Meet Karl Wilkins - Head of Frame Supply

Posted in Support Office on February 27, 2017
Author: Sam Reed

Hi Karl, tell us a little bit about your role and journey with Specsavers so far?

I joined Specsavers in 1997 as a Group Buyer within the Procurement team looking after many commodity groups such as Unitary, Travel, Optical equipment and many other products. As soon as I joined Specsavers I was captivated by the Frame Purchasing function and joined the Frame Buying Team in 2001. In 2003, I was promoted to Purchasing Manager within the team and in 2006 I was promoted to Senior Frame Buyer - there really is nothing quite like the buzz of developing a product, getting it to market and seeing how it performs. In 2010, following the Infamous Ash cloud, I was promoted to Head of Supplier Development & Quality Assurance, developing our QA function in Hong Kong and modernising our purchasing processes to meet the very many risks we face within our supply chain. In 2014 I took on the role of Head of Frame Supply ensuring we have the right product, in the right place, in the right quantity at the right time. During this year it was usual to have out of stocks as high as 200 at any given time. Today I am very proud that we maintain a stock availability figure above 99%. Our team is focused, supportive and great fun to be a part of - we work hard and play harder!

I understand you have a vacancy in your team at the moment, what is the role about?

I am currently recruiting for a Purchasing Assistant. The anecdote of having the right product, in the right place, in the right quantity at the right time sums up what this role is all about. But, it is also so much more. We collaborate daily with our expert Frame Buying and Product colleagues in Europe & Asia to ensure our planning for the future is efficient and adaptable, ensuring product availability to our partners & customers. It's a collaborative role that takes a great deal of logic, analysis and cross-functional working. We are responsible for a large annual spend on product and you will help improve our efficiency by proactively providing plans for replenishment that minimise waste, ensure product availability by managing a group of products from launch through to end of life.

What qualities do you look for in a candidate?

  1. A Logical mindset, able to understand and challenge process
  2. Methodical & detail focused with the ability to understand the bigger picture and provide detail plans to deadlines
  3. Delivering on your promises - doing what you say you will do, when you said you would do it
  4. Adaptable, plans change and we must be able to adapt our plans to reality. We need people that are not afraid to challenge what we do and how we do it - we do this every day to ensure we are better than yesterday
  5. Confident communicator, we collaborate widely and communicate at all levels of the business as well as working with our supply partners across the globe

And finally, are there any exciting plans coming up that potential applicants may want to know?

We are continually investing in our Frame Supply Chain and this year sees one of the biggest system investments we have ever made. In July we will commence using the Oracle Platform to manage our Frame Supply Chain, integrating planning, buying, warehousing, logistics & finance. This means that the entire team will train and adopt the system at the same time, providing a level playing field and great opportunity for any new starters.

We will provide full training & development for this role, if you have the qualities listed above, we will provide a career path that will challenge, develop and reward your drive, enthusiasm and determination. 

If this sounds like something you would be interested in then find out more or apply here