Hazeldene: Careers case study
Claire Gregory, Supply Chain Purchasing Manager: "There are lots of opportunities to travel and meet suppliers overseas which is brilliant."
Qualification: BA (Hons) History - University of Leeds
Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) – Edge Hill University
Q: What does a supply chain and purchasing manager do?
A: Primarily my team tell growers what products we need each week and monitor
the stock levels and orders. It's interesting as we use a very wide range of
materials, from Iceberg lettuce and tomatoes, to more unusual lines such as
watercress and pea-tops. We also liaise with our suppliers and customers about
deliveries. I have a number of responsibilities which also include buying the
protective clothing used by the factory.
I also negotiate the prices we pay for our produce and set seasonal programmes.
This means that I have to estimate to our suppliers, months in advance, the
amount of produce we will require them to grow for us throughout the year.
Q: How did you end up in this job?
A: After completing a history degree at Leeds University, I wanted to be a
teacher and to achieve this decided to take a Post Graduate Certificate in
(PGCE) at Edge Hill University, where I trained as a primary school teacher.
After working as a supply teacher for 8 months I decided I wanted a career
and took an administrative post, first at Solfresh (fresh produce) and then
Flavourfresh (tomatoes) before moving to Hazeldene where I worked, again in an
administrative role, initially as a sales support to the sales director.
I was then promoted to office manager at the company, where I was responsible
for overseeing the processing of the customer orders before becoming a sales
account manager in the commercial team.
In my current role as supply chain and purchasing manager at Hazeldene I'm
responsible for a team that organise the raw material products used by the
Q: What is the best thing about your job?
A: My work is really varied. I get to talk to a lot of people in the UK, across
Europe and also the United States. There are a lot of opportunities to travel,
view the crops in the field, attend trade-shows and meet our suppliers overseas
which is brilliant. I have even been learning Spanish.
As I deal with a product which has a short shelf life (salad produce), you have
to be able to react really quickly. My job is certainly fast moving and more
interesting than people might think.
Q: What particular skills are needed to work in the food industry?
A: You need to be able to think on your feet and show a high level of
commitment. Also you must be prepared to work hard and get your hands dirty
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time?
A: I'd like to be a Director at Hazeldene.
Q: What is your favourite meal?
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Last reviewed: 15 Mar 2011