Purchasing

We don’t spend our days just buying nuts and bolts. Being a Bentley buyer means understanding the whole project, interacting with Logistics, Quality, Manufacturing, thinking about sustainability. This is the fabric of our business

There has never been a more interesting time to enter the world of purchasing. New materials, new technologies and innovative products combine with new imperatives, such as end-to-end sustainability, environmental logistics and carbon neutrality. Purchasing is the key to embracing all of this, the gateway to Bentley’s future-facing vision. We have six purchasing teams – Electrical, Interior, Exterior, Metals, Powertrain and General Purchase – each responsible for different elements of the car, projects and the Bentley site. 

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  • ‘The biggest thing for me is the supportive, welcoming and nurturing culture instilled in everything we do’

    Thomas Donachie, Purchasing Manager, Exterior

    ‘When I joined Bentley back in 2008, I was completely new to the automotive industry, and have worked my way up through the ranks in Purchasing over the past 12 years or so. I started out as a buyer in the electrical team, then became a co-ordinator, before stepping up to be Purchasing Manager for exterior. In my current role, I head the team responsible for sourcing all parts for the outside of the car that aren’t metal – everything from glass to bumpers, door handles to spoilers.

  • ‘I’m now also involved in the recruitment process for new Colleagues, and I often ask the question: “Why are you looking for a move?” The response is usually that the person is frustrated in their job because there isn’t any room for progression. At Bentley, there is that opportunity – you need to work hard, challenge yourself and take responsibility for your own development, but if you’re willing to do that and listen to feedback, there’s always a chance to grow. I’m probably a pretty good example of the progression that can be achieved here.

    ‘Part of the reason why I think a lot of people stay at Bentley for as long as they do is the continual loop of challenge and excitement. You might spend up to three years working on a project, so you’re completely invested in it – you’ve done a fairly intense piece of work to get a part on a car, so you absolutely want to hang around and see it being launched. Then you want to understand how it’s selling and understand the customer feedback, by which point you’re already working hard on its replacement! Bentley never stands still, and you’re constantly asking yourself: “What else can we do and how can we improve to make sure that the next car is even better?”

  • ‘From a personal perspective, my favourite part of the job is the buzz I get from negotiating a great deal and saving Bentley money. Some of the negotiations can drag on for up to 18 months. You have to do your research, identify a supplier – and they might say “no” 20 times before you get the result, so you really have to be patient and resilient if you want to bring money back into the business. 

    ‘Without question, one of the great things about working at Bentley is the people. We’re very lucky that the cars we produce are amazing, but the biggest thing for me is the supportive, welcoming and nurturing culture that’s instilled in everything we do here. Coming into the company with no previous experience in the automotive industry, it can be a struggle to understand some of the technical terms that are thrown around, but I quickly learnt that people are happy to explain things or help out. After about six months, I was speaking the language myself!’

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