What's your job about?
Ecolab is a manufacturing company, which consists of purchasing raw materials, converting them into finished goods and delivering them to the end customer. We call this the supply chain.
My role is the Supply Chain Finance Manager for Australia and New Zealand. I manage a team of four who look after each aspect of the supply chain in Ecolab. This includes raw material pricing, manufacturing expenses, warehousing expenses, logistics expenses and inventory costing and expenses.
Analysis of these areas is required to understand what has happened during the period and assist in making business decisions on how we work better going forward. We do forecasts to estimate what our expenses will be for the remainder of the year, allowing us to highlight risks and opportunities in our network.
On a yearly basis, we also look at budgets for all our sites and build what we forecast to spend in the year. We also estimate what the cost of our inventory will be for the year, which forms our budget as well.
Finally, we partner with the sales divisions to highlight all the movements in our supply chain and highlight what movements are occurring which should be passed on through pricing or other areas.
What's your background?
I have lived in three countries but have spent most of my time in Australia. Growing up in these countries has allowed me to appreciate the different cultures and diversity that exists all around us. I was born in Zambia and then lived in New Zealand for six years. I moved to Australia when I was 10 and have stayed here ever since.
Getting my role at 3/Vodafone set the foundations around my working career. They taught me the discipline to arrive at work on time and ensure I was prepared for a full day’s work. It also showed how working for a company you are passionate about reflects in the way you do your work and how much you appreciate your job.
I have been in my current role for just over a year now but have been with Ecolab for more than five years. I have been fortunate to have been presented with numerous opportunities, as well as being mentored by a strong leadership team. This has allowed me to deliver on key projects and also reach where I am today.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes. The requirement for my role is to be CPA/CA qualified. It doesn’t matter whether you are a management accountant, financial accountant or an analyst. The key to doing this role is ensuring you are willing to learn, take on big challenges and work hard to deliver them.
I have learned a lot being the Supply Chain Finance Manager and have driven many process improvements. It is rewarding to sit back and look at where we are now and where we had been 12 months ago. It also requires looking forward, at where you want to be in 12 months time.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
I love delivering meaningful data to my business. Being able to provide insights into how the various manufacturing plants and warehouses are operating, enabling plant managers to make strategic decisions, is one of my goals in this role. When I see this being achieved and the excitement in the tone of business partners, it drives me to work harder to push out even better reporting!
What are the limitations of your job?
Being able to pick up this role takes time. It requires a lot of investigating in your own time, listening to others and understanding how the wider supply chain works. There’s also no ‘one fit’ solution. You need to adapt to the environmental factors that are in play.
It is a complex environment. There are a lot of moving parts and if you cannot cope with large volumes of data and processes, then this role isn’t for you.
Like any role, the time investment when you begin your career in supply chain finance is big. But as time goes on, you understand the role more and manage to get some time back.
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