We often take pride in the quality of products made in this country. There is a long held belief that things made in the UK are made to a better quality than other areas of the world. And to an extent that is true. However it is also true that some of our closer European neighbours made windows and doors better than ours. And why? I believe it is their general attitude to manufacturing that is one of the reasons. Workers in factories that actually want to be there, and have pride and loyalty to the product and the company. It’s a trait that I noticed when watching videos from a company called Sage Glass.
Pride, goals and quality
Just take a look at this video and spot some of the things our factories probably don’t have:
Impressive operation isn’t it. Hospitals aren’t that clean. But it’s not just the cleanliness or quality of the manufacturing that’s impressive, but the people in the video appear to be genuinely enthusiastic about working there, about the product, and all have a real drive to make it better as soon as possible.
I was shown this video by Alan McLeneghan. He is the CEO of the company and I was lucky enough to have a chat with him for an hour or two last Thursday. When he showed me this video, I asked if this sort of attitude towards manufacturing was generally like that across American manufacturing. He said yes.
Lets all be brutally honest. How many factory tours have we gone on in our time in this industry and walked through and seen workers like the ones in the video? I think we all know the answer. These people, or at least the people at this company, are so positive, driven and have total belief in what they do.
Coming back to the British way for a second, I believe the problem is for a lot of workers, jobs in factories, be it window and door factories or any other industry, it is just a job. It’s something to pay the bills, provide for the kids, and maybe a bit of beer money at the end of the week. There isn’t the high level of pride, loyalty and drive to the product or the company.
The attitudes shown in the video show the complete opposite. And that is why they make something as advanced as Sage Glass. If you pack that factory full of miserable clock watchers, that product would fail.
Now I’m not saying that every factory in Britain is populated full of uninspired workers. There will be some very motivated and proud shop floors out there. But I don’t think I’d be far wrong to say that this would be an exception rather than a rule.
If our companies invested in staff, invested in advanced machinery and technologies, then I think things could change. People make products at the end of the day. The happier, the more loyal, the more motivated, the more proud, the more they feel like part of something bigger, then the sooner our own manufacturing would improve. And that’s how British window and door manufacturing should be. Every factory should be striving to make the very best, no matter what end of the market they’re sat at.
As a parting thought, the general negativity of the British attitude is bugging me at the minute. We’re so damn negative about everything. As a country we find problems, rather than grab a pair and go at it in a positive manner. Take restaurants for example. When I’ve been to places like America and eaten there, their service is fantastic. Come back home, and it’s as if you’re a pain to your waiter or waitress. I think this is the reason why I like America so much when we go. It’s so much more positive. It’s refreshing and it’s nice to be around.
Lets get some of that in our industry’s factories and things like quality and service might get a boost!