Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Craig. Can you tell us a bit about your work history and how you found your way to Datapath?
My main career path was taken with Pirelli Tyres in Burton-on-Trent. I started there in 1990 and remained for almost 28 years. During that time I spent 2 to 3 years in virtually every department from logistics, testing & R&D to manufacturing, planning & management. I moved to their sister plant in Carlisle in 1995 in the test area & soon after enrolled in their Kaizen Engineering training platform. After successful completion of this I moved back to Burton to head up the Quality department in the compound & components area. I then moved into a state-of-the-art robotic tyre production facility within the Burton site as Head of Quality & Technology followed by Manufacturing Manager. My last role was Operations Manager of the whole Burton site.
I left Pirelli in 2018 to find a new challenge and in the 4 years before Datapath held senior positions at a well-known gardening equipment manufacturer & an electronics company supplying the railway industry.
At the start of 2022 it was time to move on and I decided to step a little further out of my comfort zone and look at different industries. Datapath was one of those companies. I’ve always had an interest in technology, graphics (gaming) and even built a few PCs when I was younger, so felt that I had the right base knowledge to build on. As a company, Datapath are a forward-thinking company with a great ethic in terms of work / life balance, excellent benefits and a workforce that, in the main, are long serving. So, I applied for the position and here I am!
With this being your first role at an AV company, what are your impressions of the industry so far?
Although initially a little daunting coming into a new industry with very little knowledge of the products, I was eager to learn and found the support of all the teams second to none. I find the technology and what Datapath have achieved with that technology fascinating – it’s come a long way since the ZX81 & my favourite the 48k Spectrum, for those who can remember them! I am really excited to grow with the company and look forward to what comes next after Aetria.
What does a typical day for an Operations Manager look like?
First and foremost to ensure that the Operations Team (including the US) have everything they need to perform their roles effectively and above all else, safely. We have recently commenced a program of online training to support this.
Then, the day can really throw anything at me from analysing sales, creating requirement plans and liaising with suppliers, dealing with customer orders, monitoring stock levels in the UK & US to dealing with any issues in testing, system build, warehouse, any other needs of the team & organising team building events. I am also responsible for the buildings facilities, along with maintenance and safety, so I action all reports of problems or requests for improvements.
What are the most rewarding and most challenging elements of your job?
I think these two go hand-in-hand. The higher the challenge is, the more rewarding it is once you have succeeded. For me, the challenges are to effectively plan with our suppliers to enable Operations to test, build and fulfil customer orders on time and in full. The rewards come from knowing everyone goes home safely and for me to be able to congratulate the team every month for a quality job well done.
How do you spend your time outside of Datapath HQ?
I enjoy spending quality time with my two (not so small) children and my grandson – I know I don’t look old enough! I have a Miniature Pinscher who, although small, is quite demanding in terms of exercise and he’s known to be a bit of an escape artist! I am an avid gym goer and whilst there I spend most of my time weight training or in CrossFit.
Tell us something people may not know about you…
I volunteer with the Homeless when I can and although challenging to experience, it’s very rewarding and I have met people from all walks of life – it’s certainly an eye opener.
The only ‘famous’ person I have ever met is Christopher Biggins – at Windsor Safari Park when I was around 10 years old!