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A day in the life of…
Key Account Manager, Aviation at Viva Energy
Karina Skourletos graduated with a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws from Monash University in 2015, and is now Key Account Manager, Aviation at Viva Energy Australia
Wake up and quickly put on my gym clothes before I have a chance to talk myself out of my 7am Pilates class. Grab a cup of tea and briefly read through the CAPA Aviation business insights that have come through overnight with the News on the TV in the background.
Pilates with colleagues across the road from work. It’s a great way to start the day, and Viva Energy receives a corporate discount for pilates and a number of other sporting activities – keeping fit and healthy is a very important part of what Viva Energy does! While I use this time to start the morning with a clear head, I do mentally add a few things to my to-do list for today.
Get into the office and start going through some emails which have come through overnight over some breakfast before my 8:30AM meeting. The morning’s internal meetings are all face-to-face, with a customer meeting on site in the afternoon and another phone meeting. Given the customer I’ll be visiting is based very close to our Melbourne Airport Into-Plane Operations (ITP) base, I will work from our ITP office for the afternoon. It means I won’t have to travel back into the city after the meeting, and will give me an opportunity to catch up with our awesome operations team.
Meeting with our AeroShell product life cycle manager and demand analyst for our monthly product transition and forecasting meetings. During this meeting, we discuss what customer sales for products has been, and whether we need to forecast more or less product for certain customers. Customers’ demand for product can vary greatly due to a number of factors, including scheduled or unscheduled maintenance, weather and agricultural cycles. As a result, we need to ensure that we know as much about our customers’ businesses as possible, and have a good understanding of their buying patterns and cycles to ensure that product in our warehouse is ready for when they require it, and that there is no contribution to Aircraft on Ground situations. The second part of the call is dedicated to new skus (products) being introduced. These product introductions ensure our portfolio is up to date with any technological advances being made in aviation, and respond to our customer’s portfolio requirements for oils, fluids and greases.
Every year our businesses review its 5 years strategy in light of market dynamics and other factors, such as new runways being built on airports and new airlines entering the market. This year, however, we have developed a 5 year strategy across all facets of the Aviation business. This meeting is one of the final ones before our first challenge session with senior management, in sales, supply and operations. A few additional pieces of information need to be included for clarity from operations and supply. This meeting finishes 10 minutes early, so I have time to grab a coffee before my next meeting and start going over my preparation notes for this afternoon’s face-to-face meeting.
Meeting with Commercial Infrastructure Manager. Our Commercial Infrastructure team is at the forefront of our Aviation project pipeline. In developing the business strategy, we need to ensure we have accounted for all current and future projects. Our Sales and Supply teams work very closely to ensure that as demand for product increases, our infrastructure supports our customers’ growth. During this meeting, I discuss the exciting new projects in the pipeline, and am waiting on some final profitability figures to insert into the strategy document.
Community Ambassador call. Viva Energy’s corporate social responsibility program is run by community ambassadors, who are staff in each of our sites, working together to promote programs which give back the local communities we work in. The purpose of this call is for the community ambassadors to share what each site has organised to celebrate ‘Mental Health Week’. headspace is one of our key partners, and we work with them across a number of their sites and programs, such as running webinars on the energy industry, and undertaking mock interviews with young people who use the work and study service. Some of the community ambassadors will be holding morning teas at their sites, discussing what they do when they are in a bad headspace. In Melbourne, we have created a green Headspace corner in our open break out area, have a speaker from headspace at a Morning Tea to learn more about mental health in young people, and are attending the headspace event at the State Library.
Finish reviewing meeting preparation, and grab my steel cap boots and hi vis vest; these are imperative for working from ITP and visiting the maintenance hangar of our customer site. I print out meeting preparation to review once I get to ITP, as well as information to provide to our customer on a new product bring introduced, embracing new technology and providing the customer with greater long term value.
Set-up at the ITP office in the open plan area, and quickly eat my sandwich I brought up for lunch, while I do a last minute check of the customer meeting preparation and ensure I have everything I need.
Visit one of our key Aviation lubricants customers. Discuss sales for the quarter, and seek an indication of product offtake for the next quarter. Heading into the Christmas and New Year period, we need to ensure that they have adequate product to support their fleet. We also discuss a next-generation product of a grease they are currently using. An action for me is to schedule a meeting between the customer, Viva Energy and our Shell product application specialist (PAS) who will be visiting Australia the next month. This meeting will be for our PAS to meet the customer and provide them with additional information on the new product, and outline any local and global technical support for their fleet they would be offered with a shift to a new product. Our technical relationship with Shell means that we are able to work closely with them to provide technical support and training to customers, and offer them opportunities to use new products that may not yet be in the local market. After the meeting, I am taken on a tour of their maintenance hangar, and get to see our product being applied up close to the aircraft parts! Very cool!
I return to the ITP office from our customer via one of our Shell Coles Express sites. Viva Energy is the exclusive Shell Licensee in Australia, partnering with Coles to operate our Shell Coles Express sites. There are so many facets to Viva Energy, from the Geelong Refinery through to our Aviation, Transport, Bitumen, Lubricants, Marine and Resources businesses. It’s always great to be able to see where the product we sell ends up, be it in cars through people filling up at Shell Coles Express, or even planes! I grab a pack of lollies to share with the ITP team and to combat the inevitable 3:30-itis that has hit me!
Back at ITP, I grab a few snakes and jump onto my final meeting for the day – a phone meeting for the Social Club. The Social Club is run by a committee, and we run events such as drinks, trivia night, Christmas Party and Corporate Games for our members. This call was confirming whether we are ready for upcoming Corporate Games.
Coffee and chat with the ITP Ops Manager. Each time I visit our ITP office, I am always struck by the complexity of the work undertaken by our on-the-ground team who refuel our customers at the airport. Heading to the airport always fills me with a sense of excitement – just on the other side of our office is the Melbourne Airport tarmac, and we can see passenger and cargo jets alike landing and taking off. Working in a team where I am able to be so close to the action is amazing, and simply highlights the importance of the connection of the work we do in the office, with the work on the ground. Finish up by updating the final figures for the strategy document which have come through from Commercial Infrastructure, and have sent to my manager for his final review while the info from today’s meeting is still fresh. The challenge session is only a few days away, and it’s important that we have as much information as possible to present to senior leaders. Once we’ve gone through our challenge session and have updated with any additional information, it will be submitted to the Board for approval as our business’ 5 years strategy – ready for roll-out! Log off and head home.
Once home, I unwind by taking my dog for a walk before dinner, multitasking by calling my friend living in London as she is on her way to work.
Make dinner with old episodes Arrested Development on in the background – I am very late to the party so am trying to catch up! I spend the rest of the night looking up potential honeymoon destinations that will satisfy my fiance’s sports obsession and my love of shopping!
Scroll through social media before going to bed.