The work place can make for a great mentorship opportunity! My experience at Sanergy
This post has been written by Sanergy warehouse assistant Victor Mutisya. Victor is a member of Team Freshi, a group dedicated to sharing stories that highlight the impact of Sanergy and Fresh Life in the communities we serve.
I had just completed my studies in Economics at the University of Nairobi and was in search of a job while awaiting graduation in December 2014. A friend referred me to an internship opportunity at Sanergy where I was recruited as Warehouse Intern. Four months later, I was hired as Warehouse Assistant.
While I have learnt many skills on the job to help me progress my career in the long run, it is the teammates at Sanergy who have been particularly instrumental in helping me accomplish my goals and mentoring me to become a better professional.
Sanergy’s warehouse is where our teammates are issued with tools they need to complete their assigned tasks. As you would imagine, we receive numerous requests; in fact, we respond to about a hundred orders per day!
Until I arrived, Dennis Koome and John Wambua handled all requests from teammates. Currently, Dennis is our Team Lead and my line manager, while Wambua is my partner in most of our assigned projects. Sharing a workspace with Wambua has been extraordinarily beneficial for me. We have built not only a professional bond but also a personal one, and he has taught me important on-the-job skills.
In my first month of work, I could not help but notice Wambua’s diligence and courtesy in serving the large number of teammates. I found his acumen in anticipating requests, his foresight in requisitioning for all items in advance, and his decision-making skills quite exceptional, and I wanted to learn these skills as well.
“Ensure you understand the standard procedures and processes we use at the warehouse for smooth handling of requests,” Wambua would always remind me. I realized that from internalizing these processes that he had developed such strong decision-making abilities. For example, I have learnt to – above all – ensure prior approval has been granted by Team Leads before responding to any requests put forth. Teammates always pressure me to get things done faster, but that does not mean I can break protocol. Knowing what to focus on has aided in building my decision-making skills and has also helped me develop great confidence in the work that I am tasked to do.
Wambua has also taught me that being proactive and well organized is key for productivity. Every evening, Wambua ensures that our warehouse is clean and organized for the next day and that all requests to which he has successfully responded have been closed out. This daily routine allows him to anticipate the need to reorder any items that may be running low at the warehouse and to develop purchase requests as necessary. In addition, closing out on a day’s chores aids him in gauging his day’s productivity in relation to his expected targets to accomplish.
It has not been easy for me to adopt these habits; it is quite challenging due to the numerous requests received on a daily basis and often means putting in extra hours of work. However, since Wambua and I are both passionate about data management, we have remained motivated to keep track of Sanergy’s extensive inventory.
When we are not fulfilling teammates’ equipment requests, we spend time brainstorming ways to improve warehouse processes. Last quarter, Wambua and I challenged ourselves to develop electronic records of all the items in the warehouse for accurate bookkeeping and easy auditing of our department. We spent many days working late to make sure we created an accurate and complete electronic database, and Wambua was pivotal in guiding me through this process. We successfully completed this project in two months, and during a recent warehouse audit exercise, the database came in handy in tracking all warehouse items. This database has also proved a useful tool in planning our purchase requests.
Beyond our work at Sanergy, Wambua and I love ice skating at Panari Hotel on weekends. While skating, we take the chance to unwind and discuss business ideas, possible projects, and football matches. In the short time I have been at Sanergy, Wambua and I have cultivated a friendship I truly value.
Wambua wants me to get better at what I do and teaches me crucial, everyday knowledge I would otherwise not have learnt. I see him as not just a friend but also a mentor.
Often, we look far afield for people who can mentor us into being the best we can be when, in fact, the people we work with every day can help us be just that: great professionals and contributors to our community.
The camaraderie of the Sanergy Warehouse Team – and of Sanergy as a whole – has enabled me to develop professionally and personally in ways I had not expected, and for that I am very glad!