Produced by Guest blogger
This is a guest blog by MSc International Hospitality and Tourism Management student, Juthamas Tilley.
The search for a placement through Bournemouth University using all the online support on offer was proving very productive and I was able to secure a few interviews with leading brand hotels and smaller local businesses. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the global pandemic was increasing in intensity which saw all these opportunities withdrawn and sadly some of the smaller companies going into receivership.
Despite these drawbacks, I continued my search and found a company called Wiltshire Wellness who were advertising for a head of logistics in a new start-up venture supplying goods to the hospitality sector and a number of small businesses in the UK.
Wiltshire Wellness (WW)
The company was recently founded by 3 executives with a view to sourcing goods from South East Asia (principally Thailand and surrounding countries) and supplying an identified demand in the UK. In support of this they required an individual with experience of supply chain and logistics and also someone accustomed to a business working environment within the UK. The combination of my valuable experiences learned during the Bournemouth International Pathway Course and on my Masters Course at BU positioned me well for the interview where I was successful in securing the placement.
My initial role under the placement was to liaise with the overseas supply chain (factory production), ensure shipments were dispatched, tracked and then upon landing in the UK, managing distribution to clients. Being a Thai speaker and being able to draw upon my previous work in supply chain I was able to add value to the company and I found my role evolving with more responsibilities.
While I continue to deliver the functions mentioned, I am also permitted to source and research potential products for the UK market focusing on the hospitality and private sector. I am also the point of liaison directly with the company’s 3PL (third party storage, packing and distribution arm) that was set up at the end of last year in response to a significant increase in business for WW.
Challenges and lessons learned
The nature of the business dictates that we are supplying goods to businesses/individuals on agreed terms. Expectations for all people need to be maintained and this is a daily challenge. A disruption in supply chain (factory issues for example), a missed order or a miscommunication generates work and the requirement to problem solve. The brand image of the company is a matter taken very seriously by the founders and so while at times mistakes or delays are unavoidable, it is essential to quickly communicate and resolve issues.
I am fortunate to have very friendly and helpful direct reports who are on hand to assist me although I feel I am growing in confidence and find myself successfully managing issues such as these when they arise. Perhaps key lessons I have learned is the importance of clear communication both verbally and written and trying to be flexible whenever possible. Sometimes completely unforeseen events effect your work and it is at those times that clear strategic thinking is required to best solve issues. I wish to take these lessons forward with me for my future academic/professional endeavours.
Future plans and advice
WW have indicated that I might wish to remain working with them beyond my placement which is a very exciting option for me. The current business and hospitality environment remains uncertain owing to COVID and so for now I am focusing on doing the best I can and then see what options present themselves.
I am not sure if I am in a position to give advice, however, I would say that the support BU and International College gave me and the high-quality teaching are contributing factors to being able to secure my placement but also confidently navigate my day-to-day work. I found all the studies challenging and some aspects of the academic course were intense and difficult but nothing is impossible and there is always great support when needed.