Role: Materials Manager in Subsea
Duration in current role: 2.5 years
Current work location: Aberdeen
How would you describe your job to a 10 year old?
Being a materials manager is like running a restaurant. We have multiple dishes that we can cook. Each of these dishes need ingredients or materials and they have to be cooked or constructed. These ingredients need to be bought from many suppliers, delivered when they need it and served on time to the hungry customers. Since they are large dishes, sometimes the materials need to be ordered many months in advance, before we even know what the customer would like to eat and how much. When the customer comes, he is often very hungry or on a strict diet. We need many people to make this work – people encouraging the customer to eat at our restaurant (our sales team), people buying food (our sourcing team), materials managers to work out how much food we need and when to buy it and project managers to dish it up to the customer. The only difference is, at Baker Hughes, we can’t eat our mistakes!
What part of your job do you find most interesting?
I love global supply chains, I find it so interesting how all the world is connected to each other and how it all works, and how we can coordinate with people around the world to deliver very complex projects. It’s just amazing how it all ties in together.
What part of your job do you least enjoy?
When we win a large project and I have to do all of the admin work of setting up a project in our material planning computer system. It’s very complex and time-consuming.
What inspired you to choose your career?
I chose this career in supply chain management because it has all the aspects I love in a job. It’s very analytical, people based and involves solving challenging problems in the world. My undergrad was in mathematics and my postgrad was in supply chain management . I’ve always been fascinated in how we can work together as a team to do things no one person could individually do.
What or who has had the greatest influence on your career progression?
One of the best things I’ve done was become a member of JCI Aberdeen– (Junior Chamber International), a non-profit for people aged 18 to 40. It’s given me so many opportunities to meet different people, help the community, learn new skills and travel. Taking part in activities like debating and public speaking have helped me a lot, I used to have a bad speech impediment as a child and I thought this type of thing would never be something I would like but I managed to win best debater in a national competition and now I have spoken in front of many audiences. It’s became something that I enjoy and has given me a lot of confidence. I love making a difference in the local community. We work with so many charities and businesses in the city and I learned so much. This year, I was voted in as local president of Aberdeen JCI. I’m very keen to give back what I’ve got from the organisation.
Name one practical thing we could do in the O&G industry to shift the dial on equality?
Get talking. There isn’t much we can do about the past, but in the future that we have to shape conversation and the culture. Culture is a personality of our organisations and we shape culture by our language and beliefs. By talking about these issues, we change mindsets and open ourselves up for a change. That is the first step to a better tomorrow.
What is the last song you listened to? (be honest)
I have to be honest. It was on Youtube – the rubber ducky song by Ernie from Sesame Street. I had twins before Christmas and every time we do a bath we play that song and sometimes I find myself humming it. I highly recommend you should add it to your running list.
If there was a parallel universe with another version of ourselves, what job would you do there?
It’s another job in supply chain management but for a charity called Shelter box, they are a global organisation that help out in natural disasters providing people with basic shelter and food to help people rebuild their lives. They go in to very difficult situations where most of their normal ways of transporting goods have been destroyed or badly damaged ie powerlines, bridges, railway lines and roads. There is very little time to plan and execute and if they fail it doesn’t mean being late for customers, it means lives on the line. I greatly admire the effort and skill of people for doing this job and how important it is for people receiving the help.
If you could solve one problem, what would it be and how would you solve it?
One of the great challenges in the world is how we live in harmony with nature and one problem that we need to solve is plastic and waste. It is a supply chain problem, how do we create a circular economy where we take as little as we can from the natural world and reduce our harm done to the planet. We are at the limit of these natural systems and we need to find a way to look after 9 billion people on the planet. The challenge is huge but we have to design systems and supply chains that improve quality of life of the bottom billion in the developing world and give everyone a chance in life, for a decent life where they can flourish. So we have to reduce waste and create a circular economy in which nothing gets wasted and everything is reused and we recycle everything we create. And if I could solve that problem I would win a Nobel Peace Prize.
Tell us something about yourself that may surprise everyone?
I love signing up for random classes – for example, I have taken cooking classes (still can’t cook), art classes (still can’t draw), drama classes (still can’t act), singing (still can’t sing), public speaking (still can’t stop getting nervous!). I think it’s true what they say, “90% of success is just showing up”. I am still not great at these things but with showing up and practicing, I definitely suck a bit less! I love giving things a go and I’m a great believer in happenstance