40 years of industry experience has led Tony to James Tobias, joining our team as Contracts Manager. In a career that has spanned the food, timber and renewables industries, in this blog we get to know Tony and his passion for purchasing and sustainability.
Why James Tobias?
I joined James Tobias in November 2021 as Contracts Manager, with a particular focus on being a conduit between manufacture and design. I have 28 years experience in the food industry and 10 years within timber, but one thing remains consistent and that is my passion for planning, supply chain and purchasing.
I was drawn to James Tobias, because I really enjoyed the purchasing elements of all the roles that I’ve had throughout my career and I wanted that to be the focus. I’ve worked for big corporations and now wanted to work for a specialist – James Tobias had the feeling of everything I wanted. As a dynamic business, there’s lots of scope to really make an impact and hopefully make a difference.
Tell us a bit about your varied career?
I began my career in the food industry which spanned supply chain, logistics, warehousing and purchasing for brands such as St Ivel, McCain Group and Rachels Organic. In 2010 I moved to Somerset and spent 10 years at Snows Timber which is part of the Bradfords Group. In the peak of the pandemic I volunteered for the NHS supplying doctors, pharmacists and dentists with PPE.
After four months volunteering I returned to the food industry as a Purchasing Manager for Pipers Farm, a farm and distribution centre in Cullompton before a brief stint in Nu-Heat, a renewable heating company as their Supply Chain Manager.
What does your current role involve?
My role is varied, I have regular operations meetings and I’m involved in every step of the process for our projects, from selling, pricing, design to manufacture.
Innovation and sustainability are high on the agenda, we won the Somerset Business Award’s Environmental Achievement in 2021 and our desire for a sustainable supply chain continues. Part of my role is to look at new product development, sourcing suppliers that we don’t currently use, and looking at materials and secondary packaging both for the short and long term. It’s so important for us to be a responsible manufacturer, keeping our carbon footprint low and looking at what we’re putting back into the environment. Our RPC (Recycled Plastic Composite) material is a prime example of this innovation and our use of materials such as bamboo, cork and wool.
What’s your career highlight so far?
In 2016 when I was working within the timber industry I was part of the project team who implemented a £1.2m Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for their supply chain across four sites. This helped to improve workflow and availability, increase collaboration, open communication and increase focus. This was a huge collaborative achievement for an organisation that had a £20m turnover.
April is Stress Awareness Month, what do you do in your spare time to unwind?
I have recently moved to Budleigh Salterton, which is a lovely part of the UK. During lockdown I spent a lot of time walking by the sea, so I will definitely be continuing the coastal walks which is always such a great place to de-stress and unwind.
Cooking is also something I love to do, creating a dish from scratch accompanied by a glass of red, is always very therapeutic.