Meet the Category Manager - Sarah Earl
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Meet the Category Manager - Sarah Earl

26 May 2020 By Sarah Earl - Category Manager of Emergency Services and Blue Light at YPO

Sarah Earl, Category Manager of Emergency Services at YPO

Sarah Earl joined YPO 22 years ago and has recently become the category manager for the emergency services and blue light team.

Name: Sarah Earl

Position: Category Manger – Emergency Services and Blue Light

How long have you been working at YPO? 22 years

What do you like most about working at YPO? 

Every team that I have worked in over the years has had a strong family feel to it. Whilst YPO has full dedication to its customers it also invests heavily in its staff, offering opportunities such as role specific training and professional qualifications. I have a fantastic work-life balance which is achieved through flexible working and management support. There are numerous members of staff who have worked at YPO for many years, proving that once you’re here, you’re here to stay!

The investment that YPO puts into its staff ensures that every single member of the organisation is able to provide an excellent quality service to our customers.

I’m proud to say that I’m part of this organisation and am looking forward to what the future holds for YPO as a whole.

What are your main responsibilities?

I am responsible for the development, delivery and management of a vast framework portfolio covering various services such as Drones, Firefighters PPE, Emergency Services Uniforms and Control and Restraint Equipment. I ensure compliant routes to market are in place, offering a wide range of solutions to YPO customers to meet their needs and requirements whilst delivering value for money along the way. My ultimate objective is to ensure customers are constantly receiving the best service offering possible. 

What is the most challenging part of your job?

No day is the same with my role, one day I can be sat at the Home Office premises working on a National Drones Framework collaboration, the next I can be on site at a Fire and Rescue HQ overseeing an evaluation exercise for Firefighters PPE. The days where I am stationed in the office, I can be constantly switching from one job to another which can be quite challenging but I love how diverse each day can be!

Describe your role in three words:

Exciting, challenging, rewarding.

How did you get involved in procurement?

I started working at YPO in 1998 at the food warehouse as part of the operational side of the organisation. After working in various roles within operations, logistics and distribution over the years, in 2014 I decided it was time for a change in direction and took a secondment within the food team as a procurement assistant based within the Trading department. This gave me an insight into the fascinating world of procurement and I quickly realised that this was the career path that I wanted to take. An opportunity then became available within the food team for an assistant buyer – I applied and was successful! My journey into the world of procurement had begun.

Tell us a bit about your procurement experience?

Being an assistant buyer for the food team provided me with vast amounts of experience not only in customer service, but an understanding about the complexity of purchasing food stock items. In 2015 an opportunity came up within the waste management and facilities management team who were advertising for an emergency services assistant buyer. My food secondment was coming to an end, so I decided to take a sidestep and was successful in securing the role!  With this role I gained extensive knowledge of procuring goods and services on behalf of our customers. In October 2017 I progressed to category buyer for emergency services managing 11 frameworks, running endless further competitions and offering procurement advice to YPO’s emergency services customers. Last year the category was moved away from Trading into Procurement Services which lead to a further opportunity to progress into the position of Category Manager.

Last year I successfully completed my MCIPs qualification. I first began the course in 2015 and it’s been a valuable experience of managing the studying, work life and home life – multitasking at its finest! The knowledge and skills I have built on throughout the years of studying has proven to be invaluable and would recommend anyone in procurement to consider taking the qualification.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My two young girls keep me busy most of the time, although I am known to enjoy a sneaky little shopping trip every now and then! I also have a secret passion for History – famously leaving my previous manager Darren Byford speechless when I asked for annual leave, just so I could watch the reburial of Richard III that was broadcast live on TV back in 2015!

If you enjoyed this read, you can find out more about our employee’s and how they found themselves at YPO, as well as their job responsibilities and progress throughout the business. Meet the YPO team now!

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