Having worked at the recently PPG-acquired Whitford for 33 years, Terry Anderson has witnessed the company grow from a handful of people to a whopping 115 colleagues. As a purchasing manager, he has seen the team expand and roles evolve. You might think that someone who has worked in the same field for so long might get bored, but not Terry. As the company grew, so did Terry’s role.
We didn’t have the same products and market diversity back then – our product range and customer base were much smaller in the earlier years.
Terry joined Whitford back in 1986 as a stock controller/buyer. Since its acquisition, he has become the purchasing manager at the Runcorn site (United Kingdom) for PPG. He is responsible for directing and coordinating the activities of the Purchasing team and maintaining good relationships with suppliers.
It's been an ongoing learning curve. My role is forever changing, and every day is different.
He believes in staying positive, self-motivation, never standing still and setting a good example.
I believe you should use change and advice positively as there is often more to it than meets the eye.
Becoming Part of the PPG Family
When PPG acquired Whitford in 2019, the company became part of ‘One PPG’. Suddenly, the Whitford team was exposed to a much bigger cake with many opportunities that came from working within a larger team.
Procurement was the first department to feel the changes. Although this meant a new approach to many things, Terry embraced these changes with mixed feelings of trepidation and excitement.
The PPG Way was totally different. We’d moved up into a higher league. It meant a lot of change – a whole new world of challenges and opportunities. Areas of the job were split into many parts and assigned to specialists around the world. I was suddenly working with so many people. A lot of new information… and new compliance!
Compared to the Whitford way, Terry notices that we place more importance on detail and specialist knowledge. He sees PPG like an onion, with lots of layers. One of the biggest changes came with the move into the automotive industry, with all the associated procedures and compliance. Terry was suddenly entering what he calls “the big league” when he and his colleagues found themselves going global.
Caring for the Customers Is in Our DNA
An acquisition is never easy for the company being acquired. It can often feel like a hostile takeover where the brand they’ve spent years building is lost and all that work forgotten. But, though Terry suffered some of this at the start, he feels that both companies have a lot in common.
On one hand, for him, the market reach, buying power, and sheer size of the company were impressive for him. But on the other, he was worried that the personal touch that Whitford prided itself on with both customers and suppliers would be lost inside a big company like PPG.
It had always been part of the Whitford DNA to look after customers from beginning to end. Helping to solve their problems either by helping them find the right product or teaching them how to use it.
We’d sell them the service, not the product. They needed our knowledge and knowhow, because it’s hardly ever the product that’s the issue, but how they’re using it.
This kind of customer-first focus is one of the pillars of ‘The PPG Way’. The other values Terry feels are aligned with ours are: inclusivity, people diversity and professional development opportunities.
“Push Yourself More Than Is Comfortable”
Terry now finds it funny that he thought he might take things a little easier now that he’s 58. “Not a chance!” he says.
As he looks back at his career and personal development, there isn’t too much he would do differently.
Take the opportunities that arise. Believe in yourself. Push yourself more than is comfortable and see how much further you can go.
He knows the young Terry working in the Royal Navy back in 1977 would never have thought he could do all he does now.
Listen, learn, and adapt. Develop people skills – these are very important for building up professional supplier relationships.
“Change Is Not Quite as Good as a Rest”
As a lifelong Evertonian (supporter of the Everton Football Club in Liverpool), Terry considers the work-life balance an important one. He also donates to The British Heart Foundation, plays indoor football a couple of times a week to keep fit, and recently bought a new mountain bike with the cycle to work scheme.
His passion is taking holidays and he enjoys traveling with his family and friends. He likes to go somewhere new each year, but Florida and Cuba are clear favorites thanks to the sun and beautiful beaches.
What with Terry having seen his fair share of change during his career, when it comes to enjoying rest over change, he probably knows what he’s talking about!