3 minute read
10 Questions With – Stuart Wilson, Operations Manager at ElringKlinger (GB)
1 – How do you think the manufacturing community can collectively continue to engage and interest young people in manufacturing careers?
In my opinion, we need to engage with children at an early age in order to encourage them to enter a career in manufacturing/engineering, by supporting them in showing an interest in what they are doing at school. ElringKlinger (GB) places a strong emphasis on school engagement, and we recently carried out a project with primary schools across Teesside to encourage children to pursue studies in maths and science and highlight the benefits of STEM subjects. In addition, we regularly work with secondary schools and colleges and run work experience and an apprenticeship programme to give young people an insight into a career in manufacturing.
2 – If you were given 1 million pounds – how would you invest that in your business?
I would invest this money into the team itself, expanding facilities such as the canteen and training facilities in order to give back to all staff that have been integral to our success and growth as a business over the last three years.
3 – How do you see smart technology (IoT & Industry 4.0) affecting the long-term growth of UK manufacturing?
Smart technology and Industry 4.0 offer great potential for the UK manufacturing industry. In my opinion, as long as businesses in the industry adapt to these changes and choose to invest in advanced technology, UK manufacturing will continue to grow and will maintain its competitiveness on a global scale.
4 – What’s one thing you have implemented in your business that you would encourage other manufacturers to embrace and implement?
A good communication system – communicate, communicate, communicate. It’s the best way to keep employees engaged.
5 – What one thing would you change to make your business more efficient and productive if money was no object?
I would introduce an automatic inspection system. At present, all of our production goes through 100% inspection which is time consuming and labour-intensive. No one has come up with a viable solution as yet.
6 – What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Find a mentor, either within the business itself or, better still, someone from outside. You always need someone to talk to when things aren’t going to well.
7 – Any wise words, advice or tips for someone looking to pursue a career in manufacturing?
Try to gain some hands-on work experience in a manufacturing environment. At ElringKlinger (GB), we offer work experience placements for secondary school students, a ‘year in industry’ programme for undergraduates and an apprenticeship scheme for school leavers. You could also choose to further your studies at college or university level in a subject like mechanical engineering to gain a better understanding of the knowledge required in a role in the manufacturing industry.
8 – What is your proudest career achievement so far?
Being part of a management team, which has enabled a growth in business from £12m to £30m in less than 10 years.
9 – What drove you to pursue a career in manufacturing and how old were you?
My father is to blame here, but I’ve never looked back! He worked as an operator at a manufacturing firm at a time when it was who you knew, not what you knew, that got you a job. I was fortunate to start as an apprentice toolmaker at the age of 16 and then moved into production management, securing a senior position by the time I was 30.
10 – If you could choose, what would you like your legacy to be once you retire?
To leave a company with a clear strategy for the future to move from supplying components for petrol/diesel engines to those for electrically driven vehicles, which I believe will be here sooner than people think.
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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