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 raw 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 Education (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 change 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 company.

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 when necessary.

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?

A: Curry.


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Last reviewed: 15 Mar 2011