Meet Jim, our Operations Director. When it comes to whipping our factory into shape, he’s the man with the plans…
Hi Jim, can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I came to Route 1 Print four months ago to look at strengthening the operational performance in order to further improve the development and growth of the business. My job typically involves making sure that orders go through the process as fast and smoothly as possible, with minimal disruption and delay. A huge part of that is managing handling, work effort and the amount of time that goes into delivering a job, as well as understanding the difference between what’s adding value to the process and what’s not, before looking at how we eliminate what’s not.
In the last few months, we did a significant shop floor reorganisation. We did this because we wanted to clean up how we handle products through the process, with the goal being to help us manage that workflow so that there’s a stronger level of ammunition for the flow as a whole. Previously what was happening is that we’d have somebody focusing on stronger print efficiency, so they would organise the jobs to run very efficiently through print. But then the finishing department would get stuck in a sequence that wasn’t right for them because it had been optimised for print, so then we’d have a whole load of inefficiency going though. Part of what we’re trying to do with the new floor design is getting better visibility and better judgements on where we’ve got to compromise – whether that be efficiency in one place or efficiency somewhere else. It’s my job to make sure that a sensible judgement is being made.
What does your typical day look like?
My typical day is actually in transition at the moment. When I came into the business there was a lot I needed to learn about Route 1 Print, but because of the strategy to make a lot of changes before September – our busy period, I’ve put a lot of time and effort into that change and making sure that it ran smoothly. Now September is over, I’m going back to managing everything and getting a few things in place. I want to change some of the meeting structures and get some of those reorganised. I’m also trying to recruit for a number of positions, such as a new Product Stream Manager. So in regards to my typical day, there are points where I’m having to support and understand what’s working and what’s not working in the flow, and there are points where I’m focusing on recruitment and trying to understand what we need and where. It’s also important that I explain every change we make to the team so that they have context on why we’re trying to do some things differently.
What did you do prior to working at Route 1 Print?
For 15 years before this, I manufactured smart cards such as bank cards, sim cards for mobile phones and ID badges. That involved using litho printing, screen printing and some digital printing. During my time there, I focused on various parts of the business. There were times when I was more focused on the back end, where the print focus wasn’t as direct, and there were times when I was focused on the manufacturing side of the business, which did include print.
Prior to that, I worked for a start-up company making a new type of energy storage device. There, we effectively developed a process that was similar to Gravure printing, but we couldn’t buy what we needed straight off the market so we had to build a machine. So again with that job, I had involvement in print; not always in the deep end, nitty gritty of the technical elements, but certainly understanding enough to have a huge appreciation of the challenges and issues faced in print.
What, in your opinion, makes Route 1 Print stand out from its competitors?
We have a great team here at Route 1. We know our processes well enough to know that if a job comes on the radar that’s more bespoke or more challenging than others, we’re prepared. We’re very cautious and very aware of what we can and can’t do. We’re also very good at monitoring and developing best practices so that we can operate to the best of our ability for our customers.