My unusual journey to Supply Chain

Philip Watson

My unusual journey to Supply Chain

In 2004 I was asked the question from a friend who worked in electronic components “sure you can get that from China, can’t you?” At the time I had no idea if I could or couldn’t but I gave it a shot and that was the beginning of the Sourcing and Supply Chain business I established with my now wife.

I spent 11 years building a business that managed some or all the processes of a products journey from concept development to manufacture and delivery. Our clients typically designed the product at one end of the supply chain and sold it to their client on the other. We did all the bits in between.

I had some great years and some great experiences, building up my ability to deal with senior people in client organisations, and getting a first-hand view of how products move through the supply chain. There were also really challenging times: clients who couldn’t pay, downward pressure on prices, production challenges and the economic crash.

We took the decision to close our doors at the end of 2014. The experience gained from running the business was invaluable. Understanding sales and growth, managing through tough times and seeing all aspects of how business works. I had no regrets about having taken on the challenge.

So what next? I didn’t have the desire to go straight back into business so I set my mind on finding a job in Supply Chain or Procurement, a permanent job. So when the opportunity to join EY as a contractor came about in 2015 I was 50:50 on weather I would go for it or not; I’m very glad I did.

My first day in EY was a very exciting one for me. It was my first ‘real job’, i.e. working for someone else. After I got my bearings I realised that I wanted to stay. The calibre of people in EY and the variety and quality of experiences you can have, while in a very entrepreneurial environment was a big draw for me. My next challenge was, how am I going to make this permanent?

I was forthcoming about my desire to stay in EY on a permanent basis and as soon as I declared my interest I was supported by my new colleagues and leadership to make that happen.

On the 4th of July 2016 I joined the team on a permanent basis. There were challenges along the way but I don’t regret any of them. I’m just looking forward to the next set of challenges!

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