Me & My Job - Ian Overson, category manager, Bayer Garden UK

Ian Overson, category manager, Bayer Garden UK - photo: Bayer Garden UK
Ian Overson, category manager, Bayer Garden UK - photo: Bayer Garden UK

- How did you get started?

I never considered working in garden care until I met (Bayer Garden UK head) Tommy Gill, who had plans to introduce the concept of category management into this sector. After working in the food industry, it seemed like an opportunity to transfer the skills I'd learned there to a different sector.

- What's a typical day?

Reviewing sales figures from retailers takes up a lot of time. We get EPoS data for all Bayer products from all the major retailers, so I know how much stock they have and also the current rate of sale. I'll also discuss new product developments with the marketing team and study the long- and short-term weather forecasts to anticipate where the demand will be.

- Do you get out of the office much?

Yes, I am constantly in discussion with the major retailers. Also, during pre-season, in September and October, I'm on the road with territory managers, promoting new ranges to centres.

- What's the best part of your job?

The variety and the challenge that it presents.

- And the worst?

The technical restrictions on developing new products are frustrating. It can take 10 years to get a new product on the shelves.

- What bit of kit can't you do without?

Microsoft Excel because most of what I do is data-driven.

- What do you do to wind down?

I play poker and golf. I've always been interested in maths and statistics, and I like working out the probabilities involved in card games. I've played in UK amateur championships and hope to compete against the pros soon.

- What does the future hold?

The opportunity to develop category management in this sector is only in its infancy and I would like to play a part in moving this forward.

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