Ben Lau

Procurement Associate

"Understanding what your work means and the impact it has gives you enthusiasm for what you do. You know that what you're contributing really does add value."

How the graduate got the job and why they chose your company:

I was attracted to GSK because it’s a healthcare company. The purpose of a company and who the customers are (or the patients in this case) really matters to me. If I can’t be a doctor and work in the medical field, I can still play a part in helping patients by working for a pharma company and producing medicines.

What the graduate’s role involves - typical activities and key responsibilities:

As part of the procurement function I look after pharmaceutical flavours. Certain medicines we make have a bitter taste, so we use flavours to mask it. The flavour doesn’t make the medicine taste nice as such, but it does make it a more pleasant experience for children and elderly patients.

We buy hundreds of flavours including, orange and vanilla. An average day for me involves interacting with the different sites across the GSK origination who use pharmaceutical flavours. They're our most important stakeholders and we need to understand what they're producing and look out for opportunities to consolidate what they're ordering. It can be a mixture of talking to the manufacturing sites and also talking with our suppliers as well.

Highlights of the work the graduate has done:

The most exciting thing I’ve done so far was an E-auction. We asked different suppliers to bid against each other for the most competitive price. We then chose the top one or two to take forward and sign a contract. It's all in real time, like a reverse auction, so the price gets lower and lower.

The E-auction required a lot of trust from the stakeholders, in other words, the people who use these services in GSK. We needed to prove to them that we were trying to consolidate the supply base, cut costs and make sure that we got the best supplier and the best quality service. When service users see Procurement really working hand-in-hand with them, it creates a real sense of trust.

What the graduate enjoys about their job:

Understanding what your work means and the impact it has gives you enthusiasm for what you do. You know that what you're contributing really does add value.

Why they like working for you and anything that is particularly perky!

I would say that GSK provides a really good environment in which to start your career. It's a massive name but at the same time it's an extremely friendly place that allows you to ask the questions that you might be afraid to ask elsewhere.

I've been here long enough to be able to see what the values of GSK are and whether people live by them on a day-to-day basis. Here, they really do resonate.

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