International Women's Day - Natalie Burrows

This week, we are posting a blog series covering interviews with women within SAM to celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday, 8th March 2019. Today, we are speaking to Natalie Burrows who is our Logistics Coordinator. When Natalie isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her three kids and reading (she loves true stories!).

1. Tell us about your role within SAM.

In Logistics, I coordinate deliveries to our customers and monitor the hauliers when they are out on the road. In the morning, I would check if there is anything that hasn’t shipped and then update our customers and sales team to let them know the reason and when to expect delivery. We try to minimise this as much as possible but as this is a manufacturing plant, sometimes things can go wrong and we have to work hard to ensure we reduce any impact on our customers. I then track the loads that are already out to make sure they are all on schedule and I book the loads that are due to go out. As with most roles, mine also involves some admin such as matching our paperwork against the hauliers’ invoices to make sure there are no discrepancies or generating delivery paperwork for the loads that are leaving SAM. I also coordinate the loads coming into our factory, so I have a list detailing the raw materials ordered by the Procurement Manager and I make contact with the hauliers to check if these are on schedule.

2. How did you get into manufacturing and find your passion for the industry?
My mum is the Procurement Manager at SAM and has worked here for over 15 years, so I had heard her speaking positively about the company for a long time. When there was an opportunity for a part-time role within Logistics, it really suited my family life and I believed there would be opportunity to grow and develop within the company and possibly move to full-time once my kids have grown up.

3. What made you want to get into the profession?
It was the opportunity for growth. Before working at SAM, I was an Optician Practice Manager, but I knew there was no career progression for me there and I didn’t want to be limited.

4. Why do you enjoy working in the industry?
I love the fast-paced environment. I constantly have to think on my feet to come up with solutions that will provide our customers with the best service. It isn’t always easy as things can go wrong, but I enjoy the challenge.

5. What advice do you have for other women keen to get into the manufacturing industry?
There are a lot of women progressing their careers within the industry and it is great to see. There are many opportunities so don’t be put off just because it is a male dominated industry. It is a lot of fun!

6. What exciting developments have you seen in the company since you started?
SAM has grown a lot since I started in terms of output, staff numbers, turnover and even facilities (we expanded our Antrim site to have an extra storage facility and offices about six years ago and then acquired a new site over in England at the end of 2016). This also created opportunities for new roles within marketing, ICT, HR and Finance so it was fun to see the team grow.

7. What would you say to people who think the manufacturing industry works only for men?
That it isn’t true. There are a lot of great women working in this industry and there is lots of opportunity for career progression and growth.

8. What is your favourite part of your career?
I love the customer interaction. I enjoy the social aspect and building relationships and it is a great feeling when you can help customers to meet their needs.

9. What is your biggest challenge?
Juggling everything! I work 9am-1:30pm everyday and sometimes it can be difficult to get everything fitted into those hours but, although it can be challenging, it is worth it as I get to collect my kids every day from school, I get to spend some quality time with them and I save a fortune on childcare!

10. What woman inspires you?
Karren Brady. I was about 8 or 9 when I first heard about her. I always remember my dad pointing her out when we went to the football matches together. Karren Brady was dubbed ‘The First Lady of Football’ when she became Managing Director of Birmingham City Football Club at the age of 23. I think that is an incredible achievement for someone so young, especially as a female in such a male dominated sport.