Cut from the same cloth – finding the right fit for Sudbury Silk Mills' supply chain position


Sudbury Silk Mills is a family-owned company that has been at the heart of weaving for over three centuries and ten generations. They combine artisan skills with the latest technology, specialising in Jacquard weaving – a textile manufacturing process that creates intricate and complex patterns – to create innovative fabrics for apparel, neckwear and furnishings. There are three companies weaving at Sudbury Silk Mills - Stephen Walters, David Walters and Humphries Weaving - each with its unique offering. All aspects of the manufacturing process are managed at Sudbury Silk Mills, employing around 100 staff.   

The challenge

Sudbury Silk Mills needed a new Supply Chain Manager to join their leadership team after an internal restructure. But the post had historically been difficult to fill due to its broad remit and complexity – the successful candidate would need to head up the supply chain function and change established ways of working and manage an employee who’d been with the company for many years. They also needed someone with a strong background in environmental sustainability. 

‘The complexities of our business and the industry we operate in meant we needed a specialist recruiter to find the right person,’ says Tracey Goldsmith, Finance Director. ‘It also had to be someone who could assess and filter applicants and find people ready to live our business’s values.’

There wasn’t a lack of candidates for the position. In fact, Tracey reviewed 57 CVs and interviewed around 30 people over nine months. But none of them fitted the bill. ‘Understanding the culture of the business – who we are and what we’re about, our values and how we work – is vitally important to us,’ Tracey tells us. ‘We can teach people about the industry and our processes, but the attitude and approach they bring to the role is key.’

Tracey was already familiar with Pure, as it was us who’d found her own position with the Company. So, she knew we’d be able to help her with the search.

The solution

Gerry Adams, one of our recruitment consultants specialising in supply chain and engineering, knew he had to really get under the skin of the business to find the right person. He started by visiting the mill, then used what he learned to understand the culture, and how the role fitted into the existing team.

It was this knowledge that meant, when Adam Proops’ CV landed on his desk, Gerry knew he could potentially be the right person. After speaking to him to find out more about his experience, he realised Adam ticked all the boxes.

‘He had the right personality – friendly and personable, but also corporate,’ Gerry tells us. ‘He had experience of working in textiles and managerial roles in supply chain, as well as knowledge and experience of environmental sustainability.’ Geographically he was in the right place too, and when Gerry spoke to him about the type of company and challenge he was looking for, it matched Sudbury Silk Mills perfectly.

Adam was looking at lots of other opportunities though, and had several interviews with other companies lined up. So, Gerry had to make sure Sudbury Silk Mills went to the top of his list. ‘I went all out to sell the company, culture, future opportunities and benefits to him. I also worked hard to earn his trust and build a rapport to make sure he chose us.’ To do that he made sure he was on hand whenever Adam had a question, and regularly checked in with him throughout the interview process.

Because Adam was a popular candidate, Gerry also realised that they would have to move quickly if they wanted to add him to their team: ‘I encouraged the company to speed up their recruitment process to make sure they didn’t miss out on such a strong candidate.’

Tracey agrees. ‘Gerry suggested we reduce the time we were taking between interviews. Without that advice, we could have missed out on the perfect person to join our team.’

Gerry’s hard work meant that Adam was already very enthusiastic about the role when it was offered to him, and didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes’. He’s now doing very well at Sudbury Silk Mills and is already improving and adding value to their supply chain function.

How Pure made a difference

By visiting the mill and taking the time to get to know the company, Gerry really went the extra mile.  And his advice about changing their recruitment processes proved invaluable. His expertise in supply chain as a whole, as well as his friendly manner, patience and professionalism didn’t go unnoticed either.

‘The service we got from Gerry was exceptional,’ says Tracey. ‘I did work with other recruitment agencies to try to fill this position – but they didn’t visit the mill, and simply weren’t as dedicated to finding us the right person. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Pure.’

Find out more

If you need some help with a recruitment challenge in supply chain – or another area – please get in touch. We’ll be happy to help.

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