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A 30-year journey with BSS: Julie Wright’s story

02 Jul

When Julie Wright left school and joined BSS as a YTS Administration Clerk, she had no idea she’d one day become Regional Director of BSS’s East Region. As part of the Contract Merchanting Division of Travis Perkins Plc, BSS Industrial has a network of more than 60 branches nationwide – yet has maintained its close-knit, family feel. It’s that friendly environment coupled with the ability to progress and develop that has seen Julie stick with the company for all these years. Here’s her story:

“I joined BSS straight from school and haven’t looked back”

After leaving school with nine GCSEs, Julie decided to enter the working world as soon as possible. Applying for a variety of jobs in her then-home of Stoke, she took up the position of YTS Administration Clerk at her local BSS branch, which was rife with training and development opportunities. With a close-knit long-standing group of team members and clear pathways to progress, BSS was the perfect fit for then-16-year-old Julie.

“I moved from Admin Clerk to internal sales – and that was just the beginning”

Ten years after Julie joined the business, BSS underwent structural change that opened up new career opportunities, and Julie took the chance to move up to Operations Manager. Soon after, another change to the business meant sales and operations were brought back together under one umbrella, which presented challenges for Operations Managers who hadn’t had sales experience previously. Describing it as a ‘sink or swim’ moment, Julie seized the opportunity to sink her teeth into sales and grow this side of the business in harmony with operations, thriving in this role for 12 years. More business developments saw her running a branch then moving into a Regional Projects role to look after what was BSS’ biggest account in the country. Before long, Julie was managing both the Manchester and Birmingham Projects Offices, as well as the Industrial Sales Team. After four years of juggling different responsibilities, she returned to Stoke as Branch Manager in order to spend more time at home as her daughter undertook her GCSEs.

“I was approached to help introduce new efficiencies to the business”

In 2016, BSS’ then-Managing Director approached Julie about a business improvement role to help introduce efficiencies to the business. As Business Improvement Manager, she created the Evolved Change programme, which is still running today. Julie is immensely proud of this project and the work she completed as Business Improvement Manager, saying she was immersed in high-level decision-making during a period of strategic planning for the business. One of her key responsibilities was centralising administration across branches, creating more efficient and productive admin processes that have led to a better-run business.

“My current role is something I couldn’t have imagined when I joined the business”

In October 2017, Julie was appointed Regional Director for BSS’ East Region, which spans 10 branches. Her role includes leading and supporting branch managers, strategic decision making and training and developing people across the region. This ‘people’ side of the role is one Julie particularly enjoys, though she is still ultimately responsible for driving sales and hitting business targets in addition to developing her staff. She’s proud to see people flourish in their roles, saying BSS and Travis Perkins Plc empower their team members to do more within the business.

“There have been so many highlights in my 30 years at BSS”

Some of Julie’s most memorable moments with the company include Stoke winning Branch of the Year, as well as winning a supplier award in her Regional Projects role. However, the biggest achievement for Julie has been progressing from Accounts Clerk to where she is now – and she says there’s still more to come.

“People at BSS feel valued and that their efforts are recognised”

When Travis Perkins Plc acquired BSS, Julie says there was some initial apprehension as the business was so proud of its family feel. Over time, she’s realised this hasn’t been impacted, noting that Travis Perkins sees BSS as a successful business in its own right. Individual and team efforts are recognised, and the company is eager to nurture its people and see them grow.

With apprenticeships rolling out this year and an increased focus on training and development, it’s an ideal time to join BSS. For more roles at Travis Perkins, take a look at our latest vacancies.

“In this business, it’s all about applying yourself and having a go. If you’d have told me 30 years ago where I’d be now, I wouldn’t have believed you. But I am proof that if you’re a hard worker, keen to learn and eager to embrace opportunities, you can progress within Travis Perkins Plc.”

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