At Solid, we always like to say that we’re human, not robots. With this in mind, we’ve put together a series of articles that show the human side of our day-to-day operations. You’ll get to know the Solid humans who you interact with everyday a little better, gain a better understanding of the impact Microsoft’s modern workplace can have on a business, and see our processes in action.
In this first article, Carolyn gives us a sneak peek at what an average working day looks like for a SOLID Procurement Specialist.
A Day in the Life of Carolyn Dowries
It’s 8am, and I’ve just arrived at my desk with a fresh cup of coffee to start my day. It’s likely to be the first of many.
Today I’m working from my home office, as I do for most of the week. It cuts my commute down from an hour to just a walk down the corridor.
"One of the first emails that I look at when I open Outlook are my Viva notifications, letting me know about emails that I should reply to, or tasks that may not be on my list quite yet."
First things first, I check my list of things to do for the day. I could use Microsoft To Do or Planner (which I know would make things a lot simpler for the days when I do work from the office), but the truth is, I have a love for the old-fashioned, pen and paper notetaking. I find that writing things down helps them to stick in my mind, ensuring that I get tasks done. Still, that’s not to say that Microsoft isn’t a HUGE help. After all, one of the first emails that I look at when I open Outlook are my Viva notifications, letting me know about emails that I should reply to, or tasks that may not be on my list quite yet.
Once I’ve checked my mails (and my first cup of coffee is finished), it’s time to start processing, placing, and following up on orders. Today’s list starts off with an internal order which I’ve had to place for one of our team members. Then there’s an order that got delivered directly to a client – I need to follow up and make sure that they’re happy, and check if there’s anything else that they need.
Next, it’s time to process the quotes that have been approved by customers and place the orders with our suppliers. It can take anywhere from an hour, to a week, to a month for quotes to be approved. It all depends on the urgency and the processes that customers have to go through internally. Once an order does get approved, we still have to wait for our suppliers to deliver. If there are backorders for items that even our suppliers don’t have in stock yet, I follow up with them and make sure to keep the client updated on when their order is expected to arrive.
“So many people think that when they place an order through us, we’ve got the stock at hand, ready and waiting to go out. In reality, orders usually take 4-5 working days to come through from the supplier.”
I’ve followed up on all my quotes, so it’s time to get in touch with suppliers and see where the orders I’ve already placed are sitting. So many people think that when they place an order through us, we’ve got the stock at hand, ready and waiting to go out. In reality, orders usually take 4-5 working days to come through from the supplier. This is why it’s essential for customers who need laptops and equipment to place their orders as soon as possible.
Once the suppliers have gotten back to me with their invoices, I send an email through to Benita in the Accounts team, letting her know that that payment needs to be made. If any questions crop up along the way when it comes to payment and invoices, we have an Accounts Team chat where we can follow up, catch up, and ask all the Accounts related questions that we need answers to.
Now that I have an idea of how far along things are with the suppliers, I can update those clients who are waiting on orders and let them know if there are any changes to the estimated time of delivery. I do, of course, try to keep the delivery time to a minimum wherever I can, but it’s often out of my hands – suppliers could be out of stock themselves, after all.
While chatting to clients, it’s not unusual for a few questions and queries to come up that aren’t necessarily Sales related. I make sure to jot these down and create tickets for the IT support team to follow up on. This just makes sure that no matter who our clients speak to about issues that they’re having or questions that they’d like answered, the right person always gets in touch to help them. This is, of course, on top of the other support calls that I take throughout the day, and pass along to the relevant departments.
“Of course, because every member of our Sales and Marketing team is based in a different city at the moment, the meeting is Microsoft Teams based. Isn’t it awesome how technology helps us to connect, even when we’re so far apart?”
As you may be able to tell, it’s been a bit of a busy day so far, and it’s far from over. It’s Wednesday, and that means it’s time for our Sales SCRUM. It’s a bit of an opportunity for our Sales and Marketing teams to connect, hear about the highs of the week from our work and home lives, and talk through how the Sales for the past week have been going. We get to chat through any stumbling blocks that we’ve come across, and any processes that may need adjustment to help us work as efficiently and effectively as possible. Of course, because every member of our Sales and Marketing team is based in a different city at the moment (while I’m in Cape Town, Lara’s in Grahamstown, Sam’s in Port Elizabeth, and Daniel is in London), the meeting is Microsoft Teams based. Isn’t it awesome how technology helps us to connect, even when we’re so far apart?
Wednesdays also mean doing some social media post writing and scheduling, which I’ve been helping the Marketing team with. Lara’s put together a handy Excel spreadsheet to help me keep track of what should be posted when, which hashtags I should use, topics I should cover and a scheduling calendar to make things as easy as possible. I try to have the posts written and ready by Wednesday, so I can just jump straight into Social Champ and schedule them all without any hassle.
With the day finally starting to wind down, it’s time for me to start taking note of the tasks I’ve completed throughout the day, and those that I’ll need to get done tomorrow. I’ve got to schedule some time in tomorrow or Friday to do some training with our latest Sales team member, and with my quarterly review coming up later this month I’ve got to set aside time for meeting with the Daniel too. Then there’s the meeting with Benita that I need to schedule to review and manage our stock.
With nothing urgent left on my plate for the day, I set my notebook aside, log out of my Teams, turn off my screens and prepare to spend a relaxing evening with my family.
Ready to delve into the days of some of Solid’s other team members? We’ve spoken to our Technical Coordinator, one of our IT Pros and one of our Solid’s Co-Founders about what their positions involve.