a two way process; you only get back what you put in. If you are prepared to work hard and can show that you can continuously deliver results then the rewards are there. Being mobile is also a huge asset and opens up so many more opportunities.

Nestlé has certainly delivered for me - I have worked across 7 different product categories, worked in 4 different locations and spent time in the majority of supply chain functions as well as doing a European Role. Working in Vevey was fantastic. It really helped me to understand how big Nestlé is and how it's able to leverage its scale. More importantly, it helped me build a great network and taught me lots of new skills, particularly leading virtual teams.

One of my greatest achievements was creating a European Demand and Supply Planning Team. We set and drove a common agenda across Zone Europe, aligning all the markets behind one agreed approach. This also spawned a European planning network which has been instrumental in driving best practice across Europe.

And the greatest thing about Supply Chain for me? "Every day is different and the challenges keep coming. There's certainly no time to be bored!!"

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