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3 minute read

10 Questions With – Simon Holloway, Director of Manufacturing & Distribution at Specsavers

1. What drove you to pursue a career in manufacturing and how old were you?

I was 25 when I went into manufacturing and there are many aspects to this career that I enjoy. I would say the ability to see an end product being produced together with the development of people across the entire structure was the most significant.

2. What’s one thing you have implemented in your business that you would encourage other manufacturers to embrace and implement?

Lean methodology has proved valuable in our business and I would encourage all businesses to consider all aspects of lean which are fit for purpose and implement in a pragmatic approach.

3. If you were prime minister, what would be the first thing you would change or improve for manufacturers?

Manufacturing has lost some of its attraction to people entering employment, so there needs to be a push to promote the industry in education. I would also offer further incentives to companies manufacturing locally.

4. What is your proudest career achievement so far?

Developing the global teams to be more efficient and therefore adding value to the customers.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Don’t be afraid to try and learn from your mistakes.

6. What one thing would you change to make your business more efficient and productive if money was no object?

As manufacturing develops and progresses, we are constantly implementing changes to our business. But the management of change itself is always a challenge and if money were no object I would use invest it in better communication, training and project implementation to ease the change processes in our teams to help them be more efficient and productive.

7. How do you think the manufacturing community can collectively continue to engage and interest young people in manufacturing careers?

The advancement in technology is providing more interest for tech-savvy young people and this needs to be encouraged. We also need to provide hands-on apprenticeship programmes where they can learn and develop their skills on the job as they progress and identify their own strengths in different aspects of manufacturing.

8. Any wise words, advice or tips for someone looking to pursue a career in manufacturing?

It is a demanding career but the rewards are endless. I’ve always enjoyed the variety of the career and the ability to see sites grow into world class operations. I would advise always keeping an open mind whether it’s ideas and suggestions from colleagues or emerging new technology, and always stay updated with industry trends and developments for better career longevity.

9. How do you see smart technology (IoT & Industry 4.0) affecting the long-term growth of UK manufacturing?

Industry 4.0 brings a new dimension to manufacturing through various technologies and this is positive as it allows greater visibility and control of both process and cost for better profitability.

10. What is your view on post-Brexit Britain – positive, negative or indifferent and why?

I don’t have strong views on Brexit I think there are positives in both arguments. I just hope that Brexit will not affect our continuing efforts in furthering our global relationships with our partners.

Simon Holloway, Director of Group Manufacturing & Distribution at Specsavers / Picture: Specsavers


10 Questions With… is a regular feature where we put a variety of quick fire questions to manufacturing leaders and role models to get to know the people behind manufacturing success in the UK.

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