Category Leader, Procurement UK

Ryan Welton
Joined Infineum in 2007

I don’t think that there is a typical path to come into Infineum. I had a very different route to most, having previously worked at a trade association in the metals industry. I worked in the chemical regulatory field and joined Infineum in 2007 as a REACH Compliance Expert into the Product Stewardship and Regulatory Compliance team. My role was focused on preparing the business for the first wave of registration and ensuring that existing business practices were not affected. Prior to my work at the trade association, I gained my PhD in Geomicrobiology at the University of West Scotland.

If anything, my career path to date at Infineum could be described as nomadic! In 2011, I went into a finance role as a Capital Investment and Enterprise Risk Analyst, reviewing the capital investment process of Infineum, helping start-up a new enterprise risk process and acting as business partner between finance and the wider organisation.

In 2012, I then took another huge career leap and became the Regional Marketing Manager in EMEA for Specialties, which is a subject matter expert across Small Engine, Gas Engines, Transmission Fluids and Railroad. In that role I acted as a kind of interpreter between marketing, sales and technology and bringing back insight from the customer to ensure that we constantly served the market better.

I spent three years in that role before moving into a role as Lubricant Deployment Technologist.  In this role, I worked with our customers to deliver products meeting their technical requirements. This involved handling customer queries in appropriate timeframes and running projects to deliver new approvals and specifications.

In March 2018, I moved into my current role as Category Leader, Procurement.

  • Year

    Position

  • Joined as a REACH Compliance Expert in the Product Stewardship and Regulatory Compliance team

  • Capital Investment and Enterprise Risk Analyst, Finance

  • Regional Market Manager, EMEA, Specialities

  • Lubricant Deployment Technologist

Typical day at Infineum

A typical day usually revolves around a few different areas.

The first and main aspect of the role is working with contacts internally and at suppliers to procure the raw materials that Infineum requires. This involves understanding the path forward that technology and manufacturing want to take and delivering this as competitive contracts for the right materials with our suppliers.

The second aspect is to understand the market the raw materials are purchased in, what is the likely future of the market, which suppliers are engaged in it and what are the threats to that market.

The third part is active learning, by which I mean communicating with colleagues in other areas, particularly manufacturing and development, about their experience and advice in testing that I haven’t seen before.

Finally, personal development is seen as a major priority within the business. You are actively encouraged to go out and learn new skills and take the time to progress yourself within the organisation.

What was your perception of Infineum prior to joining?

I found it intriguing that there could be this whole industry that didn’t advertise itself, yet was so ubiquitous globally. I very quickly realised that the reason why we keep ourselves out of the public eye is to allow our customers to take advantage of the marketing opportunity from the technologies that we offer them. It sounds corny, but we very much believe that our success is our clients’ success.

How would you describe Infineum today?

When you approach it for the first time Infineum does seem like a strange beast because it’s in an industry that few have heard of.

The smaller size of the organisation means that you’re talking to a number of experts very quickly. It’s incredibly open in that respect which makes us nimbler than other, larger businesses, which may have more hierarchical processes in place.

One of the things I really like about Infineum is that there is no siloing when you’re in a role. On average, most people spend approximately four years in a role, get a good grounding, become a subject matter expert and then look to get experience in another area. I really get a buzz out of making connections and bringing people together that my experience from other departments and their experts has enabled me to do.

It is very much an open door culture at Infineum. I’ve always been amazed that when I have started a new role, it’s not just been my peers that have supported me – my boss and my bosses boss have all made themselves available to spend the time with me and offer a holistic view.

How is personal development managed at Infineum?

Continuous growth is real focus at Infineum. And it’s a real mixture of softer skills so, communication, prioritisation, project management and functional skills that are seen as equally important. And it’s that blend which helps you to change direction in your career at Infineum, whilst also ensuring an efficient way of working in terms of the day to day.

What is the best thing about working at Infineum?

The small size of the organisation enables you to feel involved. You feel that what you do makes a difference. I think the fact there are so many different areas of the business to talk to and learn from really interests someone like me who is interested in seeing how people work and how we can communicate better.

Why should someone apply to Infineum?

You will gain an understanding of an area that there are no university courses in. You will get opportunities to develop skills and you will be pushed to develop those skills in a positive way. You will work for customers that are huge companies, who set us big challenges and get to see your work and the technologies that Infineum create in the everyday world. And you will have a variety of opportunities open to apply and learn different sets of skills.

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