Sarah Earl joined YPO 20 years ago and has recently become the category buyer for the emergency services and blue light team.
Name: Sarah Earl
Position: Category Buyer – Emergency Services and Blue Light
How long have you been working at YPO? 20 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?
My main responsibilities are ensuring 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. I manage 11 frameworks covering various services such as Firefighters PPE, Emergency Services Uniforms and Control and Restraint Equipment. Through listening to customer requirements, I will research the market then draft and advertise the tender. I evaluate bidders before awarding successful suppliers onto the framework whilst carrying out robust contract management throughout the life of the framework, to ensure customers are constantly receiving the best service offering.
A big part of my role is assisting customers with the running of mini competitions, which is very rewarding when the customer achieves significant savings. I also carry out customer and supplier visits to build and maintain new and historic relationships.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
No day is the same with my role, I can be in the middle of drafting tender documents one minute to receiving a call from a customer requesting me to run a mini competition the next. Some days 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 operations side of the organisation. After working in various roles 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 in the office. This gave me an insight into the fascinating world of procurement and I realised quickly 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!
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, advertising for an emergency services assistant buyer. My food secondment was coming to an end so I decided to take a side step 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 mini competitions and offering procurement advice to YPO’s emergency services customers.
I’m currently in my final year of study towards earning my MCIPs qualification. I 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!
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 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!