Sharon Robertson, senior buyer, CB Technology shares her experience having joined CB Technology a few months back and gives us an insight into her expertise and career journey so far.
Tell us a bit about your career progression prior to joining CB Technology.
SR: I happened to enter the world of procurement by chance after starting off on the Mitsubishi production shop floor, where I worked in several different departments from store administrator to finance. Finally, I arrived at a role that seemed to work well for me as a purchasing clerk. I then spent 21 years working for Mitsubishi where I made many lifelong friends and I'll forever be grateful for the opportunity afforded to me.
In 2014 I made the big decision to move to Babcock International to develop my career further under different market conditions. In 2016 I moved back into the Electronics Industry to SKF and was later made redundant. Before joining CB Technology I worked with Invinity Energy Systems which is a remarkable new product in the renewable energy space.What does a Senior Buyer’s role entail?
SR: A huge part of my role involves high-level supplier communication which includes audits at supplier’s sites and negotiation for annual pricing. Another important facet is managing procurement with rising materials costs and working on finding efficiencies for both CB Technology and OEMs. I’m often the lynchpin between engineering and sales to ensure all-around smooth operations. As a senior buyer, I’m also working on introducing new products for our clients with proper planning and forecasting of materials involved.
- How has the procurement market in industrial manufacturing evolved over the last 21 years of your working career?
Technology has certainly helped a lot over the years with online sourcing being a massive benefit and of course, the flexibility to be able to work from home or overseas. We are still feeling the aftereffects of Brexit and the pandemic. Challenges require us to be savvy and respond to them proactively.
- What are some of the challenges in your role and how do you turn those into positives?
It’s challenging to find the exact raw materials at the right price. This means we always need to have a good relationship with suppliers and internal stakeholders. Whatever the hurdle it’s imperative we get the job done without it impacting our customers and their operations.
- You landed up in procurement by chance, What would you advise people joining the workforce or looking for a career change to join the procurement industry?
Procurement has its ups and downs like most roles but when things work out you have a big say in the larger picture of the organisation’s functioning. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel the world through my job which has been amazing and one of the most enjoyable parts of my job.
- Could you tell us about a few tough moments in your career, and what you learnt from them to make you stronger?
Communication for me is key, and over the years I found constant follow-up prevents issues from escalating. One person’s understanding of a situation can be different from the others so it’s imperative to always stay clued up on all matters across all departments within the organisation.Your top three career highlights.
- Travelling the world to visit suppliers and experience different cultures.
- Making lifelong connections and friendships.
- Getting involved in manufacturing exciting new products like aircraft carriers and heat pumps
SR: I’ve recently started hill walking with a few Munros completed already. I also love to socialise with friends and colleagues.