Chanelle, tell us when you joined LCA Group and in what role?
I joined LCA in June 2014, when it was LCA Controls, as a temporary administrator covering HR related tasks, procurement and general office admin. It was only meant to be a temporary job but here I am seven years later.
In 2017 LCA Group was formed, with Alan Sheppard taking over as MD. There was a lot of change in the business at this point, including a move in location and with that came the decision to create a dedicated Procurement Team. I guess from then it was a natural progression to join the team as Junior Buyer as I’d always enjoyed the procurement aspect of the job.
Can you give us an overview of what your job as a Procurement Specialist involves?
My prime focus is analysing costs and negotiating terms with suppliers. Day to day I manage our current supplier relationships and source materials required for both engineering and manufacturing projects. I liaise frequently with our engineers who issue ‘Bill of Materials’ to our team to progress and from that we have a duty to ensure that all materials are purchased and delivered on time as per the projects schedule, within an agreed material budget.
Every day is different and there’s always a challenge in the horizon, but who doesn’t enjoy a challenge?
What qualifications and experience have you gained since joining LCA Group?
LCA are currently putting me through the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply Level 3 Qualification which I am completing through self-study. I am part way through and once that is complete, I hope to be able to promote to Senior Procurement Specialist and eventually progress onto my CIPS Level 4.
What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is sourcing all materials required for a project under budget, especially given the current price fluctuations. It gives me satisfaction knowing that I can apply my knowledge and experience and receive a positive result from that so there’s always that sense of accomplishment once the procurement process is complete.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The past year has proved quite challenging, COVID coupled with Brexit meant that the supply and demand chain has been massively affected. We have been experiencing delays with multiple manufacturer’s, between factories on shutdown and equipment held up in customs, it has had a massive impact on projects. A lot of manufacturers we use are based in Europe and with customers requiring a specific level of quality, it’s difficult to source alternatives within the UK. We have had to communicate with our suppliers consistently to ensure deliveries are on schedule to avoid any delays with projects.
Do you have any advice to someone thinking about a career within the engineering industry?
I would say you definitely need to be a strong woman to work in such a male dominated industry. Whilst we do have more women working at LCA now compared to when I first joined in 2014, it is still quite a male heavy office!
When I first joined LCA, I was very shy and quiet, everyone that knows me now knows that this definitely isn’t the case so working at LCA has helped massively in developing my communication skills and building my confidence.