Sean O’Grady – Business Development Manager

Sean O’Grady – Business Development Manager

What does your job involve?

I currently work as a Business Development Manager in Dale Farm Ingredients. This involves developing new customer relationships across our cheese, butter and whey divisions. There is some travel involved, visiting customers to present to them what Dale Farm can offer. We have also attended various trade shows throughout the year to showcase Dale Farm products; since joining the team 6 months ago, I have already had the opportunity to visit Geneva, Amsterdam, Dubai and China for shows and conferences.

When did you join Dale Farm, and in what capacity?

I joined Dale Farm over 4 years ago on their Graduate Development Programme. I started in the Customer Service department working as Key Customer Support Executive. This involved managing the day to day running of key own brand accounts with the major supermarket channels. During my 1st year of the graduate scheme, Dale Farm also provided me with the opportunity to gain further management qualifications through the Chartered Institute of Management. We also were accountable for the management of packaging artwork development, which gave me the opportunity to work with people in Dale Farm throughout the whole supply chain which was key to helping me develop.

What attracted you to our Graduate scheme?

Dale Farm are one of the most well-known companies in Northern Ireland. Each graduate was given a mentor who held a senior position in the company, which was helpful and allowed us to gain invaluable knowledge. I also felt it was a natural progression having already worked in the FMCG sector for 5 years throughout University.

How has your job changed since joining us as a Graduate?

I have had the opportunity to work across many different departments within Dale Farm including Customer Service, Ice Cream, Supply Chain and most recently Business Improvement.

What has been your biggest challenge in your career?

When I became Group Stock and Planning Manager in April 2016, I had the opportunity to spend time at our site in Wrexham. This was very challenging going into an unfamiliar environment away from home to try and improve their cheese and packaging stock situation. Although daunting at first, this provided me with so much exposure and experience early on in my career. It gave me the opportunity to work with suppliers and customers and help build up key relationships that would attribute to the long-term success of Dale Farm.

What sort of attributes do you need to be successful in your role?

Working in DFI requires several skills to be successful.  As with any department in Dale Farm, team work is essential; we are a lean organisation and working together as a team is vital for success.  Communication skills are also essential to be able to sell your message to our customers to try and build good working business relationships and skills.  Quick thinking and being able to think on your feet is also key when working in the dairy commodity markets.  Finally self-awareness is also a key skill, as it is important to know how your behaviour affects other team members.  Being customer facing, this is important as you are an ambassador for the business while visiting customers and promoting Dale Farm.

What have you been particularly proud of?

  • Cost savings introduced to our factory in Wrexham
  • Cost savings and efficiency into our cheese manufacturing facility.
  • Developing a strong relationship with the major supermarkets during my time in the Customer Service department.
  • Launching a new artwork approval system
  • Moving to Dale Farm Ingredients and working on being successful in developing new business and new strategic partners for Dale Farm

Where do you see yourself in your future career?

Throughout the last 4 ½ years, I have seen Dale Farm grow successfully year on year and this is a very exciting time to be working with the Company.  My goal is to continue to develop my skills and gain more experience, and going forward I hope to improve my knowledge of the ingredient market and work towards a more senior management position in the company.