Inside Windows Active Technical Field Service
24 July 2007
What does your role involve?
My title is Field Service Manager and my job involves working with the four Technical Engineers to help fabricators grow their businesses. We also respond to product issues where our fabricators require our back-up on site. We feel that we are providing an essential service and our fabricators really appreciate that they always have someone to call on to help with any technical issues.
How do you help fabricators grow their business?
Many of our fabricators are actively looking at ways to expand their business and a lot of what we do is advising them on the purchase of new or upgrading of existing machinery, improving factory layouts and increasing efficiency.
What are the strengths of your team?
The experience within our team of the windows industry is vast, so we can offer genuine help and support as we understand the market pressures and demands. Whether it is identifying a problem with a window or advising on a new machine speed, we can provide practical information to help fabricators to resolve an issue and get back to running their businesses.
Do you have a lot of experience in this area?
I’ve been in the window industry for nearly 25 years so I suppose you could say I know a thing or two! This means I can usually get a grasp of what a fabricator is looking to achieve really quickly and then offer them advice on what the best options are. Our ultimate aim is to help fabricators save money and grow their businesses.
So who is in your team?
The four Technical Engineers in my team are based around the country, which means that wherever a fabricator is located, there is always technical support not far away. Being regionally based also means that they can be at a customer’s premises very quickly. This is an important factor for fabricators especially if they have an issue which is holding up production.
Within the field technical team, we also have two Technical Support guys based at Fairbrook (our head office in Derbyshire); Jim Hughes and Ray Jackson. They are a really strong backup team for the Technical Engineers and make sure everything runs smoothly
Could you describe a typical day?
I am normally out on the road at 7.00am to get to my first appointment. Yesterday, for example, I received a call from a fabricator who was so busy with sales they needed some help to improve the capacity of their factory. It’s a great problem to have in some ways but when it could result in letting customers down it does need addressing. I spent the morning talking to his production staff to get a better understanding of his business. In the end, we recommended that he re-designed the factory layout, which also allowed us to fit in a new welding machine, which was where the bottle neck was occurring.
Around lunchtime I normally call my Technical Engineers to see if they have any problems. This also gives us a chance to catch up and share ideas. Later in the afternoon I usually make a couple of site visits. Yesterday I also visited an installer on site who had just bought their first IQ750 modular roofing system - just to check the fitting was going OK. I needn’t have worried they were getting along fine – I should have known!
Later in the afternoon I called into our factory at Fairbrook to go through a couple of technical issues that we had found on a couple of site visits. We see ourselves as the eyes and ears in terms of production issues and if we can see where a product or process can be improved, we feed it back to the factory. It’s a really good way to make sure we continue to offer the best products in the market.
Do you get involved with site visits?
Part of my role is to look after key accounts, which includes our larger fabricators who often sell into national housebuilders such as Ben Bailey, Taylor Woodrow and Wimpey. If there are any issues on site, I normally visit and try to sort out the problem so that they can concentrate on running their business.
What does your team of Technical Engineers do?
A lot of their time is spent visiting fabricators and helping them with their expansion plans. They also help our fabricators to commission new machinery and make sure everything is set up to run efficiently in their factory. If a fabricator is growing their business they can also suggest how they can quickly and easily change around their fabricating unit to maximize efficiency or save cost.
Do you cover any other areas?
I also look after fabricators in Northern Ireland, in fact I have just come back from there and things a booming right now.
Do you help all fabricators?
Yes, part of what my team does is also help smaller fabricators and start-ups too. Over the years we have seen many fledgling businesses grow up to be very large companies. It is really satisfying to watch them develop and there have been some great success stories over the years.
How long have you been at Eurocell?
I worked at Eurocell from 2004 to 2006, although I left briefly to join Premier as Technical Manager towards the end of 2006. However, it wasn’t what I expected and as soon as I saw an opportunity to rejoin Eurocell, I came back.
So why did you come back?
Well that’s easy really. There is a great team spirit at Eurocell that is difficult to match elsewhere. When I joined Premier, it just didn’t feel right for me. I missed the way that things run so smoothly here and knew that I wanted to be back at a company that was leading the market. At the first opportunity I took my chance to return and have not looked back since!