Meet the latest expert to join our staff at Bilston: It’s Ian Simkins, who becomes our Logistics Manager.
Ian Simkins knows a thing or two about both keeping things under control and making things happen, as we’ll see…
He joins N&W from Tyrrell’s Crisps, where he was based at the company’s Vegetable Crisps Division in Uttoxeter, in his home county of Staffordshire. ‘I started as Materials Controller’ he said, ‘then worked my way through to Warehouse Manager, where I was looking after procurement as well as the warehouse side. Eventually, I ended up looking after the company’s three sites, with a team of 16 forklift drivers working for me, so it was a very varied role.’
Variety is the spice of life here at N&W, so that augurs well for the future. Now based at Bilston, Ian has taken charge of a larger team, with a much more diverse remit than the one he’s left behind him.
‘My previous job was in food production, so this is a complete change of industry for me’, he said. ‘It’s a different pace: yes, it’s slower, but it has its own complexities. You still face the same kinds of issues, such as forecasting, productivity and managing the turnaround of equipment within the required timescale.
‘Logistics, in my new job at N&W, revolves around getting the machines customised and ready in time for despatch; making sure we have the spares available when orders come through and of course looking after the team. Previously, I had only order pickers and fork-lift drivers to worry abut but my new team is larger and it covers the whole spectrum from goods in to goods out.’
Asked to define the role of Logistics Manager, Ian came up with a belter: ‘It’s all about doing the magic behind the scenes’, he said, just like that.
‘I really was ready for a new challenge’, he said. ‘I’m busy here, fully occupied and I need to call upon a much wider range of skills.’
As for his spare time? ‘I’ve taken up golf’, he said, ‘but I play badly! I need a lot of practice.’
(We’ll need to keep an eye on his progress, what with numerous industry golf days in the offing… )
‘I also keep marine fish’, he said, and he responds to our puzzled expressions. ‘That’s salt water fish. It’s much the same as keeping tropical fish, except there’s more to it. It requires more equipment and more work. At the moment, I’ve got Clownfish, (remember Nemo? That’s the fella). I’ve also got Peacock Fish – they’re beautiful – and a variety of corals.’
‘Breeding?’, we enquired, (knowing nothing at all about this rather unusual hobby, but impressed just the same).
‘No, that’s difficult to do in captivity’, Ian said. ‘With some species, you could have a go, but it would require a bigger set-up, with more tanks. I wouldn’t get Planning Permission from my other half for that! One tank in the living room is about as far as I’m going to go.’
A bit of research later and we learn that numerous plates have to be spun to keep marine fish successfully. For instance, water parameters have to be exactly maintained or they die… You don’t get a second chance.
In fact, when you think about it, the similarities between marine fish keeping and Logistics Management are many; so much so that you begin to worry if Ian will ever really get a day off…
Note to management: we need to encourage him to get out on the golf course more!