Andrew Workman is a demand planner, responsible for our Edrington brands such as Famous Grouse, The Macallan and Highland Park, and has been with the company for over four years. Prior to joining the team at Edrington-Beam Suntory UK, Andrew worked in demand planning roles for nearly 30 years with retailers Safeway, Morrisons and Sainsbury's.
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Describe a typical day at Edrington-Beam Suntory UK?
Each day has a general structure, but every day really can be so different, with many ad-hoc queries from different teams. One of my principle tasks is to manage the limited liquid stock within the business; we have certain lines (such as The Macallan and Suntory Whisky) that are either rare or high-value where the demand will out-strip the available stock. I get many requests each day, and I need to ensure that we have the ‘right product, in the right place, at the right time’. This was perfectly illustrated with the recent successful launch of The Macallan Estate.
I enjoy the team dynamics, and look to encourage a positive atmosphere and bring some humour to the working day,
What is your favourite part of your role?
This is a fast-moving business, and the demand planning team are positioned in such a way that we have daily contact with customer services, sales teams and the marketing teams. It’s such a movable feast where we are constantly learning about new products and marketing plans. In addition to the ‘day job’ the company also provides whisky training, and we all have access to 'The Learning Exchange'. an online hub where we can up-skill ourselves and stay current.
Alongside my Spanish colleague, I am excited about co-leading our initiative to run a 'Good Practice Forum' for all our demand planners from across our international offices, where we can share our ways of working and learn from each other.
It’s great to meet with our customers and stakeholders face to face, building on our relationships and improving our ways of working.
Is there anything you find challenging within your role?
As part of the S&OP process, we have set up ‘forecast clinics’ where we drive forecast accuracy and phasing, optimising our stockholding. This process can bring challenging conversations with account managers which generally conclude positively. As we are a small team, we must be able to be flexible enough to provide cover for each other, understanding other areas of the business,
What advice would you have for others looking to move into a similar role within the drinks industry?
I would absolutely recommend this position to anyone with an interest in demand forecasting. As with all sales and demand forecasting roles there is always uncertainty and as forecasters say, “be broadly correct and not precisely wrong". If you can be comfortable with that idea, then yes this is a great role for you.
Finally, the most important question – what is your favourite serve?
An easy decision and an easy serve to make: Maker’s Mark & Ginger.