If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a dozen times, last Tuesday was the best day of my career so far.
Well okay, one of the best days, the day I led my team to victory in our office sports day with an extraordinary and still talked about performance in the sack race is very much still up there!
So what was so good about Tuesday?
As members of Scottish Engineering, my colleagues and I regularly attend their regional meetings and so on Tuesday morning I had an early start and a drive up to Perthshire to hear market updates directly from those organisations working in Scotland’s engineering sectors.
The meetings are a great opportunity for us to hear about what’s impacting the industry, legal updates coming in to affect and of course the ongoing issue of skills shortage. As well as these updates we also get the chance to have a site tour from the host organisation which, this time, was Highland Spring Group.
Now I’ve worked with Highland Spring for a number of years, I’ve been on site multiple times, met many members of staff (and placed a few of course!) and I’ve learnt a lot about their operation and specifically about the site in Blackford so whilst I was happy to have the opportunity to see parts of the site I hadn’t seen before I was not expecting it to impact me quite the way it did.
Our guides for the day were Nicola MacPherson, Head of Manufacturing & Engineering, Jonathan Bell, Group Engineering Manager, Simon Oldham, Chief Commercial Officer and Andrew Davidson, Engineering Improvement Manager. They started with a presentation to our group followed by a walk through their new state-of-the-art factory line, “line 15”. Their enthusiasm, pride and genuine excitement about the organisation, their plans and this latest development shone through and I couldn’t help but be inspired.
It’s one thing to hear facts and figures about a company but it’s quite another when you are face to face with the machinery and team making it happen and see it all in action! Throughout the presentation I frantically scribbled down many, many stats, here are just a few of my favourites:
- Line 15 alone can bottle up to 72,000 bottles per hour, yes per HOUR! – this line runs 24:7
- Highland Spring produces 360 million litres of bottled water every year and they only collect 3-4% of the annual rainfall in the area.
- The rainfall collected on the Ochil Hills is collected and pumped down underground (and under the A9!) and straight into the factory. From sky to site it isn’t touched!
As well as impressive stats I also got to take away a souvenir of the day, shown below. Can you guess what it is? Well it’s actually a Highland Spring bottle before it has gone through the moulding process. I of course quizzed my colleagues on what it could be and think I’ve accidently started a competition of collecting weird and wonderful engineering / manufacturing pieces from our clients so watch this space, this could get interesting!
Highland Spring has always impressed me with their innovation and development, and hearing more about their new products such as the eco-bottle, their plans to build a railway siding to transport goods whilst reducing their road miles and the work they are undertaking with environmental partners to help education around recycling, it’s clear their commitment to operating responsibly and focusing on sustainability forms a key part of their future plans.
Once I got back to the office I was sharing all my new insight and enthusiasm with my colleagues and when one of them asked me if I thought this tour would help me represent Highland Spring better with future potential candidates I simply answered “Hell yeah!”.
It’s easy to forget the difference it makes getting to really see round an organisation’s site and hear about their latest developments, especially when you’ve worked with them for a while and feel you know their business well but this week has definitely reminded me of the difference it makes and how even an hour spent onsite with enthusiastic employees telling you about the latest chapter in their story can really change how you are able to represent them in the market and truly act as a brand ambassador to their candidate talent pool.
So where do I go after this fantastic day? Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about me, next quarter’s Scottish Engineering meeting is at Macintyre Chocolate Systems and I’m fairly confident a tour talking about chocolate making machinery will also be a day to remember!
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