Jemma Healy, Commercial Activation Controller (Wholesale) at Lucozade Ribena Suntory reveals how her strategic thinking helped to get the business closer to customers during a time of critical change
How long have you worked in your current job?
What are your day to day responsibilities?
I work on our wholesale business strategy and ensure we provide the right support to our wholesale and independent retail customers. My focus is on creating and nurturing long-term partnerships that deliver great sales and profit. One day I’m working on category shopper marketing and online strategy, the next I’m signing off trade engagement plans.
How long have you worked in wholesale?
I’ve been working in FMCG for a decade, with the last three years spent focused specifically in the wholesale channel. In previous roles my job spanned the whole supply chain, which set me up perfectly to understand the wholesale business.
I worked hard to change mindsets and refused to settle for anything less than perfect.
What’s been the toughest moment in your career?
Managing Tesco and Sainsbury’s in a previous role for another FMCG supplier over a summer period where our service levels were particularly low. It was my job to relay the customer’s priorities and co-ordinate internal processes that helped deliver these
How did you overcome it (assuming that you did!)
I worked hard to change mindsets and refused to settle for anything less than perfect. The most urgent task was to demonstrate why high customer-service levels were so important and then I set about embedding useful processes to get us there.
Introducing a growth mindset and continuous improvement approach meant we improved things gradually. Those small changes laddered up to more significant improvements.
Small changes laddered up to more significant improvements
How about the most rewarding / greatest achievement?
Supporting the business with its ambition of getting more directly involved with our wholesale and retail customers. When Suntory bought Lucozade and Ribena from GSK, it was clear we weren’t engaging with our customers as much as we should have been. I’m part of a team now that is far more oriented towards our customers and, as a direct result, we’re now providing more relevant support to them; our first ever independent retailer cash giveaway took place in 2018; giving £60,000 to our customers shows how far we’ve come.
It was clear we weren’t engaging with our customers as much as we should have been
What do you love most about your job?
The team I’m in. We are an exceptionally close-knit group, that recognises each other’s challenges, workloads, strengths and weaknesses, and works hard to support each another.
With seven women in our immediate team, we’ve cultivated a very supportive – and competitive – atmosphere and we’re determined to drive our business forward!
Where would you like to be in five years?
To be doing even more of what I’m doing right now. My passion is strategy and marketing innovation; the closer I can get to trends and predicting the next big thing, the happier I am.
How do you like your eggs: boiled, scrambled, poached or fried?
Scrambled and in a muffin. Surely there’s no better way?
Give everyone working in wholesale more time. We work in such a complex channel
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“We’re not saving lives here” – in moments of stress, anxiety or to-do list overload, this is a reminder to take a step back and remember that however important my work is, I shouldn’t let it impact on my health and happiness!
What’s the best book or film you’ve ever read?
I’m a big fan of the Bourne films – I’m a sucker for any action films
If you could change one thing about your job what would it be?
Give everyone working in wholesale more time. We work in such a complex channel – subject to seismic changes seemingly every week – that a few hours extra is the least we deserve!
I want to be part of a network that inspires young women into the trade and achieve roles at the very top.
Is there anyone you really look up to – who is it and why?
The supply chain director in my first role.
It was my first job and I was the most junior person on the team, yet he regularly asked me how I planned to spend the weekend and never forgot – hours / days later – to wish me well doing whatever it was I told him I’d be doing! It’s small, but it sent me a very clear message that I was valued and he cared.
This is the kind of leader I now aspire to be.
Why is it important to you to support Women in Wholesale’s objectives?
I love the work I do and the team I work with, therefore I want to be part of a network that inspires young women into the trade and ensures women like me expect and achieve roles at the very top.