Written by: Wil Davis
As I began to transfer back into a full-time roll here at Mettler, I anticipated doing much of what I did last summer – designing and running reports, conducting RFPs (a bidding process for suppliers who want our business) and helping resolve travel issues for our multitude of globe-trotting employees. Boy was I in for a big surprise. Merely 3 days after re-starting my full-time roll, my boss promptly resigned. Before I go into more detail, let me offer my first lesson, and THE BIGGEST ONE I HAVE LEARNED: GET EVERYTHING ON PAPER. In March, after my boss offered me the full-time position for the summer, I requested that a contract be sent to me by HR so that I could “lock-in” my position. With her resignation, I could have very likely been terminated if this contract had not been in place.
After my boss resigned, her boss (the Head of Global Indirect Procurement) flew in from Switzerland to put the pieces of the puzzle back together. He brought along a European-based category manager (CM) that would take over my boss’ categories. A category manager is someone who manages a certain category of product or service that a company purchases. For example, there can be category managers for direct materials like electronics, sheet metal, LCD screens, or fasteners. There can also by category managers for indirect materials like travel, office supplies, fleet, or computers. The category manager is responsible for ensuring that the company is receiving the best rates and the highest quality for these products and services. Although the European CM will be acquiring the contracts that my boss managed, I will now lead the administration of those categories in the U.S. For example, I train individuals on how to use our travel management company and serve as the point of contact between our account managers and Mettler-Toledo. Because I will now be working directly with suppliers, my title has been “upgraded” from Global Indirect Procurement (GIP) Intern to Global Procurement Assistant (what salesperson would take an intern conducting a sourcing project seriously?). Lastly, my new boss is the Head of Global Indirect Procurement, which is one step higher on the food chain than before (current distance to CEO: 4 people)!
After two straight weeks of meetings with my new boss and the new CM, I finally have a schedule for my summer. My first project involves designing and building electronic KPI reports for our GIP and Global Logistics teams. The idea of these reports is to determine how much of the company’s overall spend is through contracts managed by GIP. After two weeks of fighting about what the definition of “savings” is, the reports have finally been designed and are now being built into our SharePoint system and MS Excel. Lesson #2: if you plan to work in Finance, Accounting, or Supply Chain, LEARN VBA.
My second major task for the summer is to build a network of suppliers for a new line of business. Without disclosing too much proprietary info, this is a line of business that will supplement our retail scales. My task is to select, evaluate, and negotiate with suppliers in order to build a nationwide network that can provide the materials needed for this line of business. Hopefully I’ll get to do a little traveling while I’m searching for them!