A day in the life of Barbara Guignard, Principal at Efficio

11 May 2018 Consultancy.uk 5 min. read
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Barbara Guignard joined Efficio in 2008. Ten years down the line, the French-born Guignard is now a Principal at the international procurement and supply chain consultancy. She reflects on her time working at Efficio and provides insight into a typical day in the UK office.

After 18 months in an e-auction company in London, I decided to join Efficio in the UK as an analyst [Guignard moved to the UK from France in July 2006]. The international feel, the promise of extensive travels, and the welcoming atmosphere really got me excited to work with Efficio. I am now Principal and my role is very different from what it was 10 years ago! At the time my primary objective was completing Excel analysis, however managing client relations and teams now takes up the majority of my time. Speaking five languages fluently means I am able to manage projects all over Europe, which is a lot of fun. 

In terms of client assignments I work across a diverse range of industries. For example, one of my clients is a diving equipment company, so we have spent the past few months helping them to design their procurement function and implement strategic sourcing initiatives. My other client is a high growth sushi company who asked us to look into helping them review their sushi making processes as well as their purchases of salmon, logistics and packaging. 

Aside from client project work, I am very involved in helping Efficio recruit new consultants, as well as training and coaching junior colleagues. I also manage the Women’s Network at Efficio, which I set up last year with a colleague. We created this network as a safe place for women within the company to speak of any concerns they may have, and it continues to become an ever-more important society at Efficio. 

Barbara Guignard, Principal - efficio

I find it very rewarding to contribute to the professional development of people and feel privileged to be able to pursue these interests. The diversity of client industries, the travel locations and the variety of people I work with are definitely the elements I love most about my job. In management consulting, and at Efficio, one day is never the same as the next! An example of a typical Thursday in our London office:

5.00am: Wake up!
I travel a lot in order to be in various places during the week, meaning that Thursday morning I could be flying from Paris or another city in order to be in the London office by around 9am.

7:00 am: Board the plane
Flying in Europe is quite easy and in less than an hour and a half it is possible to be in another city. For me, flying is now as easy as taking a bus! I have become very efficient with my timing (and packing!). I usually use various airport 'waiting' times to check and respond to my first emails whilst also reviewing the meetings scheduled for the day. If I have time, I tend to read or to study. 

9:30 am: Arrive in the office in Piccadilly Circus
I usually ask my team to reserve a seat for me in the office, as we operate a hot-desking policy. We consultants are used to being able to work from anywhere in the world! When I arrive at the office I take the time to say hello and have a coffee with some of my colleagues. I really do look forward to coming to the London office to see them, whether they are from my current or past projects.

10:00 am: Candidate interview
Quite often I am asked to interview candidates, mostly for the role of Analyst or Consultant. Aside from the analytical and logical competencies it's key for us to ensure the candidates fit in well with the company culture. I have interviewed over 100 candidates since I first started with Efficio! 

11:00 am: Gate 1 review with the team
"Gate 1" are meetings where we review the strategy of the sourcing work streams we are launching with clients. It’s the time when we review the work done by the consultants and get the confirmation from the client team that we can go ahead and implement the proposed strategy. This is one of my favourite parts of a project!

1:30 pm: Quick lunch
I have lived in the UK for many years, but I refuse to eat at my desk like many of my colleagues! We have a mezzanine on the top floor of the building, which we use as a canteen, so I tend to grab sushi or a salad and eat with colleagues I meet there. It's a good time to catch up and hear stories from other projects and travels. 

2:00pm: One-to-one catch ups with the team
When I am in London, I try to organise an informal one-to-one catch up with each of the members of my team (we are a group of five at the moment) to ensure they are on track with their work, and that they are ok with everything. Client satisfaction is important but I also want to make sure that the consultants get both the personal and professional development that they expect from the project. 

3:00 pm: Catch up with emails/prepare presentation
I finally have time to sit down and catch up with emails. I am usually quite organised with my work and may spend this quieter time reviewing and completing recommendations for client procurement organisation designs. When I’m in the office, it’s good to brainstorm with my colleagues, however I do often work from home if I need to really concentrate. 

6:00 pm: Client calls me/catch up
The end of the day is usually the time my client calls me to catch up with the day’s progress. We tend to discuss savings numbers or the activities occurring in each work stream. I usually adapt to the style of communication my clients prefer; for some, this is writing emails, whilst others like to speak on the phone. 

7:00 pm: head home or have dinner with a friend
I take advantage of my time in London by having dinner with friends. But if it's been a long day I may simply grab a salad and have a quiet evening in. London is an amazing city and I feel privileged to be here!