Training & mentoring
Stepping into suppliers’ shoes
Even the best buyers can benefit from continuous professional development. One scheme that’s worked particularly well is the Scottish Wholesale Association’s ‘mentoring’ scheme, which pairs newcomers to the wholesale channel with experienced mentors.
JW Filshill’s Stuart Harrison was paired by the scheme with Scott MacDonald, national account manager for brewer AB InBev. “It was fantastic to be matched with a supplier because all my training had previously been done by other buyers at Filshill,” says Harrison. “Seeing things from a supplier’s perspective, understanding what they can and can’t do, was an invaluable experience,” he adds.
The SWA scheme recommends that mentors and mentees meet once every eight weeks for a year but the experience was so useful for Harrison that he met his mentor once every four weeks for two years.
“We are just entering our third year now,” he says. “Scott never told me what to do, he just helped me to realise what needed to be done.
“I would highly recommend the scheme to other newcomers and even more experienced buyers – you should never stop wanting to learn.”