CASE�STUDIES

NEIL GREGORY

Neil Gregory

>>1999 - 2003

LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY � MATERIALS ENGINEERING (BENG)

>>2003 - 2006

PAYNE - MATERIALS & PROCESS ENGINEER

>>2006 - 2007

PAYNE - CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT MANAGER

>>2007 TO DATE

PAYNE - CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT & QUALITY MANAGER

After graduating I was more concerned with applying the structure and logic learned from my engineering degree than I was with working in a specific discipline. My role at Payne of Materials & Process Engineer allowed for this through improving the working practices and methods employed in the production environment. I was also looking for a career with good prospects and a chance to grow within the company and the group. It was obvious from the outset this was possible by judging from the graduate scheme alone, which was far more varied and involved than any other I'd found. It covered more subjects and even had overseas travel!

In my current role of Continuous Improvement & Quality Manager, I have to balance the here and now with focusing on future improvements. One aspect of the role is focused on ensuring that current processes are robust and adhered to, to ensure quality products leave the plant. Another aspect of the role requires me to look at ways of improving those processes and developing best practice to ensure we remain the leader in our field.

My exposure to the commercial side of the business has expanded greatly since taking on the additional quality function and I now have a more customer facing role to play. This has already involved me making trips to Switzerland and Japan to see customers, something .

The continuous improvement element of the role encompasses the activities required to drive the Operations of the business forward. This is accomplished through using of a mixture of tried and tested techniques such as Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing. My role is to decide and co-ordinate these activities in terms of project selection, areas of focus and training needs where additional improvement techniques are required.

The best thing about my role is being given the freedom and supporting environment to decide and plan activities required for Continuous Improvement. This is of particular importance since both the role and concept are largely new to the business. Another aspect is that because of the size of the company, I'm able to play a much larger part and have more input into the direction the company takes than compared to graduates in much larger organisations.

My immediate objective is to develop and establish the notion of continuous improvement within the organisation. I am fortunate in that I can measure my performance directly through how much money we save and knowing that I am contributing to improved profitability is very rewarding. Ultimately I want to embed this culture within the organisation so it becomes second nature to people.

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