Gaya Ilangairatnam is currently Product Rollout Lead at Ocado Engineering. She graduated from Imperial in 2005.
Who did you find most inspiring at Imperial and why?
Retrospectively I would have to say fellow students. It is a unique environment where you are surrounded by highly intelligent and capable people and as a result you come to expect a certain level of rigor in people’s thought process and arguments which also inspires you to be better.
"It is a unique environment where you are surrounded by highly intelligent and capable people and as a result you come to expect a certain level of rigor in people’s thought process and arguments which also inspires you to be better."
What is your fondest memory of your time in the Department of Mechanical Engineering?
Mech Eng library at exam time- people start going a little crazy during exam time and it turns into a very interesting place. I remember having a lovely picnic there.
What did you learn during your time at Imperial, in class or out?
A good solid understanding of the fundamentals and discovering a passion for ambiguous problem solving.
Please tell us a bit about the work you’re doing now.
Ocado Engineering’s Product Development department where I work develops smart (including robotics) Manual Handling products for our highly automated warehouses. The products we develop are fundamental to the Ocado Smart Platform and Ocado’s growth strategy.
I work on business transformation projects where I look to transform Ocado Engineering’s operation model to meet business strategies and future commitments. Product rollout (knowledge and product transfer) is a function I defined and set up. I now manage this function.
As a Product Rollout Manager, I play a vital role in supporting and enabling this function and ensuring the right level of knowledge is transferred at the right time to ensure the product is successful at launch.
How has what you learnt at Imperial helped you in your career so far?
My degree helped me be successful in my role as an engineer developing products. This then gave me a solid understanding of product development methodologies and principals. I now use this knowledge to help businesses operate more efficiently.
What would be your advice for current students?
Don’t neglect your interpersonal and networking skills- use this time to develop them too.