Keeping on top of 20,000 weekly deliveries to multiples and independents is just one of Arla UK sales director Simon Stevens’ responsibilities. So working over 60 hours per week, plus a few at weekends, is a given.
“What causes the most stress for me is the time pressure,” he says.
“I like to get home by 8.10pm so I can see my daughter before she goes to bed.”
That said, Stevens is incurably cheerful. He lives, he says, for the buzz of the sale. A typical week will see him out of the office for three days visiting buying directors and trading directors to chase that buzz.
His last full week kicked off with an operations team meeting on Monday morning, reviewing service levels.
This was followed by a meeting reviewing Arla’s move to its new head office at Stourton in Leeds on March 8 and the opening of its £53m dairy on October 1. Stevens said continued growth had made the move inevitable.
A review of a five-year business plan for the company’s Cravendale milk brand took up much of the afternoon. Accounts and marketing forecasts were discussed, as well as
investment and expansion.
Stevens hit the road on Tuesday and Wednesday: “I was with customers discussing joint business plans for next year, including Christmas.”
After hopping to Denmark on Thursday to discuss future new product development with the sales and marketing directors from Arla’s international divisions, he returned to the office on Friday. “In the morning there was a directors’ performance review of all aspects of business.
“In the afternoon we reviewed advertising, looking at the performance of the new Anchor adverts and new adverts for Lurpak and Cravendale brands.”
On top of that, Stevens attended a meeting looking at ways of forging closer links with UK dairy farmers.
long hours but the buzz is worthwhile