Staff focus: Guy Payet

At Cepac we're incredibly proud of our people. This is one in a series of staff focus articles where we shine a light on the many faces who make up our team.

 

Can you describe your role at Cepac?

I’m the senior sales coordinator and I look after the internal sales desks here at Darlington. I oversee all of our accounts and I also have customers of my own which I look after directly. I’m responsible for two other coordinators so I’m there for them as and when I’m needed.

Ultimately the job of my department is to get orders in and through the factory in the quickest and most efficient way that we can.

For me it’s all about looking after the customer. I get quite attached to my customers and I take a lot of pride in who I look after. You just want to do the best job possible for them and that’s the part of my role that I take most pleasure in. Delivering high quality work that you can be proud of. That’s what we’re all here for.

What does a typical day look like?

Is there a thing as a typical day? Certainly, last year [2021] has been interesting on that front. With everything that’s been going on with the paper market and the challenges we’ve faced over the last twelve months it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. The whole supply chain has been under pressure and managing that has taken a new approach.

Typically I start my day catching up on emails that have come in overnight. More and more clients, production, suppliers and logistics are operating at all times of day so there’s a lot going on even when I’m not at my desk. Unlike when I started, everything is email based now and people are increasingly always switched on, so a large part of my morning is spent playing catch up with that. My first task of the day is catching up on any orders to process, and any call offs. We have weekly forecasts, so part of my role is ensuring they’re up to date and on schedule. Our clients often have to juggle forecasting to meet retailer demand so I’ll prioritise that. Part of the job is deciding on what’s to go into stock and what isn’t. It isn’t as simple as the old days when clients would just order on demand. Now there’s a lot more planning which enables us to build in efficiency and ensure we’re prepared in advance of order requirements.

We’re the internal contact for our customers so for any new orders or projects we’re the starting point. We get the ball rolling from processing a new order, organising proofs, sample approvals—things like that. We don’t do everything but it all starts with us and we stay involved as a project goes through the different departments. We’re on hand to tie things together right until product goes out the door.

I also stay in close contact with the external sales team. On any given day they may need support and we’re on hand for that. There is tremendous variety and depending on the day I could be doing any number of things really!

How has your job changed over time?

My specific role within the company hasn’t changed a great deal over the years although the methods and systems we use to get the job done have changed with technology. The company has quite a flat structure and in terms of my position I liaise with the Customer Service Manager and report to the General Manager.

I actually studied packaging design at Uni and Cepac has had opportunities for me to do that on a number of occasions. I have thought about it over the years but decided to stay in internal sales. I’m good at what I do, I get a lot of pleasure out of it and so I don’t think I’d consider a change anymore. I really enjoy dealing with people and taking care of clients so I think this role is right for me. And I like being hands on—I think I’m lucky to be where I am doing what I’m doing.

Cepac is, and always has been, a great place to work. The people are friendly, the place is nice and I’m happy. So long as those things don’t change I’m quite content. I’ve been here for nineteen years now so I’d like to think that I’m doing something right and the company is too. It has to be a mutually beneficial thing after all.

When people come to work here they tend to stay, which I think speaks volumes about the business and the company at large.

In terms of change outside of my job role there has been quite a lot going on. There’s been investment in the Darlington plant, a big investment lately being the digital press. The changes over the last few years in particular have been really good and I’m optimistic about the future.

Is the company culture generally quite good?

Yeah, and I think everybody’s really approachable. Certainly, any of the senior management I’ve found to be really easy to talk to. You can have an open and honest conversation without being worried about what you have to say. And they will all listen, even at group level. I hope other people in the business find it as easy and comfortable talking to me.

Can you tell us about any standout events or achievements here?

It’s difficult this because there are so many to choose from although many of them that I really like aren’t earth shattering news to most. The biggest achievement for me probably sounds a bit pedestrian but I think it’s important all the same. The relationships I’ve built with clients over the years has to be my number one. I have relationships with clients going all the way back to the day I started. I find that amazing really, because you’ve been through the good times and the bad and both parties make it work for each other because there’s mutual respect and understanding there.

A lot of my work involves email, but there’s nothing like picking up the phone and talking to people, and that’s something I still do a lot. I really like to find out what our clients are all about on a human level, what they’ve been up to over the weekend and how their lives are going beyond the business. By building up that rapport you develop a closer bond than pure business. You want to make each others lives a little bit better and both sides are more willing to go that extra mile for each other. You’re more inclined to accommodate each other, and it does work both ways. Having an honest, open and human connection with one another makes it easier to work together solving the varied challenges involved in packaging too. It builds a collaborative relationship and I think that’s massively valuable.

Because of those relationships I want the best for my clients. And I like to think Cepac can deliver that, so I’m proud to be a part of it.

Have you been involved in any particularly exciting projects or products?

The digital investment on site here had been the obvious big project that’s going on currently. It’s exciting, in part, because it’s the biggest investment we’ve had. It’s different and I think digital will change the landscape in packaging so it’s great to be leading the pack in the UK. It’s also challenging because nobody else is doing it here yet so we’re the ones pushing what’s possible with it. So that will be a game changer.

What do you think Cepac does well?

I think we’re renowned for our world class quality and service. Certainly, that’s true of the Darlington site and I think the wider group perform equally well. We pride ourselves on the service that we give customers. The difficulty for the whole industry in the last eighteen months has been paper supply. In the past we’ve not been used to encountering difficulties obtaining raw materials and we have drawn on the strength of our long-term partnerships with our suppliers. The pressure upon supply chains has been unprecedented and there’s been a real shift in how we do things as a result of that. Because we’ve a good reputation and have always been upfront and honest I think our clients understand that we’re still doing our best for them and will always be open with any developments as they happen.

I think that proves my point about the importance of relationships and mutual respect. Our clients know that we’re on their side. Whatever is going on in the outside world we are always doing our utmost to ensure that they still get the best service from us. I think that’s an integral part of what Cepac is about. World class products and top quality service.