The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.
Front and Center: Meghan Efland, Purchasing Manager at PRS Guitars
PRS Guitars’ Meghan Efland is in the business of shopping, negotiating and relationship building. While it may sound glamorous, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into her day-to-day responsibilities.
After studying anthropology in college and working for a museum as an archaeologist, she joined PRS Guitars to manage a team that purchases everything for the business, except for wood. Efland and her group manage the business’ inventory control program and negotiate transportation contracts, select suppliers for tooling and components, schedule orders to meet production schedules, and the list goes on and on.
Being a purchasing manager is a position that requires a lot of skill, and Efland has mastered that skill quite gracefully. It is an honor to showcase her below.
Learn more about PRS at PRSguitars.com.
WiMN: What got you started in the music industry?
ME: I studied anthropology in school and worked for a state museum as an archaeologist. There was a budget freeze, so there was no chance of me getting benefits anytime in the near future. I set out to find a “real job.”
My dad works at PRS and he mentioned that there was an opening, so I applied and got my first position in the business in HR and Safety. I wanted to be more involved in operations, so when an opening came up as a MRO Buyer, I jumped on it and joined the purchasing team. It was a great learning experience because I got to work closely with the project manager on our 84,000-square-foot building expansion.
Before PRS, my dad had a business making custom furniture, so I grew up in a woodshop burning myself on hot glue. I’m a hands-on person and I like the challenge of figuring things out.
WiMN: Are you a musician? If so, what do you play?
ME: I played saxophone when I was younger. I have tried to learn guitar, but it just hasn’t clicked for me. Right now, I’m just a scream-singer on my morning commute.
WiMN: You are the purchasing manager at PRS Guitars. Can you break it down for us?
ME: Shopping is my job! My team purchases everything for the business except for wood, we manage the business’ inventory control program and negotiate transportation contracts. We select suppliers for tooling and components, schedule orders to meet our production schedule, work on product cost downs and the development of new products.
WiMN: What is the best part about working at PRS?
ME: Working in purchasing, I’m in all kinds of factories – injection molders, metal shops, etc. – and for the most part as I’m walking through, I think to myself, “I could never work here.” The PRS factory is a special place and very different than so many of the factories that I’m in. We’re like a big family and there is so much pride in the products we make. When I walk through the shop, there is always a guitar that stands out and a person who puts a big smile on my face. I love that all of our work goes into making something that someone will find great joy in for years to come.
WiMN: Describe your coolest day on the job.
ME: A day where the word paisley is not mentioned.
Cool days at work are when a product all of us worked together on launches and everybody wants it.
I also really love meeting with suppliers face to face. I email and talk on the phone regularly with so many of them, but I only get to see them in person every so often. This job is all about building relationships and I enjoy that immensely.
WiMN: Is there anything you wish you knew when you first started your career in the music industry?
ME: I wish I had continued either playing the saxophone or had taken music lessons when I was younger for guitar or piano. I just need to make time now and do it – no excuses.
WiMN: Can you share a moment where you had to stand up for yourself as a woman in a competitive and male-dominate field?
ME: For the most part, even though the music industry is a very male-dominated field, everyone that I work with has been great to me. I have a great group of co-workers, suppliers and peers in the industry. In our business there are more and more female managers, but I still find myself being the only woman in the room in many of our meetings. I’ve had to prove myself, but I think that’s all part of the job whether you are a guy or gal.
WiMN: If you could give one piece of advice to a young woman entering this career, what would it be?
ME: Don’t let yourself be intimidated but also don’t be arrogant. It’s that balance of confidence that will get you where you want to go.
WiMN: Describe the music industry in five words or less.
ME: Ever-changing, Inventive, Inspiring
WiMN: Let’s wrap up with one of your favorite quotes.
ME: I know I should probably quote a woman, but I was listening to the Beastie Boys recently and have had the lyrics, “Life ain’t nothing but a good groove, a good mixtape to put you in the right mood” stuck in my head, so I’ll go with that.