Stacey Gray

"Be open minded. I had never thought about a career in buying before coming to Story Homes, but now that I’m here I love it!"

Job Title: Graduate Buyer

Employer: Story Homes Limited

Job: Buyer

About my job

What does your department do?

The Buying team looks at acquiring the best quality materials for the most competitive prices.

We are the ones who source everything from the bricks and mortar which make the houses to the waste management services which are used on site. We have a lot of responsibility with the budget and making sure costs are controlled. We liaise with pretty much every department including planning, sales and customer services to ensure we are meeting expectations and helping to produce the aspiration homes which Story Homes customers look for.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

First thing in the morning I will check my emails to see if any actions have been assigned to me. These can include things such as pricing updates or site requests for one off/replacement orders. When commodities are needed, I will contact a few suppliers and do my best to source the items at a competitive price. However, quality is always top of my agenda, so it is about striking a balance between getting a good price whilst not compromising that quality.

Waste Management is an area which I have been highly involved in. Once a week I bring together the waste information from each of our sites and gauge how much of this is being recycled and where this can be improved.

As the company is expanding rapidly and regionalising, continuity is important to Story Homes. For this reason, I am often involved in compiling templates for use across the regions. These include requisition templates for various suppliers.

Eventually, once I am more experienced in my role, I will be responsible for my own sites and the tendering/acquisition of all of the materials for them. However, at the moment, I shadow my fellow buyers and assist in the upkeep of purchase orders and the budget.

What do you like about what you do?

The thing I love most about buying is the knowledge that I am playing such an integral part in creating someone’s dream home. A house is the biggest purchase most people make in their lives, so it is important that every Story Home is to the high quality which people expect.

This role allows me to ensure the materials which are going into Story Homes meet these high quality standards. I am able to put myself in the customer’s shoes and think “if this was my house, would I like this feature?” and use feedback from the customers and the Sales team to make improvements for the future. Buying allows me to combine the knowledge of business which I acquired from my degree with my people and negotiation skills. I get to build relationships with suppliers and colleagues in order to achieve the best outcomes for both Story Homes customers and Story Homes themselves.

Why did you choose this career?

To be honest I had never really considered a career in buying until I heard about the role. I had heard great things about Story Homes and what a great company they were to work for, so when the graduate scheme was launched I was keen to get involved. The buying role surprised me. I suppose when I thought of the house building industry, the first things that came to my head was physically building a house and then going on to sell it. I never really considered all of the processes before, after and in between which open up so many more roles and responsibilities. It was certainly eye opening for me to find that the house building industry has so many more parts to it.

When I looked into the buying side of things in more detail, I found that I possessed a lot of the skills and traits Story Homes were looking for. I decided to apply for the job and now I’m a few months into the role and have found it to be the perfect fit for me.

What qualifications did you need to get this job?

My degree was in Business with Marketing, so I had no specialism in buying. However Story Homes were happy to accept any degree discipline. To them, it is far more about the type of person you are and that you share the values of the company. Story Homes has a very strong culture and so fitting into that culture was critical. For this role, there were certain skills which Story Homes looked for, however I found that they did not expect anyone to be an expert or extremely knowledgeable on day one. It was clear from the start that they were looking to offer training and guidance to the right kind of person and help them gain that expertise over time.

Is there any particular advice you would give to someone looking for a career in your area of work?

I would say be open minded. I had never thought about a career in buying before coming to Story Homes, but now that I’m here I love it! Experience has told me that sometimes industries and roles you have never even considered can actually be the ones you are best suited for. Look into different departments and different jobs and find out more about them. Consider what you’re good at and what skills you possess and you may find that you are the perfect match for a role you had never even considered. There are so many great opportunities out there; you just need to be willing to go outside your comfort zone a bit.

Questions & Answers

What hobbies or interests do you have?

I really enjoy city breaks; I was in Dublin last year and hope to get to Paris with my partner next year. I also have a love for dogs. When I move into my new house at the end of this year I’m hoping to get my own little puppy! I’m quite active, I like running and am looking to join a netball team now that I have moved to Carlisle.

What’s your favourite type of music?

Pop & chart music...I have a not so secret love for Britney Spears.

What’s your favourite film / film genre?

I am very soppy, so nothing beats a good romantic comedy.

Where’s your favourite place to go on holiday?

New York was one of the best places I have ever been. I would really like to go back, and I would love to see it at Christmas!