Earlier this month I had the opportunity of catching up with the team at APS. It’s been a while since I had the pleasure of talking with everyone in person. And this time the pleasure was twofold. I also had the chance to speak with two of our new team members: Aaron Iredale and Jennifer Maclean.
It’s been a couple of months that Aaron has been with APS, but in a short time, he’s achieved so much.
I’m sure you’ll join me in welcoming Aaron to the team and enjoy the interview which follows.
Hello Aaron. I believe you’re managing the production of a rather large volume of Petrarch projects at the moment, so I promise not to keep you too long.
Let’s get straight into it. Can you tell me a little about your role?
Yes, that’s true. It is very busy at the moment. Sure, I’m the Production Manager at APS.
And what does that entail, what are you responsible for on a daily basis?
My role as Production Manager is all-encompassing, and essentially I’m responsible for the production of both our Petrarch recon stone panels and Downer framing. Initially I was appointed to bridge the gap between Operations and the shop floor in the factory, yet the role has expanded due to some staff changes. It’s been an extremely sharp learning curve – but to be honest I’m relishing it.
What do you enjoy about the role?
It’s excellent that I’ve been given the flexibility to look at ways to enhance processes and checking methodologies. And so even though it’s been demanding, it’s been equally as rewarding to have such an opportunity.
What kind of enhancements might those be? What do you have planned?
I’ve been focusing on looking at how we can enhance processes whilst ensuring precision, with improved quality checking. Consistency is key. We’ve been working on a quality programme which is starting to pay dividends. By implementing more regular checks we’re ensuring quality consistency in the panels we’re producing.
As time moves on, we’ll be looking to use online and automated checking too and move from paper-based methodology. It’s on my hit list of improvements.
What would you say has been one of your biggest challenges so far?
This is really a double-edged response as my biggest challenge has also been one of my biggest achievements. In the first instance it wasn’t part of my rôle to to manage a large team, and though I have a great deal of experience I’ve worked in smaller teams. I feel I’ve been supported in developing a team that is engaged and motivated.
That’s excellent Aaron and I imagine very rewarding too? You mention your past experience. What is your background, if you don’t mind me asking?
Yes, absolutely, it’s very rewarding.
No not at all. I’m actually from a CNC engineering background, where precision is paramount. This diligence and attention to accuracy translates perfectly to this role too.
So you’ve already mentioned one of the key highlights of your role there, in terms of building and managing your team. Are there any others?
I would say the versatility of the role, no two days are the same and there are always fresh challenges to overcome. I am extremely motivated and eager to progress and I feel the role allows me the opportunity to deliver on that front. Pete has been an enormous support and very hands-on which I’ve really appreciated.
You’ve mentioned a couple of your key strengths there. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I guess adaptability and I also like to think I’m good at motivating people. I genuinely enjoy watching how a team works well when the value of what is trying to be achieved is seen. Does that make sense?
Yes, I think so. Sharing the same goals and objectives helps a team come together and strive to achieve them? That sounds very encouraging.
What about outside of work? What are your interests?
I used to play rugby for my local club Hove Rugby Club, but now I enjoy watching the sport, and also travelling too.
Ah, rugby? Now you’ve got me thinking… Wonder if APS would be up for a ‘gentle’ rugby match? I imagine the factory would win though. I’ve seen your production team! We’d have to mix the groups up!
What’s next on the agenda? What’s the next challenge for you?
I think it’s a case of continuing with more of the same and enhancing and streamlining processes where needed. Working with Graham and Luke we’re looking to drive down our wastage levels. Last month saw one of our lowest rates to date. Additionally, alongside our chemist, Trevor, and our apprentice, Theo, we’re eager to continue to achieve precision with our Petrarch recipes and again look to drive down waste and enhance the Master Production System.
I probably took a little bit too much of your time up there Aaron, sorry. But it is late on a Friday… It’s definitely the moment for some down time. Have a great weekend and good luck with it all!