Explore: Manufacturing

Technology Manager
Johnson Matthey

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Howard W

00:00:03 My name’s Howard W. My current role is a dual role. I’m the Technology Manager, which is something that I’ve been involved with throughout really my whole career. But in the last couple of years I’ve actually taken on a site responsibility. So that’s involved getting responsibility for Human Resources, Health and Safety, Finance, Operations, Sales etcetera. So a much broader role now.

00:00:25 The products we’re actually involved with making, are everyday items in many ways. A Wedgewood plate, for example. Wedgewood make the final plates, but they buy the decoration from a company like ourselves. And we solely make the colour. And unlike many other colours that have come before them, these are lead free.

00:00:46 Left University with a PhD in Material Science, having obtained a degree in Geology. I actually had a couple of offers, one from a refracturers company, and one from a decorative chemicals company. And I took the latter, and joined a research laboratory in London.

00:01:06 For me what was quite exciting is that being part of what was, and still is, a fairly large multi-national company, I could easily look to move elsewhere within the organisation. Throughout my period of what is now 20 years in the company, I’ve actually moved around – I can’t remember the – at the last count it’s probably about 12 different sites. Including a three year period in Italy, as Research and Development Manager there.

00:01:31 The Italy job was an interesting experience. The idea of going abroad is very exciting, and of course everyone would jump at the opportunity until – until it’s suddenly on offer. And then all sorts of doubts creep in about – ooh, what about my family? What about my friends? And we went through a lot of heartache, in fact, making the decision. Actually we were going to say no, because we got so many negative thoughts as well as the incredible positive thoughts. And we were coming over Mont Blanc, you know, back from Italy, and my wife turned to me and said – D’you know what, if we don’t say yes, we’ll regret it for the rest of our lives. And we both said – you’re right. Let’s do it, let’s take a chance and give it a go. And the rest as they say is history. We had a wonderful three years there.

00:02:14 In my O levels, as it was called then, there weren’t the options of Geology, but there was an A level subject. And I was fortunate that when I chose to do Geology at A-Level, there was a new teacher, just qualified, and he was incredibly enthusiastic. And it met with my enthusiasm to learn. For the first time in my school life, I have to say, I actually, you know, wanted to do home work, wanted to study and find out about things. Rather than just doing it because, you know, the teacher said can you get this piece of work in by Friday.

00:02:44 In work, one guy in particular, was a Process Engineer, and he just couldn’t do enough for me. He answered all my questions, he just went the extra mile. And I was so taken by that guy, that thereon after for the best part of 17 years until he retired a few years ago, he’s been my unofficial mentor. I didn’t know the term then, but when I look back, he’s been some – somebody who’s helped shaped my thoughts and decisions along the road.

00:03:12 Recently I’ve got more into running, so that takes up my energies at the moment. I joined the local running club in my town, last few years, and a year ago was asked to be chairman, which again is – you could say well is that relaxing then, taking up more responsibility? But the running is the bit that obviously is – is exciting. I think I’m fortunate in living on – although living in the town, on the edge of beautiful countryside in the Peak District. And can run out into the hills within twenty minutes from my door.

00:03:40 I’ve got 20 years of working life to go, and I’m not the sort of person that could envisage doing the same thing for 20 years, so – possibly some kind of teaching role. I’m quite keen on giving something back, especially to younger people. So I maybe could end up something on those lines.

00:04:02 ENDS

Howard W is a Technology and Site Manager in a Johnson Matthey factory. Inspired by a teacher at school, he took up geology and material science up to PhD level. This got him a job with Johnson Matthey in decorative chemicals. “The products we’re actually involved with making, are everyday items in many ways. A Wedgewood plate, for example. Wedgewood make the final plates, but they buy the decoration from a company like ourselves.”

More information about Production managers and directors in manufacturing

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

85%  male 
15%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Production managers and directors in manufacturing plan, organise, direct and co-ordinate the activities and resources necessary for production in manufacturing industries including the maintenance of engineering items, equipment and machinery.
There are no pre-set entry standards. Entry is possible with either a degree or equivalent qualification, and/or relevant experience. On-the-job training is provided and professional qualifications are available, as are S/NVQs in Management at levels 3 to 5.
  • Liaises with other managers to plan overall production activity and daily manufacturing activity, sets quality standards and estimates timescales and costs;
  • Manages production to ensure that orders are completed to an agreed date and conform to customer and other requirements;
  • Monitors production and production costs and undertakes or arranges for the preparation of reports and records;
  • Oversees supervision of the production line and its staff, ensures targets are met.
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Employment status

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