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  • Role: Planning Manager
  • Location: Basingstoke
  • University: Loughborough
  • Degree: BSC Information Management and MSc Marketing & Management

Hannah Macey

On completion of my degree at Loughborough University, I extended my period of study to an MSc in Marketing and Management. An integral part of my Masters was an extensive dissertation on the strategic analysis of a blue-chip company, for which I chose Sainsbury’s.

For several months I found myself probing through a vast amount of material, researching the culture, history, and also their diverse troubles and triumphs. By the end of my studies I had developed both an extensive interest and understanding of the company, so applying for a job seemed logical.

I currently work at Basingstoke Retail Service Centre, one of the oldest depots in the network, which has recently undergone a large change programme. In all honesty the journey through the last year has been immensely challenging, changing the deep rooted culture of the site required meticulous planning over a number of months.

Following my involvement in the project team that implemented that change, I became the Warehouse Planning Manager, responsible for the overall planning of the warehouse, ensuring we have the right people in the right place at the right time to guarantee optimum store service.

After a successful year I was given more responsibility and recently became the Site Planning Manager where I am now responsible for both warehouse and transport planning. My main target for the year ahead is to integrate both the departments and focus on making our transport operation more cost effective through efficient planning.

Hannah’s Diary

I usually arrive around 07.00 when working an early shift or 13.00 when on a late shift. A characteristic of working in supply chain is the diversity of hours. Monday to Friday 09.00 to 17.00 doesn’t exist, as it is a 24-hour operation, weekend working and varying start time is both expected and standard practice.

My priority when I arrive at work is to look at the volume for the next day, trying to understand where we are in terms of volume, absence, holiday and performance for the warehouse and for transport to understand how well we performed yesterday, for example whether vehicles were late etc.

This information provides a picture of the day ahead and an estimated view of the week to follow. During the morning meeting I’ll put forward these details to the senior team on site with the pros and cons of all the varying options.

The first Monday of each month I summarise the performance of the previous month, calculate site accuracy and provide average bonus payments by shift. This involves summarising a huge amount of data of performance related payments and it is crucial that it is completely accurate. Once this data is collated I meet with the general manager to discuss each shift and compare payments. Decisions are then made whether shift allowances need to be made.

The recruitment agency accounts for 25% of the workforce, they therefore have a significant impact on the sites’ operations. To collectively drive performance forward I attend a meeting in the afternoon to discuss ways of increasing performance, decreasing current high levels of agency absence and changes to the performance related pay scheme.

As my responsibility has increased, I now manage ten people. Each morning I have a target setting meeting with my team.

Around lunchtime everyday I have a transport meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to understand the levels of overtime and whether this was the same as the original plan. We then identify any causes for excess overtime and take learning points to improve the plan for next time. In the afternoon I attend the weekly depot review meeting to discuss the costs and KPI’s for the previous week and where we are ‘year-to-date’.

Despite enjoying a day off, I still remain involved with regular progress reports.

Every Thursday at midday the estimates for the next week are sent through. Building the plan for the following week is the main priority. This week’s set of estimates came in especially high with 60,000 cases more than our usual week due to promotions. Once all the hours and operational details are entered the plan then shows that we are now struggling to complete the work in both the warehouse and with drivers.

The rest of the day is spent going through the plan with my team and collating various bits of information for me to present to the operations manager and general manager. I present the varying permutations and based on certain assumptions predict how well the site will function. This takes priority over my workload and although other deadlines have to be met, ensuring store service is the number one priority.

In the afternoon I go on the network conference call to give an update of the weekend ahead and next week.

As part of the aim to achieve 1.6 million cases a week, staffing levels will need to increase, it’s therefore crucial that colleagues are placed on the right shift. As well as new recruits, there are also transfers between departments. I spend the morning with the operations manager considering applications and making decisions.

I provide information on these moves and vacancies, ensuring there are no gaps on other shifts in terms of head count or skill base, so that their operation is not affected.

Once the moves have been agreed and the head count plan is updated, I meet with the training department to organise training requirements and minimise the impact this will have on the rest of the business.


I have only managed to touch on some of the main priorities in a week but hopefully this will give a brief insight into the role. Although I have only been in my current position for a short time, I have already gained valuable experience within operations and especially in management. Working in such a fast-moving environment keeps me interested and motivated.

The diversity and challenges of the job generates a real drive, enthusiasm and a great passion to succeed.

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