What are the main responsibilities in your role?
As aftersales parts manager I am responsible for all parts enquiries. This includes sourcing parts for furnaces, speaking to customers about their requirements and working with suppliers to ensure the correct parts can be sourced and delivered on time. I also work closely with the goods in team to make sure our internal supply chain runs smoothly. On a typical day I could be on the road meeting with customers, or I could be in the office producing quotes and organising customer deliveries.
What jobs did you have before you joined VAS?
After leaving college at 17 I joined the Co-op food stores and worked my way up to store supervisor. I then joined Vacuum & Atmosphere Services six years ago in the goods in department. I progressed to aftersales parts manager last year.
What qualifications or training do you draw upon in the role
Most of my experience and knowledge is from on-the-job training and experiencing all aspects of the business. When I first joined VAS I achieved my forklift truck licence as I needed this to work in goods in. I’d like to think that my time at the Co-op gave me some invaluable customer service skills which I have been able to bring to my new role as aftersales parts manager.
What do you enjoy about working for VAS?
Each day is different. I really enjoy how diverse the role is, how each customer is different and there is never a quiet moment. I don’t think there has ever been a time when I think: ‘I don’t have anything to do!’ VAS is one big family. There are lots of connections, either family or friends, but this means we work well together and always ready to help one another out.
Which parts of the job have changed the most since you joined the company?
Other than being busier, we are getting more involved in tackling our environmental responsibilities. We have recently signed up to the West Midlands Net Zero Business Pledge and are always looking at ways to reduce our environmental impact.
What energises you in your role at VAS?
I really enjoy solving a problem. I’m a competitive person so always want to succeed, whether that is winning a new customer or solving an issue for an existing one. Every furnace is slightly different, coupled with supplier issues, etc, it certainly keeps the job interesting.
What is the work-related accomplishment in your career to date that you are most proud of?
It’s rewarding when you develop a good relationship with a customer. VAS had a customer up north who I had just started to work with after leaving goods in and progressing into sales. It was really rewarding to see that relationship develop and they now purchase 90% of their parts with us.
What is the best bit of advice you would give somebody starting at VAS?
Work hard, hard work pays off. The people who work hard stay here a long time. As long as you are willing to put the time in, you will get recognised. I would also say, work as a team, if you can spare five minutes to help another team member that will save them an hour, do it! It will work both ways.
What can be the most challenging parts of the job? How do you address these challenges?
Human errors are always hard. We all make mistakes and sometimes it can be challenging. But, you learn by making mistakes, so learn from them and move forward.
What are your interests outside of work?
I play crown green bowls for Warwickshire and Worcestershire. I’ve played since I was eight years old, it runs in the family. Between April and September I play four days a week, so this takes up a lot of my time. We play up and down the country and have won a few trophies. I am also Villa fan so like to watch them play when I can.