Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my 13-month placement year at Eaton and I am extremely grateful for the opportunities and experiences the internship has given me. From day one I was given a high level of responsibility and accountability, reporting directly to the Divisional Supply Chain Manager in the Head Office of a global division. The subject knowledge I have gained, the network and the relationships I have established and the personal skills I have developed over the year have been invaluable.
Throughout the year, I always felt valued by my colleagues. Given the high-pressure environment of being a head office, I was aware that constant recognition would be limited. Nevertheless, my colleagues regularly commented on the contribution I was making (not only related to the work I was producing, but also the character I had brought to the office). My strong work ethic of getting the job done and working additional hours was highly recognised and praised by colleagues. Mistakes were not punished but converted into future learning experiences – all colleagues recognised that I did not know everything however I was very willing to do my best. I have built strong personal relationships with many colleagues in the office, of which I am very thankful for their support.
I cannot thank my manager Patrick Mack enough for his support, motivation and willingness to help me develop throughout the year. Amongst his very busy schedule he was always willing to dedicate some time towards my learning and personal development. We regularly had formal and informal meetings about my progress, and as time progressed the level of honesty and trust improved significantly. From time to time we discussed on a learning board, the key performance indicators, more fundamental processes within the division and new topics I developed an interest in. I was given the opportunity to improve my presentation skills through a few presentations with detailed feedback, about topics of my choice to several members of the office. Furthermore, many colleagues both in the office and within the wider Eaton family made themselves regularly available to assist in my progress, learning development, my future and any questions I had along the way – I am very grateful to all.
Throughout the year I was responsible for various daily, weekly and monthly tasks. Although these tasks were mostly repetitive in terms of the processes to complete the work, the data was always changing (in Supply Chain, every day is different). My daily tasks revolved around monitoring, following-up and presenting various delivery indicators for all the sites in the division. This regularly involved contacting sites directly through various communication methods, being involved in root cause analysis activities and generating recovery action plans, for key delivery metrics. I was always willing to work beyond my contracted hours in order to complete the job, and time management became an integral skill throughout the year.
Throughout the year I was given a very high level of accountability and responsibility. On a daily basis, I was responsible for presenting the key delivery metrics for all sites for the previous day, to Senior Managers and a large variety of people across the division. Data accuracy became an integral focus and I was always expected to know and understand the reasons behind the data to provide explanations. Additionally, I have had the exposure and opportunity to collaborate with different functions at a divisional level; such as Quality, HR, Sales, Continuous Improvement and Purchasing. Throughout the year, I took on a number of new pieces of work at my own discretion (eg: tracking inflation in purchased goods), in addition to making improvements to the work I was producing. At times I did take on too much work, therefore hindering my ability to complete my daily tasks on occasion. The need to prioritise work, clarify details early on and manage your time effectively without working additional hours was made clear to me.
Throughout the year I have developed several key skills that will benefit my time at University and far into the future. A commitment to a good work ethic can go a long way (not only through recognition but also expanding your scope of work). Additionally, the communication skills I have developed during the year have been invaluable. I have learnt first-hand the most efficient methods of communication along with the language needed to attain the answers you require in a timely yet appropriate manner. An element of being more assertive when communicating or completing work was also an ongoing personal target. My experience at Eaton has provided me with an invaluable understanding of how things work “in the real world” and the need to be able to connect both theory and practical examples will be highly beneficial in my studies at University.
Given the unique nature of the office (roughly 30, including Directors and Senior Managers with only one other Intern), there was always an element of professionalism and very little downtime. Nonetheless colleagues in the office were positive and always willing to have a conversation. The multiple languages spoken in the office still fascinates me. From time to time there was office 'banter' with hot drinks, magic tricks and various stories of travelling which did get you through the day.
The internships were very well set up. Beginning with the initial 2 day induction, there were various organised Intern Programme Training Courses throughout the year. These were well organised and expertly let by Lawrence White. I was extremely impressed with his presentations, style and interaction. This was also a good opportunity to interact with the other placement students in other locations.
Eaton were very willing to support your personal development. The access to Eaton University gave interns the opportunity to learn new topics, read up on company policies and find out about different divisions of the corporation. I had the opportunity several times to visit other sites in the UK. This was highly beneficial to see the source of the data that I was responsible for producing daily. I also built positive relationships with people during site visits.
Through the network I have built during the year and recommendations from colleagues, there are potential jobs that I will consider applying for after University. My knowledge of Eaton's processes and product knowledge have significantly developed throughout the year. Working in Leamington in the Head Office was a unique environment, however quite remote from a typical job in the company.
As there was only one other intern working in the Leamington Office it was sometimes difficult to form new relationships. Given the lack of a number of people my own age, this made it difficult to monitor my personal progress. At times the performance comparison between the two interns at Leamington were not equal. Nonetheless I was in regular contact with interns at other sites who regularly assisted me in completing work. Within the office there were always good conversations with colleagues, who discussed their personal lives, travel experiences, talents and opinions. The few times we met outside the office were also good fun, however understandably it was difficult for everyone to dedicate the time.
The cost of living in Leamington Spa was relatively cheap, with transport to and from work being a short walk. Given the isolated location for myself, this made it difficult to maintain a work-life balance during my internship. On balance however, I was dedicated to working as hard as possible during the internship at Eaton in order to gain the best possible experience.
The few times I experienced the night life in Leamington I was impressed. On balance however, I was dedicated to working as hard as possible during the internship at Eaton in order to gain the best possible experience.
I was dedicated to working as hard as possible during the internship at Eaton in order to gain the best possible experience. I had the mindset of a 'temporary' time in Leamington and my work-life balance was far from ideal.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Logistics and Operations, Manufacturing, Purchasing and Supply
17th October 2019