In the next of our Meet the Expert Series, we met up with Peter Brown, James Heal’s Quality Manager, to find out more about his role within the business and how his work ensures James Heal stay as the industry leader when it comes to Textile Testing.
How did you first get involved in Quality Management?
I am actually an engineer by trade and I always remember being a young child fascinated by Lego. My parents always encouraged me to take things apart and put them back together again and as I got older, I started to do that more and more. A great example is when I was 18, I bought a 1976 Triumph Spitfire and re-built it before I went to University. So, to sum it up I am interested in repairing things and making things better – which fits in with quality, because quality is all about analysing a problem and eliminating or significantly reducing the risk.
Can you explain more about what being the Quality Manager involves?
I have lived in Yorkshire for 26 years and have always worked in manufacturing, I started working for James Heal in December 2018, so I am coming up to my one-year anniversary.
My role at James Heal is very varied and being a Quality Manager includes so many things, but in a nutshell, it is promoting quality throughout the whole business – not just manufacturing. We do this by looking at consistency and using systems. These two things are very related and help to ensure you get the same result every time.
For me, the important thing to remember is the definition of quality, which is “adhering to a specification”.
What attracted you to James Heal?
I have worked in a large variety of companies in my career, but the fact that James Heal is a smaller business really appealed to me. I feel that working in a smaller company gives you variety and I really enjoy that every day is different. One day I could be presenting to the board of directors and the next day I could be building a machine on the fitting floor.
I knew a little bit about the company as my previous place of work, where I also worked as the Quality Manager, used some old James Heal products.
Is there one project you are particularly proud of in your time at James Heal?
There is one ongoing project that I am working on with various people from around the business and once complete it will definitely be something to be proud of. The project is the transition of the ISO 17025 to the new UKAS standard. It is hard work and the new standard is more stringent, but it will be worth it in the end and there will be a real sense of achievement once it is all complete in the next couple of months.
Promoting quality throughout the whole business is extremely important. James Heal are a high quality brand so the work we do every day should also be done to the highest quality.Peter Brown - Quality Manager
Are there any projects that you are particularly proud of in your career?
I have worked on many different projects over the space of my career, but something that I am really proud of is a project I worked on when I worked for a supplier on creating the interior for the BMW Mini. The project was making no money and when I finished working on it, it was breaking even, which was a massive achievement.
When it started, we were only able to make one part every four minutes and by the time we finished, we were making one part every one minute. The teamwork was brilliant and we had people from all over the world working on it, which made it a very enjoyable and rewarding project to work on.
Are there any trends you anticipate in the world of engineering, manufacturing and textiles?
I think the inter-connectivity of everything is becoming a big thing and everything is becoming connected. Connecting the machines to allow them to send us signals should something go wrong with will allow us to do a better diagnosis. This would promote efficiency as it will save both time and money.
Do you have any interests outside of work?
As you probably guessed from earlier on, I love classic cars and I am currently re-building the same car that I built when I was 18. It is taking me longer than it did back then because of family commitments but I try and get a few hours in when my wife is working on the weekend.
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