Front Line: Jane Mellor, Head of Operational Procurement, NI Water
In this month's Front Line feature we meet Jane Mellor, who heads the operational procurement team at Northern Ireland Water
What’s the main purpose of your job role?
I lead a talented team of procurement professionals in NI Water responsible for awarding contracts to run and maintain NI Water’s treatment works and infrastructure as well as run the company’s support functions. Operational Procurement delivered almost £1M cost reduction in 2015/16, contributing to NI Water’s business plan targets.
When did you start working in the water industry and what led you to your current job?
I joined NI Water in 2009 having previously worked in consultancy and pharmaceuticals. I was looking for a senior procurement role based in Northern Ireland and was delighted to be successful.
Describe your typical working day.
Like many procurement professionals, I don’t have a typical day and variety is one of the reasons I really enjoy working in procurement. I can be developing strategy, coaching staff, working on how to improve NI Water’s procurement capability and capacity, resolving issues, interpreting legislation, developing policy, deciding when to buy electricity, reviewing tenders, providing advice, negotiating with suppliers, conducting audits, presenting to directors, meeting heads of procurement in other organisations, approving contract awards, reading about the economy and lots more, often all in the same week.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
As well as the variety, I enjoy working with colleagues right across the business, getting an insight into many different aspects of NI Water. I enjoy benchmarking NI Water’s procurement: recently we were one of the first organisations in Northern Ireland to transition to the revised ISO 9001 standard. I work with a fantastic team and get satisfaction from knowing that collectively we contribute to the day-to-day operation of one of Northern Ireland’s largest companies.
And the worst (or most challenging) aspect?
NI Water is a government owned company and is subject to Northern Ireland public procurement policy. The most challenging aspect of my job is striking a balance between delivering value for money and cost reductions while complying with public procurement policy and the Utilities Contracts Regulations.
What attributes do you need to do your job well?
People skills and being resilient are probably the most important attributes as a lot of my job involves influencing or challenging others. I also need to be able to think strategically yet have an eye for detail, solve problems and enable others to do a great job.
Which other person/people have had the most influence in shaping your career?
I now work in procurement because of a chance conversation I had one day with a friend who worked in procurement and whose boss was looking for someone with transferable skills to join his team. Without that, my career would have been very different and I wouldn’t be in my current job.
When not at work, my ideal way to unwind is… gardening, walking, yoga, doing crafts using fused glass, local history, volunteering for the National Trust and socialising with friends and family.
- Jane Mellor and the NI Water procurement team will have an exhibition stand at WWT’s Water Northern Ireland conference in Belfast, 23rd February 2017. Details of how to attend at: events.wwtonline.co.uk/ni
- Project Focus: NI Water invests £14m in Belfast supply system A new 29km pipeline under construction in Belfast includes six major crossings which requires the use of trenchless... Read More >
- Disappointment replaces AMP6 optimism The first year of AMP6 is complete but has the regulatory cycle lived up to expectations of renewed vigour, or has it been... Read More >
- Round Table: Water Industry Procurement in AMP6 and beyond Have procurement practices so far in AMP6 reflected the regulatory shift towards whole-life cost and Totex? Participants... Read More >
- Front Line: Jane Mellor, Head of Operational Procurement, NI Water In this month's Front Line feature we meet Jane Mellor, who heads the operational procurement team at Northern Ireland... Read More >
- Team effort saves time How innovation and collaboration knocked weeks off timescales on Severn Trent's Little Eaton WTW upgrade Read More >
- Comment: Waterworks fit for the 21st century In recent years, the focus of the UK's water industry has shifted from building new sophisticated water works to upgrading... Read More >
- Getting to Grips with... harmonic distortion Harmonic distortion can be difficult to diagnose, but once found, it is relatively easy to remedy Read More >
- Comment: Data the key to making Totex leap A step change in operational data management is essential to driving the risk-based Totex model that is called for in... Read More >