Explore: Engineering

Manufacturing Manager
Johnson Matthey

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Owen H

00:00:03 My name is Owen H, my job title is Manufacturing Manager here at Johnson Matthey, and my role is really to supervise a management team which is responsible for around 300 people that are engaged in producing catalysts and filters that go onto cars, and eliminate the pollution that comes out of cars.

00:00:26 I joined the company directly from University. I did a degree in Chemistry at Bristol University, and then I followed that up with a PhD at Bristol University in Organic Chemistry. There’s not a lot of places these days where – in industry – where you can directly use that discipline, so – Johnson Matthey’s one of the companies that do. So I applied here, got a job, and started off as a Research Scientist.

00:00:54 After about a year with the company, I moved to Brussels where I spent, as it turned out, five years, working in the plant there. I was initially sent for two weeks, and that turned into three months, and then that turned into five years, because a job became available out there to run the Technical Support Team.

00:01:16 I loved working overseas. It was – it was a challenge, but it was a great time to do it because I was quite young, I was only 25, I think, when I went. I was fortunate that my girlfriend at the time, who’s now my wife, was able to come directly from University as well, and we both went into it quite naïve. The first six months – nine months really – was very difficult. Like all these things, once you make one or two friends, they become two and four, and then they would snowball very quickly, so after a year we had a nice network of friends, and felt like it was home.

00:01:48 At school I enjoyed work – I enjoyed schoolwork – and I was quite good at it. But my memories of school are basically just playing football, constantly. That’s really all I was interested in. All through my life really I’ve played football, much to my wife’s frustration.

00:02:08 When I was 6 or 7 I didn’t spend a lot of time dreaming about what I wanted to be, I don’t think. I was – I was pretty happy just being a kid. I did want to be a rock star as well, I guess, probably when I was a little bit older.

00:02:24 This nappy represents what is important in my life for the moment really, and what is dominating my life. I’ve – my second son was born eleven weeks ago, and that definitely gives you a proper perspective in life about what’s important. One of the reasons I do my job is to be able to provide for my family. But at the same time I need to provide for them by actually being there at home as well, and try and be a good Dad.

00:02:52 My Granddad – who actually passed away at the age of a hundred, so he had a very good innings – but I remember he was – he was from Wales, and he was almost a legend in his – in his community, and unbelievably well-respected. And I never really saw that until I was a bit older, and realised it. And looking back at it now, I can just see the respect that he had from his community was – was incredible, so that to me is quite an inspirational thing really.

00:03:24 If I could do more of something that I’ve done in the past, it would definitely be travelling, and I hope to do some more when the boys are a little older. When it was just my wife and myself, we spent quite a lot of time seeing quite a lot of the world. Definitely it’s something that, if I could, when the boys are a bit older, then I’d love to see a lot of the rest of the world that I haven’t seen yet, because that is something that I really enjoy doing. And it’s something that, having a job like this – it enables you to do that kind of thing every now and again.

00:03:57 ENDS


Owen H is Manufacturing Manager at Johnson Matthey, where they produce catalysts and filters for cars. He is a scientist who has spent his career in research and manufacturing at Johnson Matthey. This has included a spell of five years working in their plant in Brussels. “I loved working overseas. It was a challenge, but it was a great time to do it because I was quite young… I was fortunate that my girlfriend at the time, who’s now my wife, was able to come directly from University as well, and we both went into it quite naive.” Now they have a young family and being able to provide for them is very important to him.

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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