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Interview with Charlie Toll
When did you join the G Schneider team?
James and I both joined the Schneider team at the same time in around May 2017.
What interested you in the job description?
Growing up on a farm, I’ve always had a pretty keen interest in Agriculture, this job meant that I was able to be working in the agriculture industry whilst still studying and being around a lot of my schoolmates down here in Sydney. At the time I didn’t really know what part of the industry I wanted to go into. A lot of country kids like me are not aware of what happens when the wool leaves the farm on a truck. Realising the job would offer me an opportunity to learn about what happens to the wool along the rest of the supply chain, was what interested me very much in the job offer. I also really enjoy the fact that we spend a lot of our week out there physically valuing the wool instead of just being stuck behind a computer most of the day, something that happens in a lot of large city-based jobs.
What aspect of the company was important to you when you decided to join the GSchneider team?
On the day that I was offered the job here at GSchneider, I also found out that James had been offered the job as well. Both of us were part way through our respective degrees and had a little knowledge of the industry but still, there was a large part that neither of us had any idea about. A lot of the other buyers both here and in Melbourne are quite a few years older than us and are still using the same programs and technology they had been using for a lot of years (which is quite similar to the agriculture industry as a whole here in Australia). I think I was really impressed how Tim was willing to give up a lot of his time in teaching two new blokes in order to get some youth in the industry as well as hopefully inject a few new ideas into the company.
What was your impression of the job and the company on your first day?
I guess the first day, as it is anywhere, was a little daunting meeting so many new people out here at the wool stores and hearing so many new things. Learning how to value the wool and keeping up in the saleroom was hard enough in the first couple of weeks and we were given more and more tasks as we got comfortable with each of them. Being surrounded by a pretty supportive team not only within Schneider but also a lot of the other wool buyers here who are always willing to lend a hand when we needed it, made the first day and couple of weeks a lot easier.
What is your impression of the job and the company today?
Something that I didn’t really realise at the time but am really grateful for now is how the Schneider Group still keeps the values of a small family business, although the company is based in a lot of countries right around the world. Although James and I have only been here just over a year and a half we are talking to people around the world keeping them up to date on the available wool amongst other things. As well as learning from them through the processing results of wool that we have purchased. Doing something like this is something, not a lot of people our age have the opportunity to do and I’m really enjoying the job and the responsibilities that I have at the moment.
What was the biggest learning you had so far?
I’d say probably the valuing of the wool. All of the wool on offer in a sale has a place that it can go to. Learning where it should go and what we can buy to deliver the best value for everyone involved is something that I’m slowly picking up but still learning every week. With the types of wool on offer changing so frequently with the season, the wool with the best value is always changing so we are always having to adapt and change what we buy. This would probably be one of the more important parts of the job that will all come slowly with more experience.
Which aspect or activity of your job do you enjoy most?
I do really enjoy the salesroom. Although it was a bit daunting at first buying wool in there and trying to average it out to get to our targets is something that I am really enjoying. As we are gradually learning I’m getting more of an idea of how I can buy different wools putting them together to get to our desired order. Again this is another thing that both James and I have found that we are slowly picking up but will keep improving with more experience.
How does your experience of growing up on a (sheep) farm help you today?
I think that probably the biggest thing would be simply understanding why the different seasons are affecting the wools on offer in different ways. As well the difference between different types of sheep and what the different types of wool are. I think with a lot of the growers and brokers knowing our background it makes it a little easier to communicate with them also knowing we grew up around the same sort of people in the same sort of environment.
Were you able to bring some change or pose some suggestions for improvement to the team? If yes, what were these?
I don’t think that I have bought a significant idea of change to the group yet, but more so in little ways in which we do things. With Tim giving us tasks and pointing us in a direction but letting us figure it out for ourselves we have done the task differently to the way he would of ordinarily which may challenge the way that he thinks about doing these things. We are also currently trialling a handheld valuing device (tablet) instead of the old-fashioned way of valuing on paper which could hopefully speed up and make the whole process a little easier and cheaper, too.