Can you give us an overview of your role?
My role is fundamentally to find, manage and develop dependable suppliers that can align with Finnforest’s strategy. Understanding the supply and demand dynamics of our products markets, and negotiating effectively with suppliers is key to achieving competitive prices for the business. Consistent product quality and high service levels are achieved through setting targets and monitoring on-going supplier performance.
What do you like most about your job?
To make a good buying decision it is important to have access to as much accurate market and supplier information as possible. This information has to be collected through the many business relationships that have been developed both internally across all departments and externally with suppliers and trade professionals. This interaction with so many different roles and personalities, and the piecing together of all of the information to complete the puzzle is the most enjoyable part of my role.
What do you think makes your role important to the business?
In my view procurement is important to the success of any business, with the very basics of trade being the ability to buy effectively and sell profitably. If a company can buy well, create value through its operations and maximise sales it will be profitable. Decisions made in procurement and the performance of key suppliers is reflected throughout all levels of Finnforest. The reputation of Finnforest for providing excellent products and service quality to our customers is not only generated through internal capabilities, but also from important contributions from our supplying firms. Ultimately, if a buyer doesn’t make the correct pricing decisions, then Finnforest would be unable to generate profits.
What is your main motivation?
My key motivation is to keep looking for improvements in terms of the value created by our suppliers being passed through into Finnforest. It is very important to identify an opportunity to become better, lock it down so it becomes the norm and then move on and look for the next opportunity. I think this is also true on a personnel level when looking for improvement in your own knowledge and career development.
What do you find most challenging and rewarding about your job?
Generally, the more competitive the industry, the more strategically important the Procurement Department is likely to be. The fact that Finnforest operates in a fiercely competitive market provides a challenge to the buying team, and makes the rewards of achieving a cost benefit, or generating a valued performance improvement, more important and therefore rewarding.
You are currently studying for an MBA, how do you balance your job and study?
It can be tough studying and working, but the rewards are great. Long study weekends and late nights in the office are the name of the game. The great thing about studying for an MBA is that the teaching is very relevant to my role, allowing me to implement some of the ideas and making the learning easier to digest for exams.
What are your hobbies out of work
Outside of work, I am a keen fan of almost any sport you can think of and a long suffering Tranmere Rovers FC supporter. I enjoy playing golf, football, tennis and manage to sneak in the odd trip to the mountains every now and again to do some snowboarding.
Richard has worked hard to be able to fulfil both his day-to-day contribution to the business as well as giving the time and effort that a MBA course demands. Richard is an asset to the division, and his desire to learn and become a purchasing professional will add further strong foundations to the department. This is already being seen in discussions held with suppliers, and debates internally regarding differing strategies and assessing situations from different
points of view.