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Tuesday, 16th April 2024
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Finance director leads international team Back  
World cup fever hits Dell as Martin Dobey, finance director of Dell UK and Ireland, home, small and medium business division, and his team discuss Ireland’s chances and work out a themed sales and support incentive around the World Cup.
6.40am: I wake up and tune in to Radio 1. A quick listen to Maxi and Des discussing sport allows me to ease into the day for a few quiet moments. I call the girls to get up for school. It takes a few attempts but eventually I succeed! Lisa is 15 and in transition year while Katy is 14 and in second year.

7.00am: Down in the kitchen, I make their lunch and we all have breakfast bowls of cereal all round. There’s the usual round up of school rucksacks, books and last minute forgotten items.

7.30am: I hunt Lisa and Katy out the door and into the car. We discuss Katy’s upcoming summer exams and Lisa’s transition year project while we travel to St Killians School. I drop them off at 7.40 and carry on to Bray. The traffic is thankfully not too bad this morning and I arrive at Dell’s offices in Boghall road at 8.00. This is Dell’s UK and Ireland sales and support centre for consumer and small to medium sized business customers.

8.05am: I log in, review outlook and print out my calendar for the day. It looks like another meeting rich day. I quickly scan the factory download report - it was a good day in terms of orders yesterday from our UK and Ireland customers. I estimate the revenue number the revenue report will be available at 8.45 but I like to get a feel for it beforehand. I grab the first cup of coffee from the canteen and catch up with mails from yesterday.

8.45am: The revenue report arrives in my inbox - about 5 per cent more than my estimate - great! The European report then follows at 9.00 - I have a quick review to see how our colleagues are doing around the region. The margin report arrives at 9.15 it shows a solid performance in the business quarter to date. This means we have some flexibility at our next pricing meeting.

9.30am: I attend the UK pricing sign-off meeting for our July direct mail piece. The marketing team present a proposal to the senior management team. We have a good, robust discussion on pricing aggression and cost reductions. The pricing is duly approved with the addition of half a point of margin aggression. The meeting finishes on time. I have a quick catch-up on mail before going into the daily pulse meeting, so-called as it really involves us all taking the pulse of the daily business. It is attended by up to forty people from all functions, covering everything from call volume rates, speed of response, product mix, lead conversion, margin analysis right through to the number of units shipped and technical support and quality metrics.

11.00am: After the pulse, I take a quick walk down to the canteen for a second coffee (who is counting, anyway!). On the way back, I stop by the desk of the consumer finance manager. We discuss recent improvements in leasing penetration and share some new ideas to how to drive this even higher. Back at my desk - I call my finance boss based in Bracknell. We discuss the pricing sign-off and the basis of the increased price aggression. I then review the weekly senior management review pack, prepared by the financial planning and analysis team. We make a few last minute changes in the preparation.

12.30am: The senior management team weekly meeting formally starts at 1pm. However the team gather with a sandwich from 12.30 onwards. It gives us a chance to sit down and talk for 20 to 30 minutes - a brief respite in what are otherwise hectic, non-stop schedules. Sometimes it’s business but today it’s about the World Cup. With an American, a Swede and an Englishman on the team, there is an interesting and somewhat spirited discussion on how England will be going home before Ireland we hope!

2.30pm: The meeting starts with a review of last week’s actions. The business review presentation is discussed. We also discuss the arrangements for employees to view games during the World Cup. A proposal for a themed sales and support incentive around the World Cup is agreed. The meeting ends 10 minutes early this makes a change. Another chance to catch up on mail and phone messages. There have been at least 40 new mails into my inbox since the meeting started.

3.30pm: I have a scheduled weekly one to one with the finance manager for our Preferred Accounts business. This business runs jointly out of both our Bracknell offices in the UK and Bray. We discuss the hiring of a Bracknell based financial analyst and agree on an interim solution.

4.15pm: It must be time for another coffee - only three today which is pretty good going. It’s also my chance to stretch my legs. I walk back via the marketing department. I talk with the Marcoms manager about some of the competitor activity in the national press at present he also slags me about Kildare’s chances in the Championship. (I have to say that I agree with him though I don’t admit it as a proud Kildare supporter!)

4.35pm: It’s back to the mail chase. They have been building steadily during a meeting filled day if I don’t stay on top of them, it will be even worse tomorrow. At 5.00 we have our weekly UK and Ireland review with the European team. We report on last week’s performance metrics and revenue, and give our outlooked revenue for the current week. The call finishes at 6.00.

6.00pm: Another 30 minutes handling mail and a quick review of what tomorrow’s calendar looks like. A brief discussion about the Q3 planning calendar with the FP&A manager, (yes it’s nearly planning time again).

6.30pm: At 6.30 I ring my wife Mags and say I’m on my way. By 6.45 I’ve managed to escape and by 7.15 I’m home.

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