My career at Amici - 10 years and counting

Posted by: Fiona - Product Lifecycle Manager at Amici

As long as I can remember, I have dreamed of trail-blazing a career at the cutting edge of scientific procurement.

Fiona Young, Amici

Fiona Young, Amici

OK, let’s face it, that sounds pretty improbable. The truth is that I dreamed of being a scientist – obviously playing a part in finding life-saving cures to diseases, or perhaps playing a heroic role in protecting the environment. I got off to a good start after my PhD, and spent several years researching environmental toxins at the University of Dundee. However, getting increasingly fed up of the constant cycle of grant applications and job instability, I decided to try something completely different. Unsurprisingly, permanent positions in algal toxicology were a tad thin on the ground.

I spotted an ad for a Senior Capital and Services Buyer for Amici Procurement. Having almost zero experience in procurement, I wasn’t sure if this was really a good fit, or whether the role would be one I would be any good at. However, the ad stated that a scientific background was desirable, and with the lure of a permanent contract, I decided to apply.

Ten years later, I am delighted to continue to be part of the Amici family. Nobody does quite what we do which can make it hard to explain.

Imagine you could buy anything you ever needed on one single web platform, and I mean anything – your daily shop, your furniture, your car, even your MOT. Imagine that the platform provider did not accept supplier incentives, and that you had complete freedom of choice to buy what you needed: any product, any supplier, any brand. Imagine that you had a whole team of experts on hand to source and compare options for you if there was something you couldn’t find. Imagine that for every order you placed, someone would check to see when it would be delivered and would chase it up for you if it was late. Imagine how much time you would save. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it. Must be expensive. Well, here’s the clincher. Imagine that this solution SAVES you money over and above any discounts you had already.

Sounds like a great proposition doesn’t it – and it is! We are delighted that our customers stay and grow with us year-on-year. Our platform is called MyAmici and we are the market leader in procurement and software solutions in the Life Science sector.

It wasn’t always the case. We were a tiny team of six people when I started, but small as we were, we were already making a massive impact for our customers. From my very first day I got stuck into negotiating all sorts of equipment, from fridges and freezers to kitting out whole labs. Every week we would save our customers thousands on their equipment. I started to really enjoy the thrill of saving our customers money, and the thought of them paying list price for anything started really to upset me – I once wasted way too much time negotiating down a pencil sharpener!

Since then, we have continued to grow not only the scope of our service, but also the number of our customers and the size of our team.

I’ve been lucky enough over the years to have benefited from lots of training and opportunities. At Amici you are completely empowered and supported to progress in your career and become an expert in your area. After about a year as a Senior Buyer, I was promoted to manage the Sourcing Team and absolutely loved the challenge of a more strategic role. More opportunities followed and I became immersed in lots of different areas over the years: from managing our data team to leading consultative sales of our modules, which I was amazed to find I enjoyed. The thought of sales would normally sound quite excruciating to me, but I found that it was really quite easy when you have a solution that you believe in, and that delivers real tangible value.

I’m now part of the Leadership Team and have a relatively new role as Product Lifecycle Manager. I wouldn’t have had a clue what that was at the start of my career, I’m hoping that I have a bit more of a clue now. Basically, I’m responsible for taking brand new concepts for modules for our platform, and evaluating which ones make most commercial sense to take forward. Modules are an extension of our platform and clients can choose to add the modules they need to support their business and make life easier for them. These solutions range from employee absence management, to asset and inventory management. All modules aim to save our clients time and give them all of the controls they need to ensure that their business runs smoothly. This means that their key scientists and staff can focus on their core objectives. After all, we’d all rather the scientists were helping find the cure to cancer, than running around trying to figure out who nabbed the stock that they need. Developing new solutions for our clients is incredibly rewarding – one of the first customers to try out our inventory solution told us it saved them around 5 hours per week. That’s almost a whole day, I’m sure all of us could do with an extra day per week, I know I could.

To this day, it’s mind blowing to me that purchasing and time-saving solutions can have such a big impact.

Based on the last quarter, we are saving our customers over £15 million a year. That’s over and above any discounts they had before joining us, and the saving includes our fee. From Sourcing to Customer Service, from Development to IT, every single one of our team members contributes.

In simple terms, for every single employee at Amici, we save our customers enough money to pay the average salary of 11 scientists. That’s pretty incredible, and it is easy to see how each and every one of us is playing a part in finding those life-saving cures I had in mind all those years ago. I guess dreaming of a career in scientific procurement isn’t quite so improbable after all.


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