My daily task was to negotiate discounts with suppliers and ensure a steady flow of orders in the internal system called Workflow.
I would like to share with you the story of my internship in the UK with the leading luxury car manufacturer Bentley Motors.
Although it’s been a while, the internship took place between January and August 2010. I agreed to go on a shared trip with three other students, but they wanted to live in separate accommodation in the UK. I can definitely recommend that since it is an effective way to improve your language skills. Bentley is located in the beautiful town of Crewe and, although this town does not pride itself on its beauty, the location is perfect. London is about an hour and a half by train; Manchester, Birmingham and Wales are each 30-45 minutes away. Most of the previous interns and colleagues recommended staying in Nantwich, which is a small Tudor town about 3 miles from Crewe. I can highly recommend Nantwich as it has a richly varied nightlife. In addition, interns could use a car, which we all shared.
As for the actual internship, I was in the General Purchasing Team. My daily task was to negotiate discounts with suppliers and ensure a steady flow of orders in the internal system called Workflow. I used the SAP system a lot during my work to compare prices with similar orders or contracts from previous years. Gradually, I began asking colleagues to involve me in other projects as well and thanks to my initiative I soon got my first inquiry assignment. I was assigned with purchasing a tank for cleaning bodyworks of all deposits. This was a very expensive inquiry which required a lot of preparation. I had to negotiate with internal customers who explained to me how the tank is used and where it should be placed. Together with my manager, I then visited several suppliers who presented their offers and explained the operation of the tank. Then we proceeded with price negotiations and selected one of the suppliers. I created a presentation, which I first gave to my colleagues for feedback and after their approval also to the Director of Purchasing.
My colleagues involved me in many other projects, including the following. The first was the Magazine Project, which involved researching how many magazines the company subscribed to and which of them were redundant and thus used this information to change the orders. Also there was the Logistics Tender, which was an inquiry worth several million Euros. I coordinated all communication with potential suppliers, participated in meetings with the supplier and had a chance to see the facilities and services they offer.The Waste Tender was an inquiry into finding a waste disposal supplier. As in the previous case, I had a chance to participate in meetings and see the premises and facilities of the supplier. Finally, I got to work on a project of my own, which consisted of negotiating past prices with our largest suppliers. In terms of this task, I analysed prices from past years in SAP and compiled a proposal for each supplier with an additional discount based on the amount of money paid by the company to the supplier for the entire year. Most suppliers accepted the offer. Finally, I presented the project to the Director of Purchasing and the response was great.
As for the support of my colleagues, I am definitely convinced that this was the best team I have ever worked with. My manager pushed me forward a lot and partially helped me to overcome the language barrier. My colleagues supported me not only at work but also on a personal level. For example, they helped me to find a place to stay. Even today, after all these years, I keep in touch with them and they are always very glad to see me.
In my free time, I travelled a lot, for example, to London, Liverpool, Chester, Birmingham, Wales, York, the Lake District and many other places that are definitely worth visiting.
I really appreciate the internship at Bentley and would highly recommend it to anyone. There is nothing to worry about, and trust me: this experience will be with you for the rest of your life. It –will boost your self-confidence and you will become more independent. After the internship, I returned to Bentley two more times as an external employee and now I have joined the Graduate Trainee Programme as an internal employee. But that’s another story…