Handling day to day orders from clients
Handling various stakeholders along the distribution process.
Aid in sorting out transportation problems.
Data interpretation of projects within Supply Chain
Handling customer enquiries
I really enjoyed my placement in Danone Waters UK, 2012-2013, in summary I was given some amazing opportunities whilst I was there and it gave me real insight to what the world of work is like. At first I struggled a little, especially adjusting to a different lifestyle in London where I have never lived or worked before, but by the end of my placement I had adjusted well and was really enjoying myself.
I was very lucky to be part of a large team and they made me feel welcome, even before my placement has began I was invited down to London to meet everyone I would be working with and to one or two social events. I was instantly added to groups promoting events not just for placement students but the rest of the team too. From day to day I worked with all different people in my team in assisting them with different areas of Supply Chain, my knowledge in different areas often could aid different people I was working with and this made them value me even more as a team member I feel.
I felt that I was helped to progress at Danone by their internal review models which helped me know which areas I needed to focus and work on more to develop as an individual, when I first started I also had regular one to ones with my line manager. I felt I had achieved my set targets by the time I left at Danone and speaking to my N+2 she believed I had too. During my time at Danone I did feel like if something was bothering me there was a successful support team in place and always someone that I could speak to.
Due to the seasonal demand of the product I did feel an obvious difference between peak and quiet time, however in the quiet time I sought out new projects to involve myself in and work on when I had free time. During the busy times work could be particularly stressful and I would sometimes struggle with my work load due to my immediate team being very small.
As you are not part of a placement scheme or programme of placement students, essentially you are a member of the team and this involves real responsibilities of your own from the start. I was handed my whole role within one week so that I was capable of day to day tasks required. I had a one month handover period with the placement student before me and he was great as I started to pick up skills on SAP I had never used before he helped me by showing me various shortcuts and tips and tricks that would help me. After this I was given his projects to continue with as well, one of which I ended up taking ownership of myself as the other two members of the team involved left shortly after I arrived left.
No one can prepare you for just how much you will learn about the real working world as a placement during university. My experiences have helped me massively in looking for Graduate jobs this year, I know exactly the direction I wish to go in within Supply Chain and this has helped me narrow down potential roles to apply for. My technical knowledge of the industry has been praised in interviews I have had so far, as well as helping enhance my studies with examples I can relate to and with helping my understand concepts particularly strategy more. I feel like I managed to develop a professional style and my interpersonal skills have improved massively whilst working at Danone and these are skills and lessons I will take forward into my next job.
The office particularly in peak times could be very stressful especially for the Supply Chain Team, however the mood in the office was good and people were generally very communicative with one another. I was lucky in my role I got to integrate with all different departments and got to know people a lot better, this made it very sad when I had to leave, there are a lot of people I miss still !
Like I said before there isn't a scheme overall, but I was the eighth or ninth placement taking on my role in the department so there were expectations about what I should be able to learn and do. Every placements journey at Danone is different and in one way its up to you to seek out projects and tasks you are interested in participating in. This is good as it provides flexibility and means you can turn a role into what you want it to be....
I attended a few training sessions whilst at Danone, and was given some one on one coaching in particular elements of my job. Training was a focus of the year and the learning manager in HR was great at trying to get people involved in various types of training and also recording that training so that other members of the team had a record of it. Another thing I found useful was the yearly career conversations which made you think and consider your next steps.
I haven't been offered a job after my placement but that's pretty normal for placement students, I have expressed an interest in working for Danone if the right role for me came up and I have considered applying for jobs with them this year.
A lot of placements at Danone are from one particular university and they do 6 month placements and often start at the same time which is different to the role I was in. They definitely planned events together and did various social activities. Towards the end of my placement I was contacted by someone who put an event together for all different people on short term contracts/internships/placements and graduate scheme roles and we went out every couple of weeks or so, which was really good fun. Often we would go someone cheaper like weatherspoons so everyone could come along.
London is very expensive compared to back home in terms of general living costs but if you budget you should still be able to enjoy yourself, be realistic about rent and what money you have left over to spend, I still managed to do all sorts during my placement year and I often went to the pub with the team or went out for lunch/meals with my workmates. I managed to go on holiday and still have some small luxuries.
I travelled into central London often if I wanted to do something late at night, there was a great transport service to connect you so I didn't stay in Ealing that often. Pubs around Ealing are very nice though, get very busy particularly when the weathers warm (great beer gardens), its great fun though for a few drinks or a meeting place.
There were all sorts of sports and activities that were advertised around the office including yoga, football, bootcamp sessions, squash, massages and a running club. There were often events held with Mancom including pizza making. Danone also offered healthy lifestyle grants if you wanted to do something you thought would help develop skills for example, learning a new language or cycling to work or gym memberships.